5 Liverpool youngsters Jurgen Klopp should play against Sparta Prague

Even the most pessimistic Liverpool fan will probably accept that the Reds have booked their spot in the Europa League quarter-final.

Jurgen Klopp’s side boast a 5-1 last 16 first leg lead against Sparta Prague, with the second fixture against the Czech champions coming this Thursday at Anfield. To say the Reds have one foot in the last eight would be an understatement.

With a mouth-watering trip to Old Trafford to face rivals Manchester United in the quarter-final of the FA Cup this Sunday and an exhausting title clash with Manchester City having just been and gone, Klopp could do with resting some of his key first-teamers in midweek.

With such a handsome aggregate lead, that shouldn’t be an issue. Liverpool’s exciting academy prospects will get another run out in front of the Kop this Thursday, with Klopp having trusted his youngsters in far more significant fixtures already this season.

But which striplings should the Liverpool boss call on against Sparta?

Jarell QuansahJarell Quansah

Quansah was impressive against Man City / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

Given how impressively and maturely he performed against Man City last Sunday after replacing the injured Ibrahima Konate, it feels harsh to label Jarell Quansah as one of Liverpool’s youngsters. But the centre-back is just 21 years old and has a mere six Premier League starts to his name, keeping out Erling Haaland in his most recent one.

Klopp has hinted that Konate could be available for the weekend clash with Man Utd in the FA Cup, with Quansah needed to fill in for the Frenchman again on Thursday. The Warrington-born defender has started five of seven Europa League games this term, and will be handed some more valuable European minutes against Sparta.

James McConnellJames McConnell

The youngster has played as a holding midfielder / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

James McConnell has already proven himself to be a classy operator in a defensive midfield role for Liverpool, showing great composure in possession for the Reds. The 19-year-old was impressive off the bench in the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea, also managing his first senior assist with a wonderful lofted cross during the 5-2 victory over Norwich City back in late January.

With Wataru Endo and Alexis Mac Allister likely to be bubble wrapped this Thursday as Klopp looks to protect them for the trip to Old Trafford, McConnell should make his third Europa League appearance despite not featuring in the reverse fixture.

Jurgen Klopp, Bobby ClarkJurgen Klopp, Bobby Clark

Clark has been mightily impressive in a Liverpool shirt / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

Another of Liverpool’s young Carabao Cup winners, Bobby Clark has been mightily impressive since being thrust into the first team by Klopp. The Reds manager showed his faith in the midfielder by bringing him on against Arsenal in the FA Cup back in January with the game goalless at the Emirates Stadium, and the 19-year-old instantly looked comfortable on the big stage.

Son of former Newcastle United player Lee Clark, the teenager will get some more minutes under his belt on Thursday having played 25 minutes from the bench in the first leg. Clark also earned his first Premier League start against Nottingham Forest in early March, and has shown great poise, determination and intelligence given his inexperience.


Koumas made the dream debut in the FA Cup / PAUL ELLIS/GettyImages

Lewis Koumas couldn’t have made a better start to his Liverpool career, netting just 44 minutes into his debut against Southampton in this season’s FA Cup. The 18-year-old played with plenty of confidence in front of the Anfield crowd against the Saints and was rewarded for his bravery with a well-taken goal – even if there was a minor deflection.

The left winger could offer the indefatigable Luis Diaz a rest this Thursday, with the Wales Under-19 international having been an unused substitute in Prague last week. He’ll be aiming to make his second Liverpool outing as memorable as his first.

Jayden DannsJayden Danns

The forward has been prolific for Liverpool’s youth teams / Alex Livesey – Danehouse/GettyImages

Much like the rest of Liverpool’s starlets, Jayden Danns made a pretty quick start to life in the first team. The striker helped set up Harvey Elliott’s fourth against Luton Town on his debut, could have scored in the Carabao Cup final and then bagged a beautiful brace in his first start against Southampton.

The 18-year-old local lad has looked a class act since bursting on to the scene, with his delicate dinked effort in the FA Cup perhaps a sign of things to come. The forward missed the first leg with a concussion sustained from the bench against Forest in the Premier League, but he will be desperate to play a part against Sparta this Thursday.


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