Liverpool’s young players impress as they advance in the FA Cup with a win over Southampton, led by Dann’s double sink.

Estimated read time 5 min read

In their latest feat, Liverpool has progressed to the FA Cup quarter-finals with the help of two 18-year-old players who were originally scheduled to compete against Leeds in the FA Youth Cup semi-final on Thursday. The youngest player in the club’s history also made an appearance in the game. The Liverpool academy continues to strive for a quadruple title.

Lewis Koumas, son of former ­Tranmere and Wales playmaker Jason, and Jayden Danns, son of former Crystal Palace midfielder Neil, scored the goals that booked the Carabao Cup winners a visit to Manchester United in the last eight.

“We haven’t won a trophy, since Sunday afternoon,” sang the Kop after witnessing two 18-year-olds score in the same game for Liverpool for the first time. Not content with winning the first trophy of the season with inexperienced youngsters three days earlier, Jürgen Klopp also introduced 16-year-old Trey Nyoni for his record-breaking FA Cup debut for good measure.

Southampton created more than enough chances to have derailed Klopp’s hopes of finishing his Liverpool reign with another trip to Wembley. But they lacked the quality, conviction and composure in front of goal shown by Koumas on his full Liverpool debut and Danns in scoring his first two goals for his boyhood club.

Klopp likened Liverpool’s young players to Luke Littler, a popular darts player, in reference to their impressive performance. However, he cautioned against excessive praise and urged people to give them space to grow and develop, acknowledging their outstanding abilities.

It is not common for an 18-year-old named Danns to calmly enter a situation and skillfully score a goal. The future does not seem so bleak. It is important to remember this when the transfer window opens. Do not overlook these young players. However, the true hero is Joe Gomez. He saved our team and the young players helped keep us in the running. I have the utmost respect for him.

Gomez played center field with two other teenage players, Bobby Clark and James McConnell, on either side. Due to more players being injured, Klopp had to rely on youth once again, with Ryan Gravenberch and Wataru Endo joining the list. Conor Bradley and Jarell Quansah were also in the starting lineup, while Koumas made his first full appearance on the left as part of Liverpool’s attack.

Southampton’s manager, Russell Martin, made significant alterations to the team out of choice rather than requirement, with the intention of improving the club’s chances of promotion. The decision to rest eight players from the previous match against Millwall may have been met with disapproval, but it was balanced out by the team’s strong performance. This strategy should have resulted in a comfortable lead before Liverpool was able to gain momentum in the game.

Lewis Koumas scores Liverpool’s first goal against Southampton.

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Klopp acknowledged that the beginning of the match was chaotic. He stated, “They attempted to press as I had instructed, but the execution was terrible.”

Unfortunately for Southampton, their player Kamaldeen Sulemana missed an early shot against the base of the post, setting the tone for a night of missed opportunities. Another Southampton player, Sékou Mara, was able to score after only 29 seconds, but it was disallowed due to being offside. Despite this, Mara had another opportunity moments later when he took the ball from McConnell, but his shot was stopped by Liverpool’s goalkeeper.

Joe Rothwell made his way through the area but missed the goal wide. Sulemana had a great chance but was unable to beat Kelleher with his weak finish.

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Liverpool took advantage of the visitors’ wastefulness, with Koumas scoring on his debut in a memorable moment. After receiving a pass from Clark at the corner of the area, the teenager maneuvered past Jack Stephens and scored a low shot that deflected off Jan Bednarek and into the bottom corner. Goalkeeper Joe Lumley was unable to stop it.

Southampton kept generating better chances, but lost momentum in the last 15 minutes and failed to capitalize on them. Sulemana, Bednarek, Joe Aribo and Shea Charles all missed opportunities to tie the game before Liverpool sealed their victory.

It was expected that Liverpool would score again, given the impressive goal and the young age of the scorer. This was a result of a mistake by Southampton’s substitute Will Smallbone, who made an errant pass directly to Harvey Elliott.

Elliott, a relative veteran of this Liverpool team at 20 years of age, released Danns with a perfectly weighted pass and the teenager dinked a superb finish over the advancing Lumley for his first senior goal.

Danns’s second arrived after Lumley parried Bradley’s shot back into the danger zone and the striker reacted quickest to convert into an empty net. “To come on and score at the Kop end is unreal, it doesn’t feel real to me,” said Danns. “It feels like I’m in a movie.”


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