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Published: 14:41 | 21/1/16

Klopp plays down expectations

Says younger players need time to develop

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has played down expectations surrounding some of the younger members of his squad following last night's 3-0 FA Cup third round replay victory over Exeter at Anfield.

Sheyi Ojo and Joao Carlos Teixeira scored their first senior goals on their Anfield debuts, while the likes of Cameron Brannagan and Brad Smith also impressed on the night.

Joe Allen, one of only three experienced players in the side, opened the scoring in the first half as Liverpool eased to a comfortable victory.

However, Klopp has moved to dampen any expectations surrounding the latest crop of youngsters and insists that it is too early to be pushing them for full first-team involvement on a regular basis.

"It is a long way for these young boys but they showed what they are already able to do and what they have to learn," he said afterwards.

"If everyone stays cool... It is not protecting them but giving the lads time to develop.

"Tonight was a good moment, there were a few things which were impressive but a lot of things to learn.

"The target at the end of the road has to be [playing for] Liverpool FC in the Premier League and for this you have to be ready.

"We cannot bring them all in every week in the Premier League.

"A few months ago when I said we need to have all our best players here (Ryan) Kent, Ojo, (Kevin) Stewart and Tiago (Ilori) were on loan."

The return to action of local boy Jon Flanagan following two knee operations was another positive for the Reds boss.

"When he came in it was a great moment after this long time," he added.

"I've not had him too often in training because we need to be careful with him.

"It was a real emotional moment when everyone stood up and clapped.

"I don't think anyone deserved it more than him. It is such an unbelievably long time he was injured but he has never been in a bad mood.

"Hopefully now it goes on and we have to see how he feels tomorrow. It was one of the best pieces of news we could get."

On the result itself Klopp added: "I could see the lads enjoyed it. They worked hard, created chances and scored wonderful goals.

"They made mistakes but reacted the right way. First half they (Exeter) were really experienced so it was really hard work but I was pleased with the performance.

"A few weeks ago I couldn't think I would enjoy a rematch in the FA Cup but I did."

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