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Liverpool’s squad vs. MK Dons features 9 players yet to debut for the Reds

Liverpool’s squad for tonight’s League Cup third-round tie at MK Dons has a very youthful look to it, featuring nine players who have yet to make their debut for the club.

We already knew that goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher and forward Rhian Brewster were in line for their first appearances for the club, but they are joined by a host of other youngsters in the travelling squad.

Adam Lewis is in the squad and should get the nod at left-back, with Yasser Laroucci not included due to injury.

That trio will be joined by Ki-Jana Hoever, Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, James Milner, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones in the likely starting XI.

Exciting winger Harvey Elliott could get his debut for the club and is a possibility to start, but likely will replace Keita in the second half as the Guinean works back to full fitness.

Midfielder Herbie Kane, who excelled on loan at Doncaster Rovers last season, is in the squad, and so too is summer signing Sepp van den Berg.

There’s also involvement for Spanish midfielder Pedro Chirivella, who last appeared for the first-team in May 2016.

ST HELENS, ENGLAND - Monday, January 21, 2019: Liverpool's Luis Longstaff during the FA Youth Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool FC and Accrington Stanley FC at Langtree Park. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

18-year-old midfield duo Luis Longstaff and Leighton Clarkson are the surprise names in the squad, with each impressing staff when training with the seniors at Melwood in recent weeks.

Finally, goalkeeper Andy Lonergan – certainly not a youngster! – is the other yet to debut who is in the squad and will be on the bench.

Speaking at the Reds’ pre-match press conference on Tuesday, assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders explained how “our club is about creating this culture” for young players to have a pathway to the first team.

“I think it’s really important to have an inside pathway, to promote young players, to give them opportunities,” he said.

“But I don’t believe in just giving opportunities, it has to be the right opportunity at the right time with the right players.”

Lijnders spoke of the importance of young players also having experienced senior pros around them, which will be the case tonight with the likes of Lovren, Milner, Lallana and Oxlade-Chamberlain set to start.

Likely Liverpool starting XI: Kelleher, Hoever, Gomez, Lovren, Lewis, Lallana, Milner, Keita, Oxlade, Brewster, Jones

Subs: Lonergan, Chirivella, Elliott, Kane, Van den Berg, Longstaff, Clarkson


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