Jurgen Klopp will ring the changes again tonight as Liverpool take on Exeter in an FA Cup 3rd Round Replay at Anfield.
He’s picking the youngsters which did a pretty good job during the 2-2 draw first time around, and here are five that we’re most excited about tonight.
Scorer of the equaliser in the draw at St. James Park, Smith will start again at left-back to allow Alberto Moreno a rest. The Anfield tie should suit him as he loves bursting forward and will hopefully get lots of opportunities to overlap the winger. With Moreno’s defensive lapses, Smith can put pressure on the Spaniard for a starting spot with another accomplished performance.
The central midfielder is composed on the ball, and it’ll be up to him to tick over possession tonight against the League Two outfit. He found it hard the first time around because of the state of the pitch, but the Anfield carpet should help him control proceedings. Jordan Rossiter would normally be guaranteed a start in this kind of fixture, but with the teenager injured with a hamstring issue, it’s Brannagan’s chance to shine in the middle.
Strong, quick, skilful and only 18-years-old, Ojo’s ceiling in terms of how good he can be is perhaps the highest of these five. He was recalled from his loan spell at Wolves so Klopp could see him first-hand, and with Jerome Sinclair closing on a move away from Liverpool, we expect Ojo to get the nod from the beginning. He injected drive and energy into the side when coming off the bench first time around and has the ability to do so again tonight. Much like Jordon Ibe in physical statute and attributes, Ojo – like his elder team-mate – struggles with end product right now.
Kent was perhaps the best of the youngsters down in Devon, and we’re expecting him to start on the right wing again. From this position he can cut inside or beat his fullback down the line – and with Christian Benteke waiting in the middle – he should be encouraged to stand up some crosses for the big Belgian – who’ll be aerially so much better than the Exeter defenders. Like Ojo, Kent’s loan spell was cut short, so it’s imperative that he impresses for Liverpool when presented with an opportunity.
At 22-years-old, we’re pushing it a bit to refer to Teixeira as a ‘starlet’, but his lack of opportunities at Liverpool so far put him in that bracket. He’s technically such an excellent footballer, but the fact he hasn’t played much at senior level yet has limited his decision making ability. He often tries his clever flicks and passes in areas where he should simply recycle the ball. Still, he could be our most obviously creative player this evening, and a good performance could get him minutes in the upcoming League Cup tie or the FA Cup 4th Round should we qualify.