Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp praised goalkeeper Shamal George after the youngster played as a striker in the 2-0 win at Huddersfield on Wednesday night.
The 18-year-old from the Wirral was handed a rare chance as a forward after Lucas Leiva picked up a hamstring injury during the second half of the Reds’ friendly win at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Having used all of his outfield substitutes, Klopp had been preparing to play the rest of the game with 10 men before turning to George – sending him on up front for the final 23 minutes.
“I was watching the game and organising the system with 10 and then they came and said ‘Come on, we have Shamal’ so we changed it,” said Klopp.
“We played a strange formation with Shamal as a striker but he did wonderfully!”
But it was midfielder Marko Grujic, only just turned 20, who impressed the most in central midfield and scored for the second successive pre-season game, rifling home Sadio Mane’s cross after the forward had been sent free down the right by Dejan Lovren.
The second half was somewhat surreal with play briefly halted by a drone which appeared over the pitch before, George entered the fray and almost set up Lazar Markovic with his first touch.
When Liverpool won an 89th-minute penalty the away fans chanted for George to take it but Alberto Moreno assumed responsibility and scored.
“The game was difficult. The first half we should have scored more,” added Klopp.
“We missed a penalty and had a few big chances and played some wonderful combinations so it was really good.
“But I was not too happy with the concentration level in the first 20 minutes.
“I said to the boys it was not bad but if we trust a little bit too much in our skills than a team performance it is not the best decision to make.”
On the decision not to allow George to take the penalty, Klopp said: “Even though it doesn’t look like it all the time these games are quite serious – we don’t want to make joke games.
“It is nice when the crowd calls it in but at 1-0 in no game in the world should you make a ‘funny’ decision.
“If it is 4-0 or 5-0 you can think about it but even then it is a lack of respect for the opponent.”