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Jurgen Klopp to remain patient with young stars to “prepare them for a Premier League career”

Jurgen Klopp has insisted Liverpool won’t rush the likes of Harvey Elliott into the fold in the Premier League, despite their impressive performances at MK Dons.

The Reds will return to league action on Saturday afternoon with a much-changed squad to that which won 2-0 at Stadium MK in midweek.

Klopp gave three youngsters their full debuts in Milton Keynes as Caoimhin Kelleher and Rhian Brewster joined Elliott in the starting lineup, while Ki-Jana Hoever, Herbie Kane and Sepp van den Berg also featured.

This victory has heightened expectations, most notably for Elliott who struck the crossbar twice and created a number of opportunities cutting in from the right flank, but Klopp is remaining patient.

“I think they are ready for that, that’s always clear, but we need to find the right moment,” he told reporters, when asked if they could hold their own in the league.

“They we have to learn a lot and to develop a lot. Yes, it was really wonderful and a lot of situations were very nice.

“I think Harvey was the most obvious for the things he did on the pitch and the two chances he had, or three chances he had.

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 25, 2019: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between MK Dons FC and Liverpool FC at Stadium MK. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We are not in doubt about these boys and we know exactly what we want to do with them, or what we expect from them.

“The best news is that they have all the time in the world, and they are part of a really strong squad.

“It means it’s not easy to [break] into a team like this, but they are as close as they have to be.

“That’s really cool, and we work a lot and hard with them so they can make the next steps.

“What they need to bring is that they have to be patient, that’s how it is. But you see when you let them off the leash they are obviously ready for some really nice football things.

“That was the plan before, it’s nice to have them, but a long way to go: we prepare them not for one Premier League game, we prepare them for a Premier League career. That’s what we want.

“So still a few steps to go, no problem with that, but really nice signs on Wednesday, that’s true.”

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 25, 2019: Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between MK Dons FC and Liverpool FC at Stadium MK. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The League Cup third-round clash always provided Klopp with the opportunity to start a host of fringe figures in Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and James Milner.

None of those players have clocked more than 400 minutes on the pitch so far, this season, with a staple core of 11 tallying over 600 in all competitions.

After the game, Gomez admitted his “frustration” at remaining out of the side due to the performances of Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip, but stressed that it is a squad game and he must wait for his opportunities.

Klopp echoed this, while describing the trip to MK Dons as “very, very important” for maintain rhythm throughout his wider squad.

“We have a really strong squad and the most important thing for a player if he doesn’t lose confidence,” he explained.

“That’s normal, that you lose rhythm if you don’t play for three or four weeks, that’s how it is.

“You cannot build on the last game and the last game and stuff like this.

“I think we could see it a little bit in the game, but on the other hand it’s really important that the boys stay confident.

“In the moment when you are a member of the squad you have to be confident, only about the fact you are a part of this squad.

“Because we only have really, really strong players here, involved in all that stuff. So it was cool that we could do that, and we will do that as long as it is possible.

“It always depends on the injury situation and stuff like this, but we really try to keep them all on track.

“Frustration is not so much an issue, because it’s a professional footballer’s life.

“You know that you have to do everything and sometimes you get nothing, in the respect that you’re not in the lineup or maybe you’re not even on the bench. That’s part of the deal.”

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