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Klopp: Woodburn Is Ready to Start a Game

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Jürgen Klopp hailed the 17-year-old's mentality ahead of the EFL Cup quarter final against Leeds United.

Tranmere Rovers v Liverpool - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Could Ben Woodburn start against Leeds United in the EFL Cup? The young attacker made his debut against Sunderland on Saturday and has attracted praise from Jürgen Klopp. Liverpool's manager has often spoken about the mentality and attitude of players as much as their quality, and Woodburn may find himself with a few more first team experiences if he keeps impressing the manager.

“I think Ben is mentally ready to start a game,” Klopp said. “At that moment I thought it was a good idea (to play against Sunderland), he deserved it and I thought ‘Come on, let’s go’. It was only a few minutes. He was ready for it.

“It was only after the game that I remembered it’s now really difficult to keep him back again, not for Ben or for me, but for the public. We’ve shown him the Premier League for the first time but the best news for him is there is so much time for him to improve and develop and we will help him.”

This sounds like a healthy serving of praise for a 17-year-old before he makes his full first-team debut for one of Europe's most successful clubs. Woodburn could be a number of changes as Klopp shuffles his pack, but making successive matchday squads would be a sign of progress for the Academy product. As always, Klopp is thinking positively about promoting promising young talent.

“He’s a very, very promising player and we want to use him as early as possible,” said Klopp. “There is no decision on when that will be, not because I’m not happy with the development but because I have not decided on the line-up.

“He and a few others guys are in a really good way and sometimes we have to show that when they have earned something they will get something back.

“The work in the Academy is really good at this moment, there is a lot of promising stuff happening, and we like to have the opportunity to show them that we have seen it.”

Alberto Moreno and Trent Alexander-Arnold could give Liverpool's first-choice fullbacks time to focus on the trip to Bournemouth, but there could be opportunities for Kevin Stewart, Ovie Ejaria, and Marko Grujić in midfield. Divock Origi—the saviour against Sunderland—is certain to start. Woodburn is clearly in the thoughts of the manager and could be one to watch on a Tuesday evening at Anfield.