Carabao Cup Quarter Final: vs Aston Villa, Beated 5-0 Down but Impresive!

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Football League Cup Quarter Final Liverpool FC vs Aston Villa. Rabu, 18 Desember 2019, 02:45 WIB. Dengan semakin jelasnya squad yang teebang ke Qatar, kemungkinan starting eleven untuk laga perempat final Carabao Cup adalah: Kelleher; Williams, Hoever, Van den Berg, Larouci; Chirivella, Dixon-Bonner, Shaqiri; Elliott, Brewster, Jones.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp gives Xherdan Shaqiri instructions on the sideline at Anfield. (Image: Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Dalam barisan tersebut ada beberapa pemain yang sebetulnya ikut ambil bagian dalam laga melawan Monterey (ditulis tebal) yang sepertinya akan menyusul ke Qatar begitu laga usai.

Starting XI Liverpool FC

Match Review: The 14 minutes which had Liverpool dreaming, and should have Klopp smiling

Writer: Kristian Walsh on: liverpool.com

For 14 minutes, Liverpool lived the dream. Ki-Jana Hoever scooped the ball under his control and initiated a counter-attack as if he were Trent Alexander-Arnold. Sepp van den Berg, not 18 until last this week, led the back line like compatriot Virgil van Dijk. Harvey Elliott cuts inside on to his left and tests the goalkeeper, not just in a way reminiscent of Mohamed Salah, but in a motion which already has you believing he could be heir to the throne one day.

Make no mistake. The opening quarter of this game, this once-in-a-lifetime event, was not simply 11 youngsters, nine of them teenagers, gallivanting around the pitch with enthusiasm and not much else. There was endeavour in their movement, an extra dart in their runs towards the ball, but there was also so much more to it. This wasn’t just a Liverpool Under-23s side attempting to do the impossible, this was a Liverpool Under-23s side who, for those 14 minutes, looked as if they could.

It would have been easy for Neil Critchley to tell his players to simply go on to the pitch and enjoy it. That would have been one of the messages, undoubtedly. But there was also a clear instruction to do what they had been doing, whether at the Academy at Kirkby or Melwood with the senior side; to play with confidence, with off-the-ball movement, with tight first touches, with an identity.

Liverpool’s youngsters impressed early on against Aston Villa (Image: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

In those first 14 minutes, the youngest-ever Liverpool side in history did that. They were the better side against Premier League Aston Villa, one with eight full internationals within it, even after 10 changes by coach Dean Smith. The ball popped from instep-to-instep; spaces were found in midfield, forward runs troubled the home side’s defence. Elliott, in particular, was problematic for anybody in claret and blue.

A question this football club has asked so many times under Jürgen Klopp was being asked by this record-setting side: what if? A question successfully asked against so many sides in recent years was being pondered again at Villa Park.

There was always the danger of what would happen next if that question died down. Liverpool could not keep up the tempo, the concentration and the sheer surely-they-can’t-do-this-ness of it all. After 14 minutes of dreaming, reality hit with Villa’s opener. Within the next half hour, the home side had added another three, and went into half time 4-0 up. It would finish 5-0.

But there is no shame in that for Liverpool. They did all they could, and all that should be expected of them: a clear understanding of what it means to play for Liverpool, and the sort of football asked of anybody, regardless of age, who represents the shirt.

Harvey Elliott was Liverpool’s standout performer (Image: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Nobody will want to paint this as a moral victory for Liverpool, although the first half statistics were remarkable. Critchley’s young side finished the opening 45 with 54% possession, five corners and five more shots than Villa. Yet for those 14 minutes, Liverpool showed why so much is going right at the club right now. Even after a 5-0 defeat, Klopp should be afforded a smile in Qatar.

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