Jurgen Klopp addresses whether he’ll use Liverpool ‘kids’ in Europa League group stage

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Jurgen Klopp has addressed whether he’ll delve into the Liverpool academy when selecting his matchday squads for Europa League group games.

The Reds’ participation in Europe’s secondary club competition, and the ensuing regularity of Thursday-Sunday scheduling, is likely to see the 56-year-old rotating his line-up heavily for the group games throughout the autumn.

The manager gave game-time to a host of young prospects during the first team’s pre-season programme in Germany and Singapore, although he was non-committal as to how much the next generation will be used on the European stage over the coming months.

Speaking to TNT Sports, Klopp said: “If there will be kids involved, that depends on the level the kids can show in that moment. We have real talent there, but it is not experimental.

“I think if we don’t get hit by an injury crisis then we should have enough players to field Thursday and Sunday a top team, and that’s pretty much the idea.

“Then we will see how we build a squad. I didn’t think about that yet to be honest because these kind of long-term plans in football make absolutely no sense because you can kick them in the bin pretty much the second after you had them, for whatever reason.

“We will see, but we have good kids. That’s the benefit of the international break, when you have all these kids in training. We had 16-year-old boys here, and they are incredibly good, incredibly talented.”

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From Klopp’s comments, it appears that he’s open to the idea of giving academy youngsters a go in the Europa League if he believes they’re ready for it and if the situation is right for Liverpool.

The perfect scenario for the Reds would be to secure top spot in the group with a match to spare, enabling the manager to rest his senior players for the away clash against Union Saint-Gilloise in a busy December and give the young lads exposure to a first-team environment.

Ben Doak and Jarell Quansah have already played in the Premier League this term, so they’ll likely be utilised regularly in Europe, while other gems such as James McConnell, Bobby Clark and Melkamu Frauendorf were given minutes in pre-season.

If Liverpool ensure progression from the group stage with games in hand, it could also be the ideal situation for Klopp to hand another opportunity to Kaide Gordon, who had featured sporadically for the first team prior to his pelvic injury nightmare.

Of course, as the manager acknowledged, the composition of his squad can suddenly be thrown asunder by unforeseen events such as injuries, while he’s also acknowledged that he’s not going to toss academy players into a European game purely for the sake of it.

In an ideal world, the Reds will get the job done nice and early so that the German has the scope to give the likes of Doak, Quansah, McConnell, Clark et al a few runouts in the Europa League and keep the first-team stalwarts fresh for Premier League action.

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