Wednesday 22 November 2017

WATCH - 'The whole of Plymouth was in the 18-yard box' - Jurgen Klopp relaxed despite frustrating draw with League Two minnows

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Reuters / Andrew Yates
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Reuters / Andrew Yates
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Liverpool are facing a 600 miles round trip to Plymouth after failing to register a goal for only the fifth time during Jurgen Klopp's tenure.

A Reds team containing five academy graduates came up against a green wall as Argyle manager Derek Adams succeeded in making life as difficult as possible for the hosts in their FA Cup third-round encounter.

The tactics were understandable for a side second in League Two coming to a club second in the Premier League who score for fun at home, and Plymouth now have a chance of causing an upset at Home Park.

A replay is something Jurgen Klopp could have done without in a month which contains a two-legged EFL Cup semi-final against Southampton as well as a trip to Manchester United and the visit of league leaders Chelsea, but it was not entirely surprising considering the team he put out.

Liverpool's side had an average age of 21 years and 296 days - even taking into account the presence of captain Lucas Leiva, 30 on Monday - with almost half the team coming through the club's academy.

Lucas was making his 329th appearance for the Reds - the same number as all his other 10 team-mates combined - but Liverpool really needed the know-how in a more advanced position than central defence.

Alongside him was Joe Gomez, playing his first match for 465 days and his first appearance under Klopp after a serious knee injury, and it proved a more than comfortable return for the 19-year-old.

Eighty per cent possession for Liverpool in the first half told its own story as Plymouth, after having an initial go, retreated into damage-limitation mode putting at least nine outfield players behind the ball.

Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Klopp said: "It's not the result we wished (for) obviously but it is not frustrating because that's football."

Klopp bemoaned his side's luck and their failure to make the right decisions in decent areas.

"Now I go to Plymouth for the first time in my life. All good," he added.

"The whole of Plymouth, I'm not sure how big Plymouth is, was in the 18-yard box I would say.

"That's the biggest challenge in football to defend against a deep, defending side. For all teams in world football.

"The smaller they can make the spaces, the less the quality difference is obvious and that's how it is."

Klopp has vowed to deploy his young players in the return game.

"We will try it again against Plymouth... 100pc. If we do better, we can win and if we don't, we don't deserve it."

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