Liverpool boss Klopp’s verdict on likely Carabao Cup starter – ‘Would have played sooner’

Liverpool front line compared to 'raptors' by assistant

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp spoke glowingly of the youngsters who featured in their last Carabao Cup outing against Norwich City back in September. Thanks to a hint dropped by the club this week, a number of those emerging stars could be in line to feature against Preston North End on Wednesday evening.

The Reds are going into their last-16 tie off the back of a morale-boosting 5-0 trouncing of bitter rivals Manchester United.

Klopp’s side ran riot at Old Trafford with Mohamed Salah bagging a hat-trick, although it is likely to be a much-changed side who attempt to earn a spot in the quarter-finals.

The club dropped a hint as to who would be involved this week when a number of youngsters were left out of their Premier League 2 matchday squad on Monday.

Teenage right-back Conor Bradley was among them, suggesting he could provide Trent Alexander-Arnold with an opportunity to rest up.

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James Balagizi, Tyler Morton and Mateusz Musialowski completed the 18-year-old quartet who were left out, meaning Reds fans could get to see what they are all about on Wednesday night.

Kaide Gordon, who made his debut in the last round against Norwich as a 16-year-old, was also left out but Klopp’s assistant Pepijn Lijnders confirmed it was an injury-related absence so he will not feature.

It could be a big opportunity for Bradley who also featured against the Canaries when Liverpool triumphed 3-0.

Fans will be chomping at the bit to see the young full-back in action, particularly in light of what Klopp said after their victory at Carrow Road.

“[You get opportunities] only when they are good enough, and they are good enough. That’s it,” he said.

“You saw Connor Bradley tonight. The first Northern Irish player to play [for Liverpool] since 1954 sounds too long.

“If someone had told me that I would play him sooner, but [it’s a] great thing, and he played a super game.”

Preston come into the encounter amidst a poor run of form, having won just three of their 14 Championship games so far this campaign.

Having battled their way into the last 16, however, there will be plenty of incentive to fight hard and set up another bumper tie in the next round.

So far in the tournament, they have eliminated Cheltenham Town, Morecambe and Mansfield, but face a significant step up in class when they take to the Deepdale pitch on Wednesday night.

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