LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) – A stunning strike from 18-year-old Curtis Jones gave a youthful Liverpool a 1-0 win over Everton in their FA Cup, third round tie at Anfield on Sunday.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp made nine changes to his side, giving starts to three teenagers, while his Italian counterpart Carlo Ancelotti opted for a largely full-strength Everton lineup.
The gulf in experience between the two sides was barely evident, however, and will simply add to the pain for Everton, who are without a win at Anfield since September 1999.
For Liverpool it was a performance which illustrated the talent coming through the production line at their Melwood training ground.
For local-born academy product Jones, it was a game he will never forget, delivering his first senior goal in a Merseyside derby.
“I can’t sum up my emotions. For me it’s huge just being around this team every day and learning from this group of players. There are world-class players all over this team but I think I went out and showed what I could do on the pitch,” he said.
Everton should have gone at the break with a lead with Liverpool keeper Adrian foiling goalbound efforts from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Mason Holgate and Richarlison in the first half.
Ancelotti will be disappointed that on each of those occassions his players aimed straight at the Spanish keeper but having failed to capitalise, worse was to come.
Klopp was visibly appreciating the sight of his youngsters buzzing around the field playing enterprising football with the German raising his arms in applause as teenagers Neco Williams, Harvey Elliott and Jones showed they are well-drilled in the Liverpool method.
Jones delivered the killer blow in the 71st minute when after a swift exchange with Divock Origi he unleashed a superb curling effort into the top corner, leaving Everton without a win against their rivals since October 2010.
“They played brave football. Unbelievable individual performances from the kids and the adults as well,” said Klopp.
“Sensational game and a sensational goal from a Scouser – who could ask for more?”