Liverpool and its fans had a great night against Exeter at Anfield as a young second string side that fought hard to get the tie to Anfield finished off a clinical performance at home to qualify for the next round where West Ham await. From Joao Carlos to Sheyi Ojo, there were plenty of players who took the spotlight on the night.
Here are 5 things we learnt from the 3-0 victory at Anfield against Exeter:
1. Christian Benteke is good, deserves some support:
The Big Belgian once again failed to find the back of the net even as he got up to 3 clear chances to score and this has seen him take a lot of stick on social media for his performance on the night. But it looked like a matter of trying too hard for the striker who just could not finish off moves that were sparkling. His assist for Teixeira showed what he is capable off but the one on one miss right before the final whistle showed why the 32 million price tag is creating doubts. There is no doubting the quality and potential of the striker but he has to start performing quickly and will need some help from his supporters who have been harsh right from the start.
2. Kop all smiles with the return of Jon Flanagan:
Arguably the biggest news of this game for the Kop is the return of Jon Flanagan in the right back position. Flanagan is local Liverpool boy who was brought up at the Merseyside and went on to represent the club 2 years ago. A very bad injury saw Flanagan sit out of the game for as many as 20 months but with proper training under Klopp, the wing back has finally made his first appearance in over 20 months under Klopp on Wednesday. He showed no sign of nerves and will be a very important part of Klopp’s plans in the near future.
3. Joao Carlos Teixeira deserves a senior call:
The Portuguese has been one of the brightest youngsters for the club for some time now. Teixeira, at 24 has just 4 appearances this season but deserves a lot more than that. He is a technically gifted player who is now growing into the Premier League style of play. He has a great attitude towards the game and is relentless in his energy on the field. He may not be able to emulate the likes of Coutinho and Firmino in the senior squad but is surely a player to watch out for. It would be a pity to see him leave the club and the fans will hope that his goal set up by Benteke will give him the confidence needed to burst into the first team under Klopp.
4. Youngsters love Klopp:
It was evident right from the first whistle that the young Liverpool side were going to be relentless all night. They were full of energy, hurrying the Exeter players into committing mistakes and pinging them back giving them no time on the ball. Though the quality of the opponent was not really high, the intent shown by the youngsters from Merseyside will give Klopp a lot of hope for the future. It seems now that Klopp’s plans of bringing back loaned out talent like Ojo is a master stroke and it looks like the youngsters are loving it under the German whose confidence and attitude rubs off on everyone. It will be interesting to see where they end up at the end of the season.
5. How many more chances will they get? :
It is all good to have a young second string team all ready and set to unfold a brilliant game but one question will always remain in everyone’s minds. Does this young team deserve another chance, another senior appearance?. Some of the players showed great promise and will only get better training with the Liverpool squad but it will not be easy for all the youngsters to break into the first team. Players like Ojo, Teixeira, Stewart, Brannagan and Smith all deserve a place in the first team but might not find one till the end of the season. It will be interesting to see how Klopp handles the entirety of his squad but at the moment, he will be all smiles with the amount of quality and pedigree he has at Anfield.