Liverpool were forced to come from behind twice as they grabbed a 2-2 draw at Exeter in the FA Cup third round on Friday night.
Jurgen Klopp fielded one of the most inexperienced Liverpool sides in living memory with only Christian Benteke considered a regular first teamer as the German coach handed three youngsters their debuts at St James Park.
Tiago Ilori, Kevin Stewart and Ryan Kent were all given their senior bows as Klopp made 11 changes to the side that won at Stoke in midweek and named a starting line-up with just 135 appearances between them.
Liverpool had never previously lost to fourth-tier opposition in their history, but they came within 18 minutes of exiting in the third round.
Tom Nichols and Lee Holmes had twice given Sky Bet League Two Exeter the lead
Jerome Sinclair had cancelled out Nichols’ opener and then Brad Smith fired home to deny Exeter – 76 league places below Liverpool – a famous victory.
Liverpool’s injury list meant changes were inevitable after their victory at Stoke three days earlier, especially with Barclays Premier League leaders Arsenal due at Anfield next Wednesday.
Klopp was without 13 players – seven of them with hamstring problems – and in the event he changed the entire team with Tiago Ilori, Kevin Stewart and Ryan Kent making senior debuts for a side which only had 34 Liverpool appearances between them in total this season.
Christian Benteke provided some seniority up front and the experienced Jose Enrique featured for the first time since an FA Cup tie against Bolton last January.