Jurgen Klopp won two Bundesliga titles as Borussia Dortmund manager but the quality most appreciated by the German club was his ability to turn talented youngsters into first-team stars.
He did it with Mats Hummels, he did it with Mario Gotze, and now he is doing the very same thing with Liverpool's budding young starlets.
The German coach surprised many by starting fledglings Kevin Stewart and Sheyi Ojo in Sunday's game against Stoke City, both of whom impressed. Ojo assisted Daniel Sturridge's second goal while Stewart was solid throughout a 90-minute full debut.
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It seems that under Klopp, if you are good enough, you are old enough and he has now confirmed that two other Liverpool academy stars can accept their chance to impress in the Premier League if they keep up their good work.
Klopp admitted that he was glad he was able to give both Ojo and Stewart a chance but was quick to say that both Pedro Chirivella and Cameron Brannagan are equally deserving of some first-team action.
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More chances to come
He told reporters: “It was really good we could give them the opportunity. They both deserved it. A lot of other players, to be honest, of the young lads, deserved it. Like Pedro Chirivella, Cameron Brannagan, they are all in a really good way. So that’s cool.
“We saw Kevin had two difficult moments, the first two passes didn’t reach the target. So of course you get nervous in a moment like this. But he got back into the game with heart, smart challenges and really good positioning.
“The same for Ojo. It’s important. It’s more important than if he had played a perfect game. Then they would have set a level and everyone would be waiting for it.
“Ojo is a good boy, with a way to go. But no problem. But then after two or three good moments on the right wing, doing that on the left-wing, the dribbling and the cross, it was really brilliant. Daniel finished perfectly."
Young stars shining under Klopp
Another starlet to have shined under the tutelage of Klopp is Divock Origi. The Belgian striker, 20, had seen his credentials questioned by both fans and pundits early in the season but is starting to come good. A goal against Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League was quickly followed with a second-half brace against Stoke.
Klopp believes his recent gains in the gym have helped him cope with the rigours of English football.
He said: “He is still a very young player and coming here, he knows everybody’s expectations are very high because he is a highly-rated striker. He had a lot of little injuries. When I came here he was not fit and afterwards he had one or two small things.
“Now the most important thing for him is to stay fit. In the last injury, he used it for a little bit of body strength as everyone can see. Now he has to wear another shirt and another kit!
“I’m not sure if it was five kilos [of muscle], but it was a little bit more. If he’d done the same training, nothing would happen – you need to be a talent and he is that, obviously. He is in a good way."
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