Liverpool Academy Update: October 1st Edition

Lars Baron

Your weekly-ish Liverpool youth news & notes and discussion thread, including the U21s hot streak, an Adam Morgan wundergol, and a Samed Yesil sighting.

Recent Updates: September 18th | September 7th | August 30th | August 22nd | August 14th
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Results & Fixtures

Liverpool U21s 2 - Manchester City U21s 0, Monday September 23rd [Video]

Liverpool entered this, their most recent league match against Manchester City, riding a mini hot streak, with two wins and a draw in its last three matches. City, on the other hand, and despite a nice collection of young talent, has been languishing near the bottom of the Premier U21 table for most of the season thus far. Available for the first time to Alex Inglethorpe in league play was new signing Rafael Paez, who partnered Lloyd Jones in the heart of Liverpool's defense, pushing Stephen Sama over to right back, which gave Ryan McLaughlin another change to impress as a winger. Sama and McLaughlin were a terror for City on the right flank throughout the match, but Liverpool had little to show for it, until Adam Morgan did this:

Liverpool defended well, and Sama threatened the goal on multiple occasions, before setting up Cameron Brannagan for the insurance goal, sealing a well earned victory for the Reds. Liverpool moves up to 4th in the league, and it's fair to say that Inglethorpe has the lads firing on all cylinders.

Liverpool team: Danny Ward, Sama (captain), Joe Maguire, Paez, Jones, Craig Roddan, McLaughlin, Jordan Rossiter, Morgan, Jack Dunn (Villyan Bijev 54), Brannagan. Unused subs: Jakub Sokolik, Ryan Fulton, Jordan Lussey, Kristoffer Peterson.

Next Match: Monday, October 7th, 7:00pm BST/2:00pm EST, home against Tottenham live on LFC.tv.

Liverpool U18s 3 - Norwich U18s 3, Saturday September 21st

Liverpool U18s have had an up and down start to the season, and Neil Critchley's second match in charge was quite the spectacle. Ryan Kent, a recent callup to England's Under-18 squad, has been turning into something of a beast for Liverpool, with controlled dribbling at pace that has at least one observer drooling, and he gave Liverpool the lead going into halftime with a composed finish after dribbling past two Canaries.

Just after halftime Norwich equalized after keeper Andy Firth was beaten by his near post, after a poor stretch by Liverpool, and took the lead on a cheaply conceded penalty. Liverpool stormed back, however, through a goal against the run of play by Daniel Trickett-Smith, and an absolute stunner of a free kick by Adam Phillips. Critchley's lads looked sure to close out the win, but conceded an absolutely demoralizing equalizer off a set piece at the death.

As mentioned above, Ryan Kent's ability to drop a shoulder and beat a player looks extremely effective (I'll avoid making undue comparisons to some of the greatest players ever), and Sheyi Ojo impressed with his defensive help all over the pitch.

Liverpool team: Ryan Crump, Dharius Waldron, Sam Hart (Dave Roberts), Dan Cleary, Tom Brewitt, Nathan Burke, Harry Wilson (Alex O'Hanlon), Phillips, Trickett-Smith, Ojo, Kent.

Liverpool U18s 0 - West Ham U18s 5, Saturday September 28th

In a match that was neither televised nor much written about, Liverpool's U18s suffered a heavy defeat against West Ham. Liverpool fell to third bottom in its table, though with 3 fewer games played than many of the other North teams. It seems that international clearance for the new Spanish lads—who've been away with the Spain U17 squad anyway—can't come soon enough.

Liverpool team: Firth, Brewitt, Kristof Polgar, Cleary, Hart, Burke, Phillips, O'Hanlon, Ojo, Kent, Trickett-Smith

Next Match: Tomorrow, Wednesday October 2nd, 11:00am BST/6:00am EST, home against Fulham.

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General News & Notes

Samed Yesil Back in Training

Questions about the young German's recovery following an ACL injury last season have grown recently, but after this picture was snapped in training on Friday, it would appear Samed Yesil has made a full return to fitness. The circumstances which led to his inclusion in the senior squad on a few occasions last season have changed somewhat—namely, no European or Capital One Cup football on tap, and better overall squad depth—so I'd look at Yesil as a second half loan candidate should his health stand up for the Under-21s.

Lack of Youth Fixtures a Real Problem for England Youth Development

Upon looking at Liverpool's upcoming under-21 fixture list, one thing is immediately obvious: they aren't slated to play a whole lot of games. Between now and Christmas, they've got 6 games (!) scheduled. For all that was made about the establishment of a new under-21 premier league, this lack of games should be troubling to fans of English sides.

It's unclear how the various footballing authorities expect English teams to compete against those from around Europe—for talent, and for results in the future when these factors are exacerbated—when they are not given ample competitive games. Contrast this landscape to the Barcelonas and Real Madrids of the world, whose B teams compete in the second tier of Spanish football, and it becomes even less clear. This, on top of the dissolution of the NextGen series in favor of a mini Champions League, where only youth teams of clubs in the Champions League are invited, poses a serious problem for English clubs, and the longer these problems persist, the further English clubs will get left behind.

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