The media were impressed with Liverpool’s youngsters and the mature performance from an experimental side in the 2-0 League Cup win at MK Dons.
A youthful Reds team cruised past the League One outfit to set up a fourth round clash against Arsenal at Anfield.
Goals in either half from James Milner – via a howler from MK Dons ‘keeper Stuart Moore – and a first Reds’ strike for Ki-Jana Hoever sealed a comfortable victory.
The night went as well as it could have and Jurgen Klopp will be particularly pleased with the displays of the young Reds who stepped up to the first-team stage.
Here’s how the media assessed the cup win.
Reporters were impressed with how an experimental Reds side delivered such a mature performance…
Standard Sport’s David Lynch praised the Reds for the controlled collective display and thought Klopp’s well-balanced selection was key:
It was the sort of line-up that usually leads to a disjointed performance and, occasionally, a shock exit for a big gun at the hands of lower league opposition.
Liverpool’s place in the next round owes much to the enthusiasm with which their lesser-seen first-team squad members grabbed the chance to put forward a case for more regular football.
Writing for Goal.com, Neil Jones applauded the young Reds for all delivering mature displays and buying into the team ethic:
It is easy for young players, especially those who have been hyped and exposed to first-team football from an early age, to treat these games like an X-Factor audition, a chance to show each and every skill they possess.
How encouraging, then, for Jurgen Klopp to witness such a mature, controlled performance from his team.
The Liverpool Echo’s Paul Gorst thinks the composed manner of the performance should secure the youngsters another chance to impress in the next round:
The Reds rarely looked flustered or troubled, even when Tisdale’s men attempt to batter the door down inside the final 15 minutes.
They will surely be handed another opportunity to impress in the next round.
Jones explained how this performance was vindication for the club for building a group of youngsters who have the right hunger and characteristics to succeed:
Liverpool, though, are looking to breed a different kind of footballer; ones who can bring their individual talent into a strict team environment, who will do the simple things as well and as often as the flashy, and who possess the hunger and the character to learn and improve day after day.
Members of the media unanimously picked Harvey Elliott as the stand-out performer of the night…
Jones simply thought that the 16-year-old “sparkled” on his debut and was mightily impressed by the mature nature of Elliott’s game:
Harvey Elliott – remember the name. On a night when Liverpool’s kids got their chance to shine, it was the youngest of all who sparkled.
What were you doing at 16? Chances are, it wasn’t as impressive as this – and hopefully it wasn’t as public. Elliott may dress like a teenager and talk like a teenager, but he doesn’t play like one.
The Mirror’s Jake Polden was particularly impressed by Elliott’s mentality and how he settled straight into the team, completely unfazed by the occasion:
For most 16 year olds the idea of turning out for the European champions would be a daunting prospect, but the Fulham graduate took the whole thing in his stride.
He should have scored, but he didn’t let the set-back get to him, instead he continued to grow into the game. […] All in all it was a great start made by Elliott; the future is looking bright.
The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle discussed the most impressive aspects of Elliott’s game, picking out the 16-year-old’s strength on the ball and low centre of gravity as key features:
Watching Elliott in action, what soon becomes apparent is his comfort in possession, a low centre of gravity and core strength that makes him difficult to knock off the ball.
Then there’s the consistency of his play. In the first half, he floated over a succession of deliveries from the right, all of which caused consternation among the MK Dons backline.
And Doyle thought Elliott’s performance highlighted exactly why his signing was such a huge transfer coup for the Reds:
Small wonder Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain were among the clubs reportedly keeping tabs on the teenager.
The watching journalists were also impressed with other young Reds and reserved praise for one senior figure…
ESPN’s Stephen Wright thought Caoimhin Kelleher was Liverpool’s man-of-the-match for a performance which featured some great saves:
There were plenty of minutes for Liverpool’s youngsters, with Kelleher in particular showing what he’s capable of with some fine saves.
Looked quick off his line as well, and wasn’t afraid to approach the halfway line to distribute play high up the pitch.
The BBC’s Neil Johnston thought Curtis Jones, as well as Elliott, produced performances that gave “an exciting glimpse” into Liverpool’s future:
Elliott and 18-year-old Curtis Jones both gave Liverpool fans an exciting glimpse into the future with energetic performances.
The Mail’s James Dutton was most impressed with Jones and thinks the Scouser “has a real chance” of making the grade at Anfield:
Tidy in possession, constantly available and confident at taking the ball in tight areas, be it deep in his own half or the opposition’s.
Has a real chance at carving out a future squad role in the Liverpool midfield.
Meanwhile, Polden reserved some praise for James Milner, applauding the way the skipper led the inexperienced Reds through a big occasion:
But it was just as well that he was on the pitch on Wednesday as the world’s most professional footballer guided the kids like the captain of a ship.
The Mail’s Matt Barlow added to this, stating how Milner gave a perfect demonstration to the young Reds of the application needed to forge a successful career at the highest level:
At 33, he has moved effortlessly into the role of versatile veteran showing the next generation how to apply themselves if they want a career at the top.
In Milton Keynes, against League One opposition, the oldest player on the pitch gave the perfect example, captaining Liverpool and dominating the game from left back, creating chances and scoring the opening goal for the European champions.