Liverpool duo slammed after Forest loss in Jude Bellingham comparison

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Liverpool’s young duo of Fabio Carvalho and Curtis Jones have been criticised for the roles they played in Jurgen Klopp’s side losing 1-0 away to Nottingham Forest on Saturday. The Reds fielded an inexperienced midfield, with Fabinho the only player over the age of 22, as ex-Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi got revenge on his former side by scoring the only goal of the game at the City Ground.

Carvalho and Harvey Elliott have played significant minutes this season under Klopp, while Jones was drafted into the midfield at short notice when Thiago was ruled out with an ear infection on the morning of the game.

Liverpool were unable to break down the Forest defence and find a way past Dean Henderson, and former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor believes that two youngsters have to “step it up” following their performances.

“Not really, I don’t think so,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider when asked if the inexperienced midfield was an issue. “When I look back at myself, I made my debut at 19 and played every game week in, week out from 20 onwards. There were other young players, under 21, playing.

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“Look at Jude Bellingham, he’s playing every game at 19 scoring goals and captaining the team. 19, 20 is not young anymore. 17, 18 is young. When you’re 19, 20 or 21 you’re not a youngster anymore, you are expected to be able to cope with first-team football.

“Maybe these players aren’t good enough. Carvalho looks very lightweight and Curtis Jones looks like he likes to do tricks and not influence the game. Harvey Elliott looks like a good player, I like him. Curtis Jones and Carvalho need to step it up because you can’t use that excuse and hide behind being young.”

The young trio were preferred over the experience of Jordan Henderson, who was left on the bench to face Forest. Klopp’s injury woes were evident as he only brought on three substitutes to try and change the game, Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and the returning Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The only other outfield players available to him were Kostas Tsimikas, Bobby Clark, Stefan Bajcetic and Nat Phillips.

While it was Jones’ first start of the season, Carvalho and Elliott have been involved heavily so far in this campaign. Elliott has featured in every Premier League game this season, making seven starts, while Carvalho has missed just one league game and started four times.

Thiago joined Liverpool’s lengthy injury list, perhaps forcing Klopp’s hand in playing so many youngsters this season. He joined Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip, Naby Keita and Arthur Melo on the sidelines as the German boss has struggled with his squad picking up injuries all season.

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