Aston Villa blew Liverpool away at Villa Park last night to book their place in the League Cup semifinals.
The hosts put five goals past the Reds, with the gulf in quality and experience making a huge difference.
With manager Jurgen Klopp and the first-team away in Qatar for the Club World Cup, under-23 boss Neil Critchley was put in charge of a young squad to face Villa.
None of the Liverpool players that featured had been born the last time the Villans won the League Cup in 1996, and despite putting in a brilliant performance, they weren’t able to match their opponents where it mattered most – in front of goal.
Villa manager Dean Smith and his assistant John Terry were in the visitors’ dressing room after the game to encourage the kids, and the Chelsea legend has now taken to social media to send a classy message to them:
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A Good Professional performance from the boys last night. @avfcofficial @jimydanger ⚽️⚽️ @conor_hourihane ⚽️ @wesleymoraes07 ⚽️ Great to see @jameschester23 back playing 👊🏻 Huge congratulations to @liverpoolfc youngsters on their performance last night, some huge talent on show who will learn so much from that game last night which will serve them well in their very bright futures ahead of them. Congratulations to Neil Critchley, Alex Inglethorpe and EVERYONE at Liverpool’s Academy. 👏🏻
Villa captain and centre-back James Chester was also playing for the senior side for the first time since since January 26, and he put in an impressive shift against the young Liverpool team.