Teenager Jayden Danns called it “the best day of my life” after scoring twice off the bench as Liverpool beat Southampton to set up an FA Cup quarter-final tie with Manchester United.

There was also a dream debut for Danns’ fellow 18-year-old Lewis Koumas, who opened the scoring at Anfield when he collected Bobby Clark’s pass and found the bottom corner with a shot that deflected off Saints captain Jack Stephens a minute before the break.

After replacing Koumas in the second half, Danns ran on to Harvey Elliott’s pass to score with a lovely dinked finish in front of the Kop.

He struck again two minutes from time, thumping the ball home after Southampton goalkeeper Joe Lumley had parried Conor Bradley’s shot into his path.

“I couldn’t be happier today. Today is the best day of my life,” Danns told Media Sport.

“I’ve watched Liverpool since I was a young boy and to score at the Kop End is more than a dream. I couldn’t be happier.”

With injuries to a host of first-team players, Jurgen Klopp named six players aged 21 or younger in his starting XI and, just as in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, the youngsters did not let him down.

Southampton had a host of chances in the first half, but having failed to make them count they were punished by Koumas late in the half.

The visitors had further opportunities to level in the second period but remained profligate in front of goal.

Again they were made to pay, this time by Danns, who was making just his third Liverpool appearance after debuting against Luton last week.

“In the Carabao Cup final I had a couple of opportunities to score, so I came into today thinking ‘bury the next one’,” Danns added.

“I couldn’t describe it [what it feels like to celebrate in front of the Kop]. It is a dream come true. The first thing I thought was to slide on my knees. It was an unbelievable experience.”

While Liverpool remain in contention for a quadruple, and can look forward to a mouth-watering meeting at Old Trafford in the last eight, Russell Martin’s Saints can now give their full attention to trying to earn promotion back to the Premier League.

Klopp’s kids keep quadruple hopes alive

After their Wembley heroics at the weekend, for much of the first 45 minutes, this looked like a game too far for an injury-hit Liverpool as their younger players struggled to make an impact.

Southampton had also made eight changes from their home loss to Millwall at the weekend but remained committed to their usual approach, cutting through the hosts on a number of occasions with their attractive passing game.

However, the finishing let them down as Sekou Mara was twice denied by Caoimhin Kelleher when well placed, while Kamaldeen Sulemana hit the post.

Liverpool were hanging on but a moment of quality, plus some good fortune, gave them the lead on the stroke of half-time.

Clark found Koumas with an incisive pass and the latter – son of former Wales international Jason – moved across the edge of the box before seeing his shot deflected in.

The goal gave the hosts more confidence and they were much more imposing after the break, although the visitors still had chances. Shea Charles missed the best of them when he scuffed his shot wide after being left completely unmarked at the back post at a corner.

It was then over to Danns, who showed composure beyond his years to lift the ball over Lumley for his first after Will Smallbone had lost possession in his own half.

When he hammered in his second, at 18 years and 43 days, the striker became the youngest Liverpool player to score two or more in a game since Michael Owen scored a hat-trick against Grimsby in November 1997.

Kesh Awefada

Kesh Awefada

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