Jürgen Klopp reflected on Liverpool’s progression into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals with a penalty shootout victory over Arsenal and admitted: ‘I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun in a football game!’

On a remarkable night at Anfield, a Reds side mixed with youth and experience traded blows with the Gunners in an end-to-end contest, which ended 5-5 after 90 minutes.

In total, Klopp made 11 alterations to his line-up, but they took the lead in the early exchanges when Shkodran Mustafi put Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s low centre through his own net.

Nevertheless, Arsenal were 3-1 in front by the 36th minute through a Lucas Torreira strike and a brace from Gabriel Martinelli.

James Milner’s spot-kick reduced the arrears before the interval; however, Ainsley Maitland-Niles restored the Gunners’ two-goal advantage nine minutes after the restart.

A spirited Liverpool hauled themselves level through efforts from Oxlade-Chamberlain and Divock Origi before the visitors edged back ahead via Joe Willock’s long-range stunner.

Then, in the fourth minute of stoppage-time, debutant Neco Williams’ cross allowed Origi to scoop in a dramatic equaliser and set up a shootout in front of the Kop.

And it would be Curtis Jones who’d have the decisive say, netting to make it 5-4 to his boyhood club and sent them into the last eight after Caoimhin Kelleher had saved from Dani Ceballos.

Afterwards, Klopp offered his reaction to an eventful night at Anfield in his post-match press conference. Read on to see what he had to say…

On the belief and winning mentality all throughout the squad...

I don’t want to take it for granted, to be honest. It happened now a couple of times but it has to always be special – and it was special tonight. I was absolutely convinced we could give them a proper game, so that’s why we decided for that line-up. But, of course, when you are then 3-1 down, we lost two goals. We were 3-1 down and played really good football, but we lost the ball in the wrong moments, we were too open in these moments. You cannot change that in the moment, you have to wait for half-time, so you hope a little bit that it stays 3-1 and then you can change a couple of things. But it was 3-2 at half-time, so that was good. I enjoyed pretty much each second of the game, to be honest. I don’t know when I last had so much fun in a football game. I saw so many really good performances, I was so happy and pleased for the kids obviously, they will remember their first night at Anfield for the rest of their lives and in the end they made it a proper, special football night. Everybody who came tonight to Anfield saw 19 goals, which is pretty special. Really perfect, absolutely perfect.

Yes, maybe as a manager I should think more and worry more about the goals we conceded, but I couldn’t care less, to be honest. I couldn’t care less tonight because the mistakes we made were obvious. For the Willock goal we didn’t make a proper mistake, only a little bit formation-wise, Harvey and Rhian changed a position and Rhian wanted to defend that position and was a bit too wide – that was the space where Willock got the ball and fires the thing into the far end, a really good goal. But all the others we had a big hand in, I would say. But that’s important, for development it’s the most important thing that you react in the the right way. There’s a perfect football game all these boys can play, but a rather difficult game is what we have to make them ready for. It was a difficult football game and they worked their socks off and played their soul on the pitch. I really loved it.

On Jones stepping up to take the fifth penalty and his character...

You need to be born in Liverpool probably to do that. It was not my idea. When I saw the list the last time, Divock was on five and Curtis on four. When I saw the number four coming and it was Divock then I thought, ‘OK, obviously they changed it’. Good situation. Curtis has no issue with self-confidence, he absolutely doesn’t struggle in that department. It’s good. It’s absolutely nice. I cannot say more about it really. I’m really pleased for him, like I am pleased for Caoimhin saving that penalty, pleased for Neco, who played an incredible game and giving the assist to Div’s goal. Caoimhin in general, 90 minutes, being there, conceding five, cannot do a lot in most of the situations – maybe the second, I’m not sure, I think the first one was offside. But how I said, when you lose the balls where we lost them then it’s difficult to defend the counter-attack. Sepp van den Berg, he played an incredible game, but in these situations it’s not easy to defend and then you are a centre-half that concedes five. But stay on track, play football, pass the football and all these things, that’s the most important thing – and I really liked that.

On Naby Keita, who was substituted off in the 55th minute...

The only little shadow on the night. We are not sure. He slipped, I saw that, and afterwards he was limping a little. We have to see. Hopefully not too serious.

On whether Jones would have been disappointed not to have started the game…

That would now be really crazy if I would worry about an 18 or 19-year-old boy who doesn’t start a game and is disappointed. Probably he was, but after the game, and I’ve already told him, it’s really more important to be decisive as long as you’re on the pitch. Not who starts, who finishes the game and stuff like this. You have to do the right things when you’re on the pitch. I am not sure if he was disappointed, you’d have to ask him, but that’s nothing I worry about because it is all part of the development. These boys, especially these extraordinary boys, they have 95 or 96 per cent positive experiences in their career until they face the reality of adult football. I cannot change the world, but what I can do is try to prepare them as good as possible. If he was disappointed, OK, it’s not nice as a human being, but he didn’t show it on the pitch and that’s the most important thing.

On Harvey Elliott’s performance…

It is easy to be convinced about him when you see him train. He is exceptionally talented, absolutely, and he’s a nice kid as well. To see him how he encouraged the crowd at the corners… I had a couple of moments when I was really touched tonight, to be honest. That’s really cool. When I was already in the dressing room [after the game], I saw on the TV screen that he is still doing his lap of honour and giving pretty much everything away, it was just too nice! What can I say? For tonight, we speak about them as long and as often as you want, it’s great, but they all have to work. The younger you are, the longer your career will be and you have to be prepared for that. To give these kind of signs they gave tonight, it was nice for the people out there. On the bench there were a few really, really good talents [too], to be honest. I liked it a lot. Yes, he played really well, not like you would expect a 16-year-old boy to play and that’s cool.

On when Liverpool will play the Carabao Cup quarter-final due to their involvement in the FIFA Club World Cup…

I am not concerned, somebody else has to be concerned because we didn’t make the fixtures, we didn’t make the schedule. I said it already outside in a TV interview that FIFA said the Club World Cup would be there [Qatar] and we have to go there, so we do. The Premier League tells us we have to play the Premier League, which we do obviously. And [play] the Carabao Cup, which we did tonight, and if they don’t find an appropriate place for us, not 3am on Christmas Day, then we don’t play it. They have to make that. You have to think about these things. If you have a fixture list where one team cannot be part of all of the games, then you have to think about the fixture list. Hopefully it starts at one point, hopefully it starts now. I really think it is fair this problem is obvious now, but we will not be the victim of this problem. We played tonight, we wanted to win, we did that and if they don’t find a proper date for us, then we cannot play the next round, so whoever is our opponent will go through or Arsenal plays and I cannot change that. We ignore that problem completely for tonight. I think a lot of people from the Premier League were sitting in front of the television hoping Arsenal can do it but, I’m sorry!

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