Jurgen Klopp has praised Pedro Chirivella after the young midfielder had a difficult game during Liverpool's 1-3 loss to Swansea City on Sunday (1 May). The Spain U17 international made his first Premier League start at the Liberty Stadium but was replaced by Lucas Leiva at half-time after struggling to cope with the intensity of the game.
The former Borussia Dortmund manager made a handful of changes and named a team consisting of a number of youth team stars due to the upcoming Europa League semi-final second leg clash against Villarreal on Thursday. Klopp has clearly made winning Europe's second-tier club competition a priority as that is their only way of qualifying for the Champions League next season. A number of first-team stars were given the day off, with only Philippe Coutinho, Dejan Lovren, Daniel Sturridge and Nathaniel Clyne getting the nod for the game.
The 18-year-old midfielder had impressed during his senior appearances in the FA Cup and Europa League but struggled against the south Wales club in the deep lying midfielder's role. The German coach, however, is unconcerned and believes it will not affect him in the long run and that such a disappointment will act as a learning process for the entire team.
Klopp had fielded young teams against Bournemouth and Stoke City in previous games and they had come through with flying colours, recording comfortable victories in both the clashes. He believes the result against Swansea, who secured their top-flight status, is not a bearing on the entire squad but just the performance on the day.
"He is a wonderful player, he is a passing player, he is a big talent and today he forgot to orientate himself and that's usually his big strength," Klopp said of Chirivella following their loss to Swansea, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.
"He's really cool, calm with the ball, but today it was not a game for that. That's only one game in his long football career so that's not a problem but for today, it was obviously not too easy for him.
"I can't change my mind every two days like you obviously can. After Bournemouth, Stoke, after these games, everyone said 'oh my God how good are these young players?' and they are good but that's how life is.
"Being a professional football player is not always a honeymoon, you have to prove and deliver, today it didn't happen but that's not a problem for the future. It was a problem for today. The only result would be completely senseless if you don't use this information for the future and that is what we will do for sure," the German coach explained.
"The players have to improve, we knew this before but even in this moment we could have played better. It's not about the squad, it's about the performance today."