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Milner: Woodburn and Alexander-Arnold “let down” by older players

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The Liverpool vice-captain talks about the half time substitutions of both young players during Saturday’s match.

Stoke City v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Saturday’s trip to the Britannia saw Jürgen Klopp make some eyebrow raising decisions with his starting line-up. With Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, and Sadio Mané all out through injury, as well as Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino only fit to start on the bench, the manager called on some young players to face off against the Potters.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn, two of Liverpool’s most exciting young prospects, both got the nod from Klopp on the day. The first half did not go well for the Reds, and by the half time whistle, they found themselves lucky to only be down 1-0.

The young players were relieved by Coutinho and Firmino to start the second half, and both Brazilians ended up scoring to give Liverpool a 2-1 victory. However, to put the blame for Liverpool’s poor form in the first half on Alexander-Arnold or Woodburn would be terribly unfair, since there were eight senior players — Simon Mignolet being the exception — on the pitch who failed to deliver when Liverpool needed it most.

Vice-captain James Milner agreed, and after the game he said, “I think at this stage of the season every three points is important, especially after going 1-0 down.”

“We didn’t play well in the first half and the two boys coming on (Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino) made a big change for us.

“Nothing against the two young boys who started the game, we probably let them down as senior guys, we didn’t play well and didn’t help them out.”

It would be no easy task for any players to replace the likes of Coutinho and Firmino in the squad, but considering the shoes they were attempting to fill, as well as how little Premier League experience Alexander-Arnold and Woodburn have, both did well enough.