Liverpool 3-0 Southampton: Player ratings as Klopp’s kids deliver again – Sportstimes.info
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Liverpool 3-0 Southampton: Player ratings as Klopp’s kids deliver again

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In the absence of 14 first-teamers, Jurgen Klopp once again relied upon youth in his starting XI and two academy graduates found the back of the net. Lewis Koumas opened the scoring for the hosts, before Jayden Danns scored twice after coming off the bench.

Liverpool will now take on Manchester United in the quarter-finals after the Red Devils overcame Nottingham Forest late on at the City Ground.

How the game unfolded

The Liverpool boss was forced to name a youthful XI given the Reds’ litany of absences, with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, and Dominik Szoboszlai all missing out once again.

Alexis Mac Allister, Ibrahima Konate, and Luis Diaz all dropped to the bench having started Sunday’s Carabao Cup final.

In the opening exchanges, Southampton attacked with the vigour that Chelsea should’ve in the extended period at Wembley, but missed chance after chance before Cody Gakpo had Liverpool’s first sniff of Joe Lumley’s goal. The Saints pressed superbly, with Kamaldeen Sulemana hitting the post and Sekou Mara twice being denied by Caoimhin Kelleher.

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Russell Martin’s free-flowing visitors played with a swagger throughout the first half, regularly beating Liverpool’s press to create four-v-fours in attacking transition. For all their build-up brilliance, however, they couldn’t breach Kelleher’s defences and they were punished just before half-time when Koumas’ deflected effort – just the Reds’ second on target – handed the hosts a 1-0 lead.

Koumas’ strike did little to deter Martin’s men, who remained on top at the start of the second half with Liverpool once again reliant on Kelleher to retain their advantage.

There was certainly more control about the Reds’ second-half display, with Ibrahima Konate’s arrival aiding their ability to contain Sulemana. Still, Shea Charles spurned a gilt-edge chance to draw Southampton level from a set-piece.

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Then, another of Liverpool’s young stars doubled their advantage. Substitute Danns coolly finished over Lumley after being fed in behind by Harvey Elliott. The 18-year-old added his second late on after reacting sharply from Conor Bradley’s saved effort.

The scoreline was harsh on the Championship side, who impressed for large swathes of the contest and somehow ended the night without troubling the scorers.

Liverpool player ratings (4-3-3)

GK: Caoimhin Kelleher – 9/10 – The Irishman followed up Sunday’s heroics with yet another stellar showing. Kelleher made save after save in this cup tie and was fully deserving of his clean sheet.

RB: Conor Bradley – 7/10 – The Northern Irishman always seemed to be involved. Produced some lovely touches and was involved in Liverpool’s third.

CB: Jarell Quansah – 6/10 – Initially had a tough night dealing with Sulemana in the channel. Grateful for Konate’s introduction, no doubt.

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CB: Virgil van Dijk – 7/10 – Wasn’t afforded much protection by his midfield, but defended the transition expertly when the ball went down his flank in the first half.

LB: Kostas Tsimkas – 6/10 – Much more serene in the second period after a frantic opening full of slipping and failed counter-pressing.

CM: Joe Gomez – 7/10 – Gomez’s inverted role means he’s gotten used to popping up in central areas, but this was a different kettle of fish. There were moments of awkwardness in possession, but he grew into the role and impressed in the second half.

CM: James McConnell – 6/10 – McConnell is a gifted passer and he delivered a couple of lovely switches of play. A measured performance but there were brighter showings from Liverpool’s young guns.

CM: Bobby Clark – 8/10 – Guilty of an early giveaway which should’ve resulted in a goal, but Clark seemingly grew in confidence thereafter. Proactive and positive with the ball, the young midfielder teed up Koumas’ opener and should’ve had an assist for Cody Gakpo at the start of the second half.

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RW: Harvey Elliott – 7/10 – After a chaotic opening, Elliott settled and delivered a typically industrious display full of creative vigour.

ST: Cody Gakpo – 5/10 – One of few senior members included in the senior XI, Gakpo was guilty of missing several chances on Wednesday night.

LW: Lewis Koumas – 7/10 – Bright and direct, although physically inferior. The Southampton defence had little issue dealing with the teenager before his smart, deflected finish gave Liverpool the lead.

Substitutes

SUB: Ibrahima Konate (46′ for Van Dijk) – 8/10

SUB: Alexis Mac Allister (62′ for McConnell) – 6/10

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SUB: Jayden Danns (62′ for Koumas) – 8/10

SUB: Trey Nyoni (83′ for Elliott) – 6/10

SUB: Kaide Gordon (90′ for Gakpo) – N/A

Subs not used: Adrian (GK), Luis Diaz, Callum Scanlon, Amara Nallo

Manager: Jurgen Klopp – 7/10 – Emboldened the youth yet again, and it was Liverpool’s academy that got them over the line on Wednesday night. His side surrendered a ton of chances, however.

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Player of the match: Caoimhín Kelleher (Liverpool)

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