Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson was full of praise for the team’s young stars after Tuesday night’s Champions League win over Ajax at Anfield.
With Alisson Becker sustaining an injury, Jürgen Klopp made the brave decision to go with 22-year-old Caoimhin Kelleher in goals for The Reds instead of the more experienced Adrián.
In defence, Neco Williams, 19, started at right-back despite having a tough time in his previous few games. Curtis Jones, also just 19, played in midfield alongside Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum.
Kelleher turned in a fine performance, making some hugely important saves while Williams was much-improved and showed great mental strength to put his poor form of recent weeks behind him.
Jones again looked comfortable in midfield, an old head on young shoulders, and scored the game’s only goal, converting a cross from Williams at the back post.
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Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com after the win, Henderson had some words of encouragement about the three young players who came in and did their jobs brilliantly.
“Unbelievable, isn’t he [Kelleher]? Outstanding, some of the saves he made, important saves.
“His distribution was excellent, coming out and commanding his area. I thought he was outstanding and a real plus for us.
“I’m delighted for Curt because he’s worked really hard. He listens, he wants to learn all the time and I think over the last few weeks you’ve seen the maturity in his play and he’s been outstanding. He deserved his goal.
“A great ball from Neco – I thought he overhit it, so I might have given him a bit of stick when he hit it! But it was a fantastic ball in the end. So I’m delighted for both of them.”
When asked about the five-day gap between the Ajax game and Sunday night’s fixture against Wolves, Henderson said:
“That’s a big gap for us, not a small one! We’ve got to use that the best we can, recover and get ready for a tough game because Wolves are a good side.
“They got a big win the other day against Arsenal, so they’ll be right up for it. It’s another tough game for us but we’ll recover and get ready for that one.”
It’s likely that Kelleher will also start the game against Wolves as Klopp stated that Alisson will not be back to full fitness by Sunday.
Williams could also continue at right-back as Trent Alexander-Arnold continues his rehabilitation and James Milner is now also injured after going off in the 1-1 draw at Brighton last Saturday.
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