'They're not Luke Littler' - Klopp on Liverpool youngsters

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Jurgen Klopp and 16-year-old Liverpool midfielder Trey NyoniTrey Nyoni, 16, made his debut for Liverpool in the FA Cup win against Southampton

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has moved to take the pressure of his young stars by saying "nobody is Luke Littler".

Lewis Koumas and Jayden Danns, both 18, scored against the Saints.

"I don't feel that, I know that," said Klopp when asked if he had to protect his young players.

"You [the media] are all not ready to do it so somebody has to ask for it. Nobody is Luke Littler.

"What could disturb a career for a young prospect is always one part of it.

"It was wonderful, they deserve it, the spotlight was on them that night [against Southampton].

"You don't live on the planet if you don't see how special the story was but, besides that, the next challenge is now how to deal with all the things coming up.

"These boys are fantastic in that department as well. Really down to earth and grounded, all that is absolutely fine."

Klopp has had to use his youngsters because of the club's lengthy injury list and they helped the Reds beat Chelsea in the EFL Cup final last Sunday before the victory over Southampton.

Bobby Clark and James McConnell, who are 19, and Danns, played in both games, while Koumas, Trey Nyoni, 16, and 19-year-old Kaide Gordon featured against Southampton.

Jarell Quansah, who is 21, and Conor Bradley, 20, have become regulars in the team this season while Harvey Elliott, 20, has made more than 100 appearances for the club.

Liverpool had a staff picture taken on Thursday that included all the academy staff because Klopp "wanted everyone to feel and understand the role they played in that whole story".

Klopp is stepping down at the end of the season and was asked if the impact of the young players would make it tougher to step down at the end of the season.

"I love the more senior players as well, I will miss them as well," he said.

"Seeing the young boys coming through just gives me a very good feeling for the future of the club, which is more important than anything.

"I will miss them and follow them but it is about what is right and that's why I will do it and not because I don't like some players and want to leave because of that.

"But now they are young players I like them more and I should stay because of that - it's not like that, definitely not."

Liverpool go into Saturday's trip to Nottingham Forest top of the Premier League table, a point in front of Manchester City and two clear of Arsenal.

Forward Darwin Nunez and midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai are back in training, while midfielder Wataru Endo and left-back Andy Robertson are expected to return on Friday.

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