Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has promised to field a similar team for his side's FA Cup third round replay against Exeter to that which he named for the first game. The 48-year-old German was criticised in some quarters for naming an understrength side for the 2-2 draw at St James Park on 8 January, but he has no plans to change his approach for the replay.
The Reds have been undermined by injury problems in recent weeks, but Klopp explained there are other factors behind his decision to name a team comprised of youth and fringe players. "It's not always about the injury situation. It will be a similar team to the first match," he said during a pre-match press conference, according to the Liverpool Echo.
While some fans have been critical of Klopp's decision to field so many youngsters against Exeter, the Liverpool boss thinks it is a great opportunity for his lesser-known players to prove their worth.
"You never can be sure and I don't want to put pressure on them. We play at Anfield and I would say we don't have to think so much about the first game," the Liverpool manager said. "It's a big chance and we can show the young boys that we trust them. It's very important. It's a real competition against a good team. It's similar to Germany, they all know how to play football. It's a real man's competition.
"They are excited. Anfield is a special place. I'm happy for them, hopefully we can create an atmosphere and go to the next round."
Klopp also revealed Jon Flanagan, 23, is likely to be named on the bench after recovering from a long-term knee injury. "Jon is in a really good way and we're really happy about this," the Liverpool boss said. "The medical department decided that he's not for the started line-up but if nothing happens, he's on the bench. It's a long time for him and it's the first step back for him, being back in the dressing room and not in a suit, in a tracksuit."