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Jurgen Klopp says people must show patience with Liverpool’s youngsters after his inexperienced side were held to a 2-2 draw by League Two side Exeter City in the FA Cup.
The Liverpool manager made the full 11 changes from the side that started the 1-0 Capital One Cup semi-final first leg victory at Stoke on Tuesday, handing debuts to Tiago Ilori, Ryan Kent and Kevin Stewart in Friday’s third-round tie at St James Park.
It was the second-youngest starting eleven in Liverpool history, with an average age of 22.87, but Klopp was quick to dampen down expectations despite impressive performances from Cameron Brannagan, Joao Teixeira and goalscorers Jerome Sinclair and Brad Smith.
“I mix some team together and you say ‘show me the future’,” Klopp told the BBC.
“It can’t be the future. The players helped us in our situation.”
Klopp believes the Exeter players won the physical battle on a St James Park pitch that cut up badly following recent rain in the West Country.
“It’s obvious what we have to learn in the future – we have to be more robust,” he said.
“It was a difficult pitch. Exeter did really well. Maybe they know which part of the pitch you can play football. It was really difficult for us today. On one-on-one situations they were more robust than our guys.”