Results & Fixtures
A weakened Liverpool side playing without new signings Sergi Canos and Pedro Chirivella and early season star Harry Wilson fell to Arsenal in its opening match of the season. Despite the bulk of possession and the balance of chances, Liverpool conceded after 21 minutes from some shoddy set-piece defending, before Nathan Burke equalized with a shot from distance the keeper will feel he could have done better with. Arsenal took a bit more of a foothold in the second half and eventually took the lead on 69 minutes after some excellent passing and finishing by Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Coach Mike Garrity and the lads surely feel they should have done better to get something out of the game, especially in that mildly dominant first half.
Liverpool team: Ryan Crump, Connor Randall, David Roberts, Dan Cleary, Tom Brewitt, Burke, Ryan Kent, Adam Phillips (Louis Robles), Daniel Trickett-Smith (Darius Whaldron), Sheyi Ojo, Sam Hart. Unused subs: Andy Firth, Jack Alexander, Matthew Virtue.
Next Match: Saturday August 24th, 11:00am BST/6:00am EST, home against Everton (live on LFC.tv).
Liverpool U21s 4 - Manchester United U21s 2, Saturday August 19th
Trev already wrote an excellent and robust recap of the match, so I won't get too detailed, I just want to simply reiterate what an excellent result this was for the U21s, especially on the back of such a disappointing opening day defeat to Southampton. And even though many will think that the strength of the day's team may dilute the importance of the result, I actually think it hits exactly on the point we've been touching upon in all our youth coverage here: Liverpool is so young, and in this match we got a glimpse of what our academy teams might look like if our brightest young talents weren't rushed to the first team, arguably too early. Lovely result, and I am especially encouraged to see lads like Jordan Rossiter and Jack Dunn looking very much capable of playing at the level, and playing well, despite the big names surrounding them, and Jordon Ibe more or less proving that he's too good for the level. Final thought here is that I likely owe Craig Roddan an apology over my absolute omission of his name from every piece I've written thus far, as I simply didn't see him as someone who had what it takes to stick. He is still sticking in and around the U21 picture, and it's his versatility that is enabling him to do so. It may not be enough to earn his chance under Brendan Rodgers, but it seems increasingly likely that he will have a successful career somewhere.
Liverpool team: Danny Ward, Ryan McLaughlin, Martin Kelly, Lloyd Jones, Joe Maguire, Craig Roddan, Rossiter, Dunn (Cameron Brannagan), Adam Morgan, Fabio Borini, Ibe. Unused Substitutes: Jakub Sokolik, Yusuf Mersin, Kristoffer Peterson, Jordan Lussey.
Next Match: Monday September 2nd, 7:00pm BST/2:00pm EST, away to Leicester (live on LFC.tv).
General News & Notes
In what is surely a blow to my fellow youth football enthusiasts, the NextGen Series has been placed on hold until next season, which is more than likely the last we'll hear from the wonderful team running that tournament. Lack of funding is being blamed for the decision, but it's hard to look past UEFA's foundation of a Youth League as the more likely culprit. Of course an emphasis on youth football overall is a positive thing, but creating expensive competitions accessible only to clubs already in the Champions League is likely only to widen the gap currently being observed between these clubs and those outside of the competition, as youth players may exhibit the similar unwillingness to join a team outside of UEFA's purview. But let's focus on the positives: the NextGen was a tremendous source of unbridled footballing excitement for youngsters around Europe, and will be missed. Hopefully UEFA can capture a similar atmosphere with its new venture.
Mike Marsh's disappearance from the U18s sideline was as unannounced and mysterous as Mike Garrity's emergence. And if recent reports are accurate, the measures will have proven temporary. Neil Critchley, former Crewe Alexandria player and current academy director, is set to join Liverpool as the U18 coach, in what is an exciting signing by the club. Critchley, one of only 16 FA Elite Coaches in England, and disciple of youth football development icon Dario Gradi, has an unrivaled pedigree in youth football circles and will only add to the excellence and exciting progress occurring at Kirkby. Crewe's academy has always been considered one of England's finest, and it should be self-evident that Critchley is an extremely welcome addition to the Liverpool family.
In what appears to be a new regular feature, among many for the official site this season, Under-21 Coach Alex Inglethorpe shared his latest thoughts on youth development, the state of his team, and some lovely historical context surrounding youth development at Liverpool. Inglethorpe, with increasing and encouraging support from everyone in the first team coaching staff, is trying to develop boys who fulfill Bob Paisley's vision of a successful youth player: "The sort of lad I'm looking for here is a kid who'll try to nutmeg Kevin Keegan in a training match...but then step aside for him in the corridor." Anyway, it's a great read and is highly recommended.
Transfer News & Speculation
Joao Carlos Teixeira Rumored Loan to Bologna
Teixeira was noticeably not involved in the United match, and Twitter rumors later began to pop up regarding a potential loan move for the Portuguese creative midfielder to Italian side Bologna. You'll recall that the U21s faced Bologna's first team in a preseason friendly and, with Teixeira impressing, it seems he may get a chance to develop in Italy this season. This would quite clearly be an unbelievable move both for the player and Liverpool, and we will keep a closer eye out for more news.
Speaking of creative midfielders on loan abroad, Suso started and played 90 minutes in Almeria's opening season defeat to Villareal. I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Snrub's excellent recap and analysis, and wanted to provide yet another shout for him here. Suso is one of a handful of Liverpool youth players out on loan at the moment and, along with Jack Robinson, seems to be very entrenched in their loan clubs first team picture. More of the same is extremely welcome both from Suso and from Mr. Snrub.