Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool happy with talent emerging from academy
Jurgen Klopp has spoken of his excitement at the number of promising youngsters emerging from Liverpool's academy.
A number of prospects from the youth ranks could be used in Tuesday night's EFL Cup fourth-round tie against Tottenham Hotspur after Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ovie Ejaria were absent from the under-23 side's victory over Everton on Sunday.
The Reds boss believes his careful approach to young players and the fact they are training regularly with the first team at Melwood has aided their development.
"I think there's a lot to say about a few of our young players," Klopp is quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo. "The problem is that it's not for public [discussion] because they are still young and they are really in a good way. That is why they are completely involved in the training sessions and everything we are doing.
"We are really happy about the situation. One of the reasons why it is so easy for them to use the situation of training with world-class players and improving every day is because they don't have to think about anything else. We try to keep this situation as long as possible."
Klopp changed the club's approach when it came to loan moves for young players when he arrived on Merseyside last October, with fewer now leaving Anfield to learn their trade elsewhere.
The former Borussia Dortmund coach says the youngsters are benefitting from continuity by playing with the same teammates frequently.
"It's good. We spoke a few months ago about how we should change a little bit the second team," Klopp said. "A lot of players needed to stay here and play together in a really good team -- get results, score goals and win games, plus the opportunity to train with us in different moments.
"The other way was to send them on loan at 17 or 18 years. We did this with a few players. That was a decision because of the squad. For example, Ryan Kent [on loan at Barnsley for the 2016-17 season] was really close to the first team, too good for the U23s. We could give him a loan and he looks like a person that could do this. That was an individual decision for him and a few others too.
"To keep a lot of these players here and let them play together was a real decision we made. They are doing really well. If we have to make a decision that a player is not good enough for the Liverpool first team then they need to be good enough for another Premier League club or minimum a Championship club. That is what we have to create, we have to give them the opportunity and that is what we are doing."
Klopp recently suggested that he would always look within the youth ranks as opposed to dipping into the transfer market for a player of similar ability.
He believes clubs are sometimes too quick to write off their youngsters due to the relentless nature of modern football.
"Of course it's cool if we have 10 players from the academy and we make no signing in the transfer window," Klopp said. "I would love to be part of the news conference when I say this: 'No signings this year.' Then it would be: 'But we need this, this, this and this.' I'd say: 'But we have already' and nobody would believe me.
"Once a year I have to listen to all the questions: 'Is he really in a position to play in the first team?' It makes it easier but it's only a thing we have to do. It's kind of an agreement.
"These boys start training pretty early in their lives at Kirkby. We have to deliver the best education on the pitch and next to the pitch that we can. They have to deliver the perfect attitude. They are already skilled. All they do -- except when they are in school --- is invest in football.
"At the end it's our responsibility that they come through a lot more than in the last few years. Why was it easier 20 years ago? I don't know if it was easier. Meanwhile it's really difficult because nobody is really patient any more."
Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.