SPORTING ALERT – Liverpool have made 11 changes from the side that featured against Stoke City for this evening’s FA Cup third-round tie with Exeter City.
Manager Jurgen Klopp has decided to play a team full of youths at St James Park, with the likes of Tiago Ilori, Ryan Kent and Kevin Stewart all included in the team’s starting line-up.
Ilori, Stewart and Kent are making their Liverpool debuts, while Klopp has opted to go with experience up front with Christian Benteke leading the attack and will also skipper the side.
“These boys know each other, a lot of them have played in the youth and this is the future of Liverpool FC,” Klopp said about the youthful team.
“We don’t have the chance to gamble. It is the only team I could present tonight. We had to react on our situation. It is not usual you have this situation with centre-halves.
“Nobody is resting. All are doing what they have to do to be in the best shape.
“The FA Cup creates special stories, usually from the smaller clubs so in our situation we are the challenger.”
Benteke, who is determined to prove to his manager that he is the right man to lead the club forward on the offensive side of things, is the only regular first-team player included in the lineup.
Adam Lallana and Lucas are the only two senior players on the substitutes bench for Liverpool this evening.
Sheyi Ojo, Pedro Chirivella and Conor Masterson are among the subs as well for Klopp’s side.
For Exeter City, right-back Christian Ribeiro and midfielder David Noble have been handed their first starts since November after the pair recovered from injuries, midfielder David Wheeler misses out, as expected with an ankle injury.
Liverpool Team to play Exeter City: Bogdan, Randall, Ilori, Enrique, Smith, Brannagan, Stewart, Teixeira, Kent, Sinclair, Benteke. Subs: Fulton, Lallana, Lucas, Ojo, Maguire, Chirivella, Masterson.
Exeter City Team to play Liverpool: Olejnik, Woodman, Noble, Ribeiro, Holmes, Nicholls, Moore-Taylor, Reid, Nichols, Tillson, Brown. Subs: McAllister, Oakley, Davies, Morrison, Hoskins, Hamon, Grant.