Adam Lallana has claimed Liverpool always expected to beat Everton in the FA Cup, despite Jurgen Klopp fielding a youthful and inexperienced side.
Curtis Jones’ stunner continued Liverpool’s dominance of Merseyside derbies on Sunday, as Carlo Ancelotti’s team succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at Anfield.
Jones, 18, was one of a number of youth players who started for the Reds, with Klopp resting Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson.
After James Milner went off injured early on, Lallana took over as captain, but the former Southampton midfielder insists Liverpool never lacked belief they would defeat Everton, who have not won at Anfield since 1999.
“It was good but we expected to win. We said before the game that no matter what teamsheet we had, we’re at home, we expect to win,” Lallana told Liverpool’s official website.
“I think it was important that we went out there with that mentality because it’s such a fortress, Anfield, and the young lads are around us experienced players day in, day out in training and it’s why the level is so high because in training we give them good games, we keep them on their toes and I think that absolutely showed out there.
“It’s the mentality that is instilled throughout Liverpool and that started when the manager came in. He wanted to create his own way of playing, his own mentality and you saw that throughout the whole 90 minutes.
“I thought second half we were outstanding, the way we controlled the game, got the goal and they never really caused us any problems.
“Adrian was magnificent in the first half and had to make two or three big saves, but that’s what he’s there for. I thought we fully deserved the win and to get into the next round.”
Everton passed up several golden chances in the first half, but the visitors did not trouble Liverpool after the interval, with Jones’ strike enough to secure progression.
“He’s a confident boy,” Lallana said of the teenager, who made his Premier League debut against Bournemouth in December.
“It’s important he keeps his feet on the ground now after such a high and that he keeps working hard, keeps listening to the manager and keeps learning from all the experienced players that he’s working with day in, day out.
“He’s going to want to obviously play more, but with the injuries we’ve got at the minute it’s important that he’s around us and he’s a big part of the team.”