Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has once again hit out at the festive fixture pile-up after James Milner picked up a “serious” injury in the FA Cup win over Everton.
Reds teenager Curtis Jones’ brilliant goal settled the Merseyside derby FA Cup tie as Everton’s woeful run at Anfield continued.
The 1-0 defeat heaped more embarrassment on a virtually full-strength Everton, who failed to beat a side registering nine changes which included two debutants and a third who played 81 minutes after injury to Milner.
But the victory was overshadowed by the injury picked up by Milner, who lasted just nine minutes before being replaced by 19-year-old defender Yasser Larouci.
And Klopp, who has recently criticised the lack of recovery for his players between games, said: “Milner has pain and that is serious. It’s muscle.
“Two players started from the last game and one got injured.
“That’s the situation we are in and that’s why a lot of managers make changes. It’s not to do with the cup, it’s just the timing of the game.”
Liverpool were playing in a fifth different competition in just 27 days and with their inexperienced side weakened further by the early loss of Milner, this represented Everton’s best chance of ending their Anfield drought.
But they wasted that, particularly in the first half with four big chances going begging. Visiting teams rarely get so many opportunities over 90 minutes so Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Mason Holgate will have headed down the tunnel kicking themselves.
Klopp added: “I saw a sensationally good performance from a not-very-experienced team, with a lot players for the first time playing on this stage in front of this crowd and this type of opponent.
“It was outstanding. I loved each second of the game.
“We never take it (the cup) for granted. I would love to see a few people and ask them what they thought about the line-up, and all these bad things about me and the FA Cup and no respect.”