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Jurgen Klopp gives verdict as Leighton Clarkson and Billy Koumetio make debuts

Jurgen Klopp appeared delighted after youngsters Leighton Clarkson and Billy Koumetio made their debuts in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with FC Midtjylland in the Champions League.

With the Reds having already confirmed top spot in their group, Klopp took the opportunity to rotate his squad and rest a number of key players.

Highly-rated 19-year-old central midfielder Clarkson played the full 90 minutes in Denmark, and looked far from overawed by the occasion.

Eighteen-year-old French defender Koumetio, meanwhile, replaced Fabinho at half-time to become Liverpool’s youngest ever player in the Champions League.

And speaking at full-time, Klopp seemed impressed by what he had seen by both debutants.

Billy Koumetio came on at half-time for his Liverpool debut

“They will [learn],” he said. “We let them have the experience. It’s a wonderful thing to have a first Champions League game but a career is about how many.

“They are really skilled boys and have a lot to learn. They helped us a lot. It was a big night for both. I’m thankful they are as good as they are.”

It was a night of record-breaking for Liverpool, with Mohamed Salah’s early strike seeing him overtake Steven Gerrard to become the club’s all-time top Champions League scorer with 22 goals.

And Klopp added: “It is one record after another, and I am pretty sure he is proud of that…he should be!

Leighton Clarkson impressed Jurgen Klopp

“He’s an exceptional player, just an absolutely exceptional player and since we have been together a lot of things really clicked. But he appreciates the help of the team too. Even his incredible number of goals wouldn’t be enough alone for us to be successful.

“But he is truly exceptional. Nobody doubted it, but if you need numbers to prove, he delivers that as well.”

Liverpool will now turn their attentions back to Premier League matters, with the Reds taking on struggling Fulham at the weekend before a potentially huge clash with regards to the race for the title when they face Tottenham next Wednesday.




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