REUTERS – Manager Juergen Klopp was all smiles after his much-changed Liverpool side secured the first win of his tenure by defeating Bournemouth 1-0 in the League Cup on Wednesday night.
Liverpool had drawn the German’s three previous games in charge and Klopp declared himself satisfied with the result after his team sealed a narrow victory thanks to full-back Nathaniel Clyne’s 17th minute goal.
The manager rang the changes for the game, handing Cameron Brannagan, Connor Randall and Joao Carlos Teixeira their first senior starts, with stand-in goalkeeper Adam Bogdan and Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino also impressing.
“I feel much better than after a draw,” Klopp said.
“But I don’t think the other games were so much worse than today — of course, the result is the biggest difference and we did well tonight.
“We didn’t have any real experience together, so I’m really satisfied — the boys did really well.”
Liverpool scored when Clyne, switched to left-back to accommodate Randall on the right, followed up Teixeira’s backheel and swept the ball home after the young Portuguese midfielder had been released by Firmino.
“We made a fantastic goal — Teixeira in the box and Clyne with him close enough, two boys from the left wing in the box because we had the space for it. That’s really good, that’s what we want. It’s the next step,” the manager said.
Striker Christian Benteke, who missed the game with a knee injury, is likely to return when the Merseyside club travel to Stamford Bridge to take on champions Chelsea on Saturday.
Klopp has faced an injury crisis since taking charge, particularly in the striking department.
Danny Ings is out for the season with a ruptured cruciate ligament, while Daniel Sturridge has not featured under Klopp due to a knee injury.
Benteke has played twice under the new manager, coming on as a late substitute against Rubin Kazan in the Europa League and starting the second half of the 1-1 draw with Southampton on Sunday.
“I think Christian will be fit on Saturday. He had little problems and with our ‘striker situation’ we can’t take a risk,” Klopp said.
“Divock (Origi) played again and he did well — he worked really hard. But I think Christian will be back.”
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)