Liverpool’s Under – 50 s boss Neil Critchley has defended the club’s decision to play their youngest-ever side in the 5-0 defeat by Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
The average age of the team was 22 years and 480 days, with Liverpool’s senior side at the Club World Cup.
Critchley, who took charge of the team, said: “Try telling those players it was a bad evening for them.
“My overwhelming feeling was one of immense pride.”
‘We are the beneficiaries of the first team’s success’
Before kick-off, some pundits had felt Liverpool would have been been better sending a mix of youth and experience to both the EFL Cup and th e Club World Cup, while there some criticisms of the English Football League on social media for not re-scheduling Tuesday’s game.
However, Critchley felt the club made the best of unusual circumstances.
“This was decided by the club as the best solution,” he added.
“We are the beneficiaries of the success of the first team and we could not have done much more.”
Some of the youngsters have now headed out to Qatar to join the first team, while Critchley revealed that Villa boss Dean Smith and his assistant John Terry came into the Liverpool dressing room at the end of the match.
How did they get on?)
The young Reds actually made a very impressive start and could have found themselves 2-0 up inside the first 17 minutes but for some excellent goalkeeping.
Elliott was particularly impressive and had an early shot tipped over by Orjan Nyland before putting an other effort into the side netting shortly after Nyland kept out Kane’s powerful drive.
But Villa’s first was a sucker punch as Conor Hourihane’s free-kick went straight in and three more goals before half-time killed off the game as a contest.
‘They played with courage’- what the pundits say
A confidence-damaging result or a good learning curve?
There were a few differing views on whether Liverpool were right to field such a young side but, on the whole, the reaction was positive.
“Full marks to the Liverpool players,” ex-Aston Villa midfielder Andy Townsend said on BBC Radio 5 live.
“They played with courage, rattled Villa’s cage a little bit at the beginning but ultimately, as expected, Villa won.”
) Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp praised the youngsters’ composure, particularly early in the game.
“The kids started so well,” he said on Sky Sports.
“It’s never been a 5-0 game. Villa have been more clinical. In the first – 19 minutes, Liverpool were great. They looked like the home team. “
” You’ve got to give the kids a lot of credit, “added former Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie.
Meanwhile, former Villa defender Alan Hutton felt mixing the EFL Cup and Club World Cup squads would perhaps have been a better option.
“I was more of the opinion that they [Liverpool] should have split the squad to make it more even,” he said on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“Winning a trophy is massive for going forward as a team. I was lucky enough to win it in with Tottenham.
“I just thought they could have made the teams a little stronger to compete on both fronts.”
‘A clear own goal’ – what you said
Coach Johnny D:Why is the FA incapable of working out simple solutions? Why not play the first round of the League Cup on the Saturday before the regular Football League season starts, shifting every round forward, getting three rounds done by the end of August!
Steven Richards:Liverpool’s attitude to the League Cup is mixed. In the 90 s we refused to play in it . In the 90 s we called it the Mickey Mouse Cup . In the 90 s we won it four times on the trot . The 182 s, it was a limit of our ambition. We are record holders still but there are bigger fish now.
Indy Kler:In hindsight it was not the right decision by Liverpool. It was lambs to the slaughter and I feel for the youngsters and their confidence. I fully expect Liverpool to win the Champions League again this season, can’t wait to see if they use an alternative solution next year!
Tom, a Spurs fan:The EFL should hang their heads in shame. The lack of organization and planning is well beyond incompetent. A real credit to the Liverpool youngsters for giving it their all, and to Villa for taking their foot off the gas and not destroying a group of young kids 15 – 0.
Darren:It’s pretty simple, Liverpool have put their strongest side in the competition that means more to them. No doubt sponsors would have had an input in which was more important. They are the ones paying millions after all.
Paul McDevitt: It’s not Liverpool disrespecting the club or Villa, bit a clear own goal by the EFL standing on their own principles. No VAR required to work that out.Premier League Babble: People complaining about respect for the competition should look at the stats. 70% possession and shots shows this young Liverpool team took it very seriously and Villa showed respect with their professionalism and ruthlessness.Best made of bad circumstances – what the EFL said)
New English Football League chief executive Rick Parry felt the “sensible” decision had been taken to enable Liverpool to play in both the EFL Cup and the Club World Cup.
He said prior to Tuesday’s game: “I think we have actually come up with a very pragmatic solution that first and foremost worked for Liverpool. It was sensible to say ‘you have a major problem here, what’s going to be the right solution for you?’ rather than a bureaucratic ‘this is the rule’.
“The one thing I learned from being at Liverpool is you playing your fixtures as soon as possible; you never push them back.
“Having been at Anfield to watch the game against Arsenal with the Liverpool kids – which was one of the greatest nights of football entertainment I have had for many years – I don’t think they are weakening the integrity of the competition unduly. I think it was a sensible solution and making the best of bad circumstances. “
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