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Klopp optimistic about future

Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool's future is in safe hands despite his youngsters suffering a painful lesson at Swansea.

Klopp named the youngest starting line-up in Liverpool's Premier League history as he took the opportunity to rest key personnel ahead of Thursday's Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal.

Spanish midfielder Pedro Chirivella made his league debut and there were also starts for fellow teenager Sheyi Ojo, Brad Smith and second-choice goalkeeper Danny Ward, as Klopp sent out a side with an average age of 23 years and 218 days.

But it proved a tough afternoon for Liverpool with the ineffective Chirivella replaced at half-time and Smith sent off in the second half for two bookable offences.

"I can't change my mind every two days like you can (about the strength of the squad)," manager Klopp said after making eight changes from the side which lost 1-0 to Villarreal in Spain last week.

"After Bournemouth, after Stoke, after these games, everybody said 'oh my God, how good are these young players?'

"They are good, but that is how it is - life as a professional football player is not always a honeymoon.

"You have to prove, you have to deliver. It did not work too well, but it is not a problem for the future, it is only a problem for today.

"A result or a game like this would only be completely senseless if you do not use the information for the future - and that's what we will do for sure.

"It's not about the squad or something, it's only about this performance."

Swansea's win inflicted successive defeats on Klopp for the first time in his seven months at Liverpool.

But Klopp insists his side are fine ahead of the Villarreal return at Anfield and a game which could define their season.

"Maybe this performance was influenced by the number of games we have had," he said.

"I'm not too much interested in that because I can't change it, but hopefully we have influence on the number of games we will have in the future.

"Ten days ago we were in brilliant shape and now we are not in bad shape."

Swansea's first win over Liverpool after five straight defeats preserved their top-flight status and ensured a sixth season of Premier League football.

It has been a turbulent campaign for Swansea, with Garry Monk sacked in December and Alan Curtis taking interim charge before Francesco Guidolin was appointed in January.

Guidolin's reign is set to be a short one as Swansea, who are currently in takeover talks with an American consortium, are expected to appoint a new manager this summer.

But midfielder Jack Cork believes the club can kick on, whoever is in charge next season.

"It's nice to get it (safety) mathematically done," said Cork after scoring his second goal in 49 Swansea appearances against Liverpool.

"Considering how tough the season's been it's great to do it with two games left.

"But if you look at our results since January we've been playing really well.

"We've had some good results and if we can maybe add a couple more players to this group then I think we'll be fine.

"Against the bigger teams we've done similar to what we did last year, and maybe one target next season would be to get more points from the teams around us."

Liverpool defender suspended for 30 days

Mamadou Sakho failed a drugs test. Credit: PA

Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho has been suspended for 30 days after Uefa opened disciplinary proceedings against him following a doping violation, European football's governing body has announced.

The France failed a drugs test after his side's Europa League clash with Manchester United.

The Liverpool defender decided not to have his B sample tested in relation to the doping violation and has now been provisionally suspended for 30 days by European football's governing body.

Disciplinary proceedings have been instigated against Liverpool FC player Mamadou Sakho, following the Uefa Europa League round of 16 second-leg match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC (1-1), played on March 17.

The proceedings relate to a violation of the Uefa anti-doping regulations, after the player failed a doping test at the above-mentioned match.

The player did not request the analysis of the B sample. Uefa has now suspended the player provisionally for 30 days until a final decision is taken by the Uefa control, ethics and disciplinary body.

The date of the disciplinary hearing will be announced at a later stage.

– Uefa statement


Villarreal boss confident of beating Liverpool

Villarreal manager Marcelino insists his side are more than equal to Europa League favourites Liverpool and hopes the visitors "suffer" at El Madrigal.

The Reds' dramatic win to put out Borussia Dortmund in the last round immediately made Jurgen Klopp's team top of the betting to lift the trophy in Basle next month.

Marcelino believes Villarreal are a match for Liverpool. Credit: PA

But Marcelino believes Villarreal, fourth in La Liga but 20 points behind third-placed Real Madrid, are a match.

"Liverpool might be the favourite - the club, their history and the fact that they knocked out Borussia Dortmund all add up - but we don't consider ourselves to be less than them," he told a press conference ahead of their semi-final first leg.

"We are going to give everything from our side to eliminate this legendary team.

"We don't have any pressure on us. I'm really satisfied with and grateful to this squad for getting to this semi-final.

"We are very hopeful and convinced that we are capable of beating Liverpool, and all the while we'll be enjoying the occasion.

"I felt more pressure in the previous knockout ties. We have the chance to make history at this club now.

"If we manage to enjoy the match and do the things we know how to do I think they're going to suffer a lot at our ground."

Liverpool defender won't challenge drug test results

Sakho is unlikely to play again this season. Credit: PA

Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho has decided not to challenge the results of his failed drugs test.

The France international opted not to request his B sample be tested ahead of Tuesday's deadline after his initial test revealed traces of a fat-burning substance.

The France international was left out of Saturday's draw with Newcastle after it emerged UEFA has flagged up an apparent anti-doping violation relating to a banned substance as a result of a test following the Europa League tie at Manchester United last month.

Liverpool have refused to comment on Sakho's situation as allegations relate to the player only and they are unlikely to change this stance until the defender and UEFA have resolved the matter.

Sakho was not on the team's flight on Wednesday lunchtime for their Europa League semi-final first leg in Villarreal as it is understood the club and the player have jointly agreed he will remain unavailable for selection during this process.

Liverpool set to find out exactly how much Ings cost

Ings's fee is set to be decided this week. Credit: PA

Liverpool could this week finally discover how much compensation they are due to pay Burnley for England international Danny Ings.

The 23-year-old striker moved to Anfield from Turf Moor at the expiration of his contract last summer but, because of his age, the Clarets are due a fee for a player who spent four years with them and who scored 11 goals in their top-flight campaign last term.

Although Ings signed for the Reds in June, the two north-west clubs have been unable to reach a compromise on his valuation in the 10 months since so the chief executives from both clubs, Liverpool's Ian Ayre and Burnley's Dave Baldwin, will meet with a independent board for a tribunal in Manchester on Tuesday to determine his worth.

The Clarets are hoping for a figure greater than the £6.5million Chelsea were made to cough up to bring Daniel Sturridge from Manchester City in 2009, which remains a record for a fee decided at a tribunal.

Speaking recently at a fans' forum about Ings' situation, Baldwin said: "The reason it is different to the ordinary is this tribunal claim will be the biggest in history. The key to this was that we bring the claim against Liverpool, therefore we had to prepare an extremely robust case.

"You're talking a documentation bundle of probably in excess of 400 or 500 pages with witness statements, evidence, analytics about player performance, the statement as to why we make a judgement as to what we believe the player is worth, compared to what Liverpool want to offer."


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