Emirates FA Cup, Football

Liverpool vs Southampton: Klopp’s kids show Southampton clinical edge

Lewis Koumas and Jayden Danns, both 18 years old, scored their first goals for Liverpool to defeat Southampton 3-0 and set up an FA Cup quarterfinal matchup with Manchester United, demonstrating the fresh talent still to be discovered in Liverpool.

With an average age of 23, Jurgen Klopp selected yet another youthful starting lineup. Their youngest player, Koumas, the son of former Premier League midfielder Jason, opened the score on his senior debut shortly before halftime with a deflected shot.

However, Liverpool rode their luck at Anfield at times, as Southampton missed several excellent opportunities to score, with Joe Aribo and Sekou Mara squandering their best opportunities, and Kamaldeen Sulemana hitting the post.

With two late goals by Danns, Liverpool paid a heavy price to the Championship team. The first was a deft chip over Joe Lumley of the Saints, followed by a tap-in into an empty net following a parried Conor Bradley attempt.

After winning the Carabao Cup on Sunday, the Reds will now travel to Old Trafford for the FA Cup last-eight match on March 16–17.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said:

“Incredible game. Southampton obviously is a top side, we all saw that. Our midfield press in the first half, the timing was not right. You could see the boys wanted to do what we told them, but this midfield never played together. Joe Gomez was playing for the first time as a No 6, the other kids had never played in an FA Cup game.

“Southampton had big chances, we needed Kelleher to save us there and he did that thankfully. Then we scored a wonderful goal. For 15 minutes, we were really struggling. We tried everything but the problem was [not enough] time [before the game to prepare]. And Southampton could have scored. It was so intense, the boys ran themselves to the ground and so we needed to find a way in the game, we did that, scored a wonderful goal which won the game.

“I said before the game that Lewis is a fantastic finisher. It can improve so much but he’s a fantastic finisher already and the goals are the same size in youth football.

“Dannsy, we knew he was a good finisher. His second goal is exceptional but it’s not different to youth football. He’s a striker, he knows what he has to do. The next one is another proof of his nose. Three times in the right spot, he just arrives there.

“We don’t take these things for granted, it was so difficult. We deserved to go through. It was top, top, top. We should not forget Trey [Nyoni] came on as well. What a player he is!”

Southampton manager Russell Martin after the game:

“I don’t think 3-0 is a fair reflection, I think we had the better chances in the game. We could have been 3-0 up before they even got close to our goal.

“The difference is the quality of the finishing, but I was really proud of our performance. There was a lot of promise, outstanding football, some real bravery and aggression in the team. There were a lot of moves that should have ended in goals, but they didn’t unfortunately.

“The big frustration is we lost, especially 3-0. I don’t like conceding goals and I don’t think they’re great goals, but the difference is the quality in finishing. It’s quality, composure, their goalkeeper made some quality saves. So it’s all of that combined.

“We had four massive chances in the game, that’s my only frustration. But the players should be really proud of themselves. But we should score in difficult moments.

“If we ever lose, we lose in our way and they were fantastic. If we play like that, we will be more than fine.”

Liverpool travel to Forest next on Saturday while Southampton visit Birmingham on the same day in the Championship.

Other posts by