Liverpool’s 22-year-old midfielder Kevin Stewart put in another sturdy performance in holding midfield last night against West Ham, but it wasn’t enough to secure us a place in the FA Cup 5th Round.
The Hammers won 2-1 after Extra Time, after Ogbonna nodded in at the death, following three chances missed by Christian Benteke.
“We’re just really disappointed,” Stewart told the official website.
“We could probably have won it today and in the first game, and to concede in the last 30 seconds, we’re just really gutted.
“I think the attitude was really good. If we made mistakes, we won the ball back, we made chances. The only thing was we didn’t put the chances away.
“There are a lot of positives to take from the FA Cup. It’s got some of the young players’ names out there, showed people what they can do.
“I’ve waited a very long time for this so it’s a bit of relief to finally show what I can do. Most of my career, the games I’ve played well in have been against younger players and players my age.
“It’s nice to prove to myself I can cope with the Premier League players and do well against them.
“It makes it much more competitive and I think I thrive in competitive situations. When a lot of players come back to fitness, we need to fight more, and I think that’s why I’m going to improve.”
Stewart certainly did his chances of forging a Premier League career for himself no harm whatsoever. Anchoring the team with Joao Teixeira and Pedro Chirivella either side, Stewart tackled, made interceptions, occasionally drove forward with the ball and passed simply – all the actions needed from a defensive midfielder.
At the start of the campaign when 22-year-old Stewart was injured on loan at Swindon Town, not many supporters would have predicted he’d be in contention for a first-team place come February, but the youngster’s performances in the FA Cup have warranted that.
With Emre Can badly out of form and Lucas hit and miss, many fans would now like Stewart to be given a proper chance in the Premier League side.
We’ve got the Europa League as well now to consider, but with that competition being a ‘must-win’ for our chances of qualification for next season’s Champions League, we’ll be picking our ‘strongest’ XI in that as well.
For some, Stewart should be a part of that by next weekend against Aston Villa.