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FA Cup 2016: Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp ready to risk playing youth side against Exeter City

Juergen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, admits he must risk a shock elimination from the FA Cup due to the club's injury crisis as he dismissed any suggestion he was disrespecting the competition.

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Klopp will select an inexperienced, youthful side in the third-round tie at Exeter City on Saturday morning (AEDT), well aware of the consequences should Liverpool go out to the League Two side.

Philippe Coutinho is out for a month with a hamstring injury, and with Dejan Lovren joining Kolo Toure, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho on the sidelines Klopp has no fit centre-halves.

On the ball: Jurgen Klopp kicks the ball to Philippe Coutinho during the match against Sunderland on December 30.
On the ball: Jurgen Klopp kicks the ball to Philippe Coutinho during the match against Sunderland on December 30. Photo: AP

Jose Enrique, an isolated figure at the club for months, is set for his first game of the season at centre-back.

Asked what side he would select, Klopp said: "Very young. None of the players who played the last five or six games in a row will play at Exeter. That is not possible. Then we can try and make a team. It is not easy, but we will try and find one.

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"The team that plays will want to win 100 per cent but it is true that it won't be a team that has played together often. Our squad is big with all the young players and we have to use this quality now."

Klopp can foresee the criticism that will come his way if a weakened team succumb to lower league opposition, but says he must think longer-term, especially with games against Arsenal and Manchester United on the horizon.

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"We respect the FA Cup," said Klopp. "That is one reason for the team we will play. If someone is not interested in my situation, how can I be interested in their opinion? We have the situation that we have. We cannot play with Phil Coutinho - he cannot play for 3½ weeks.

"There is only one team in the Premier League who has the same schedule of fixtures that we have and that is Tottenham, but they were out of the Capital One Cup.

"If we had not played on Tuesday then Phil and Dejan are still in the race and we have something like a normal situation. But Martin Skrtel is still injured, Mamadou Sakho is in an unlucky situation. That has nothing to do with the intensity of games.

"Phil had a problem with a hamstring a few weeks ago. Jordon Ibe was ill. Christian Benteke had a problem with his Achilles. If we could have changed players more often then no one would have had this intensity but you cannot have 40 or 50 players."

Should Enrique feature it would complete an astounding return to favour after he was told last summer he would not play for the club again. The change of manager offered the chance for a fresh start, but he has been injured since Klopp took over. He started playing again recently for Liverpool's Under-21 side.

"He played earlier this week as a full-back for 90 minutes," said Klopp. "But we don't have too many centre-backs, so it is an idea. We have to see. In this game we could need his experience."

More likely starters are the likes of Connor Randall, Brad Smith, Joao Teixeira and Cameron Brannagan, who have all experienced Capital One Cup or Europa League football this season.

A source of frustration for Klopp is expensive Liverpool recruit Lazar Markovic is on loan overseas in a deal that cannot be cancelled mid-season. Klopp must instead cancel domestic loans, welcoming Ryan Kent, Sheyi Ojo and Tiago Ilori into his squad.

The Telegraph , London

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