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Stat: Liverpool fielded youngest XI in their history vs. Exeter City

With his squad depleted with injuries to many of his senior stars, Jurgen Klopp was forced to field a young and inexperienced side against Exeter City.

EXETER, ENGLAND - Friday, January 8, 2016: Liverpool's Joe Maguire and Brad Smith applaud the travelling supporters after the 2-2 draw with Exeter City during the FA Cup 3rd Round match at St. James Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool earned a 2-2 draw late on in Friday night’s FA Cup third round clash at St. James Park, with Brad Smith’s 73rd-minute sealing a replay at Anfield later this month.

Though the Reds would typically be expected to stroll past League Two opposition, restrictions on Klopp’s selection forced this modest performance.

The German gave five players their senior debut, with Tiago Ilori, Kevin Stewart and Ryan Kent all starting and Joe Maguire and Sheyi Ojo introduced from the substitutes’ bench.

Klopp’s initial lineup had an average age of 22.87, the second youngest starting lineup in the club’s history.

By the time Maguire had replaced Ilori, Ojo had come on for Jerome Sinclair and Kent made way for Pedro Chirivella, Liverpool had their youngest ever side on the field.

Klopp included eight players aged 19 or under in his matchday squad, with only Adam Bogdan, Jose Enrique and Christian Benteke over 22 years old.

Only Enrique had appeared for the Reds before in the FA Cup, and the Spanish left-back also boasted the most experience at the club, having made 96 appearances for Liverpool following his move from Newcastle United in 2011.

Bar Enrique, Klopp’s starting lineup had made 39 appearances for the club between them.

By notching his first goal for the club in the first half, Sinclair joined Ojo in marking a successful history of youth development on Merseyside.

On the 19th anniversary of Jamie Carragher’s Liverpool debut, the strong performances of Ojo and Co. could prove significant.

After witnessing them pass their first test in testing conditions on Friday night, Klopp will be hoping they can follow in Carragher’s footsteps and establish themselves as key players.

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