This is generally going to be something that follows the fixture list of the Next Gen Series, but as there haven’t been any matches since mid-August, I’ll take the opportunity to give a brief run through some of the younger lads in the Academy.
In an up and down few weeks for the Liverpool youngsters, there have been several positives, particularly among the Under-18 players. In what are two young generations at both levels, the learning curve has been steep to adapt to, with Rodolfo Borrell firstly introducing the young crop of players, who have since made the step up to reserve level, at Under-18 level then taking a lot of them with him to the Reserves. Many of the current Under-18 squad are first year scholars as several from last season have been promoted – Raheem Sterling, Jack Robinson, Jon Flanagan, Andre Wisdom, Conor Coady and others – to the reserve team, and onto the cusp of the first team.
Of the young players who’ve made the step up to the Under-18’s, several have already begun to stand out. Jordan Lussey, who is originally from Ormskirk but has been called up to the England Under-16’s and Under-17’s has already demonstrated a raw talent and good footballing brain and is the kind of player who can do his role almost anywhere on the pitch. He announced himself this season by scoring a fantastic equaliser in the game against Cardiff City and looks to be one of the most talented midfielders in the academy.
Signed in January 2011, Yalany Baio is another who has emerged as a player with great potential in the opening games of the season. The tough tackling defensive midfielder, who hails from Guinea-Bissau but came from Portugal, has shown his tenacity as well as a strong passing range in his earlyÂ appearances. He and Lussey look to have the attributes to form a formidable partnership in the centre of the park for the Under-18 side.
Elsewhere, Jack Dunn – who captained the Under-16 side previously, under new Under-18 coach Mike Marsh – showed a good technique when striking the ball with a crisp half-volley against Derby County earlier today and is an all-action attacking midfielder. Matty Regan, who was Under-16 captain before Dunn but got promoted to the Under-18 side last year (as well as making a string of solid performances for the reserves at the back end of last season), looks to assume the mantle vacated by Andre Wisdom.
Although he hasn’t been promoted to the reserves like some others, Adam Morgan has been one of the stand out performers of the last year or so and has already got two goals to his name as well as being handed the starting berth in the first Next Gen Series match against Sporting Lisbon. Morgan, who’s mainly known for his goal scoring is a hard-working and intelligent forward. Using the wings well and harrying defenders, he is a demonstrative player who is a constant threat.
Much has already been written about the players who have since been promoted to the reserves for this season, so I won’t add to the glowing list ofÂ referencesÂ they have garnered. However, they do face a difficult away game against Molde this week, with a large crowd expected. They will be looking to get off the mark in the Next Gen Series, which should be a fantastic experience for them in their development.Â A strong team is expected to travel to Norway and it will be the first major test for several of the players.
In the game against Swansea, they were unfortunate to face a very experienced side and had to finish the game with ten men following a rash tackle from Emmanuel Mendy, which gifted Swansea the penalty that secured them their victory, but performed admirably.
Swansea 2 – 1 Liverpool
Liverpool 1 – 1 Cardiff City
Porsmouth 0 – 1 Liverpool
Liverpool 2 – 3 Derby County
Just as a post-script, the descriptions of the younger players is a bit clichÃ©d and vague but I’ve only seen them play a couple of times. Will provide more in-depth analysis as the season goes on, with more specialised pieces on specific players.