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Jurgen Klopp hails youngsters’ “big steps” in pre-season – including “cheeky” Harvey Elliott

Jurgen Klopp has highlighted five youngsters to have made “big steps” in pre-season, after the emergence of the likes of Yasser Larouci and Ki-Jana Hoever.

The Reds ended their schedule of summer friendlies with an eye-catching 3-1 win over Lyon on Wednesday night, with seven teenagers featuring as Klopp rang the changes.

Larouci and Hoever both started at full-back and impressed again, while Sepp van den Berg, Adam Lewis and Bobby Duncan caught the eye with brief cameos, Rhian Brewster stood out up front and Harvey Elliott produced some dazzling moments.

It is likely that some of these young players will supplement Klopp’s squad in the campaign ahead, though it is unclear who will stay and who will go.

But speaking to LFCTV, the manager hailed the “big steps” made over the past seven games in July, name-checking five including the “cheeky” Elliott.

“That’s what pre-season is about as well: to increase their confidence,” Klopp explained.

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - Wednesday, July 31, 2019: Liverpool's players line-up for a team group photograph before a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Olympique Lyonnais at Stade de Genève. Front row L-R: captain Dejan Lovren, goalkeeper Alisson Becker, Yasser Larouci, Joe Gomez, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah. Front row L-R: Adam Lallana, Ki-Jana Hoever, Naby Keita, Harry Wilson, Xherdan Shaqiri. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Because we knew they were good but, of course, they have to adapt to different things, we had harder sessions than they are used to.

“And then you still have to play games against really strong sides.

“But it looked good and they made big steps, and you can see in each of them the unbelievable talent which is sleeping inside, so it’s really nice.

“So being, then, at this age you cannot be as experienced as the others but you can be more cheeky than the others.

“You saw that in a few moments, especially from Harvey: he’s obviously not bothered who runs around him, so that was really nice.

“Yasser showed wonderful signs, Ki-Jana made big steps, Sepp obviously a big centre-half talent which is really nice, Bobby Duncan striker through and through. I don’t want to miss somebody!”

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - Wednesday, July 31, 2019: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Olympique Lyonnais at Stade de Genève. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 16-year-old Elliott exposed his youth with an offensive video circulating on social media earlier on Wednesday, taking to Instagram to “wholeheartedly apologise” after the game, but on the pitch he kept up with the seniors.

It is likely the ex-Fulham forward will be given opportunities in the first team before long, and likewise Larouci, Hoever and Van den Berg, who could all serve as backups in defence.

Brewster is long-established as an option for Klopp in attack this season, but it remains to be seen whether Lewis or Duncan stay with the squad.

While many supporters still clamour for further arrivals as a quiet transfer window draws to a close, Klopp seems content with the players at his disposal—regardless of their age.

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