James Milner scored one and set up another for Ki-Jana Hoever as Liverpool won 2-0 at MK Dons in the Carabao Cup third round
With a sprinkling of gifted youths on a spine of trusty stalwarts, Liverpool cruised past MK Dons and set up a fourth-round showdown with Arsenal. James Milner opened the scoring for the visitors before helping to double Liverpools lead by creating a goal for a player nearly half his age, 17-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever.
The visit of the Premier League leaders attracted a record home crowd for an MK Dons match, an attendance of nearly 29,000 representing an increase of more than 300% on the turn-out for their last match here, the 1-0 defeat against Southend on Saturday. So chants of Youre only here to see the European champions would hardly have been misplaced, except that none of the players who started last seasons Champions League final made the trip to Buckinghamshire. Instead, and notwithstanding the presence of six distinguished senior players, this was more like a preview of Liverpools future, with five of the clubs most exciting youngsters given their first starts.
Never had a player as young as Harvey Elliott age 16 years and 174 days begun a competitive match for Liverpools senior team. Here the prodigy made his first appearance since joining in the summer from Fulham, with whom he made history last season by becoming the youngest player to feature for anyone in this competition. He shone here and could have scored but twice struck shots against the crossbar.
Elliott was the most eye-catching of the teenagers in Liverpools front three, but 18-year-old Curtis Jones also impressed, while 19-year-old Rhian Brewster made less of an impact even if his movement hinted at the potential that he is known to have. Jrgen Klopp was eager to praise another of the debutants, 20-year-old Caoimhn Kelleher, who made an excellent late save to deny Jordan Bowery.