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Klopp's call to field young side backfires

Associated Press logo Associated Press 8/01/2017 Jerome Pugmire

Juergen Klopp's decision to field Liverpool's youngest-ever team backfired as the English Premier League title contender was held 0-0 at home by fourth-tier Plymouth in the third round of the FA Cup.

With games coming thick and fast during the festive season and a midweek trip to Southampton looming in the first leg of the League Cup semi-finals, Klopp made 10 changes from the team that drew 2-2 with Sunderland on Monday.

But instead of keeping players rested for other competitions, Klopp now faces an unwanted replay at Plymouth's Home Park stadium, around 470 kilometres (292 miles) from Anfield.

"It's my responsibility, the whole thing, the line-up and performance. We could have done better," manager Klopp said.

"If you want to see it (the result) in a bad way then I am 100 per cent responsible, I have no problem with that."

Liverpool is in second place in the Premier League and well positioned to challenge for the title.

Plymouth is second, too, but in the far less glamorous League Two.

Despite this it still seemed a risky move by Klopp to select a team with an average age of 21 years, 296 days.

The 17-year-old Ben Woodburn - Liverpool's youngest-ever scorer - made his full debut alongside 19-year-olds Ovie Ejaria and Sheyi Ojo in a three-man attacking midfield supporting lone striker Divock Origi.

Trent Alexander-Arnold made only his second Liverpool start.

Attacking midfielder Adam Lallana, forward Roberto Firmino and England striker Daniel Sturridge were on the bench but got game time late.

Woodburn and Ojo went close early on as Liverpool dominated but for all of their possession, Liverpool struggled to create further chances.

Klopp brought on Sturridge shortly after the hour mark, and he went close almost immediately with a low shot past the right post.

Sturridge then clipped another shot narrowly wide as Liverpool continued to push forward.

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