In the past, Liverpool's U21 call-ups were always something of an afterthought. Something for fans to think, Oh, that's nice about before getting back to the serious business of worrying over which of the senior players would end up injured on big boy international duty. Now, though, with Liverpool so heavily reliant on their youth for success not only in the European and domestic cup competitions but even in the Premier League, suddenly that those youth players are heading off to represent their countries becomes something of a big deal.
So is the case this week, with Stuart Pearce calling Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom, and Jack Robinson up for a U21 European Championships playoff double-header against Serbia that could make or break England's qualification hopes for the 2013 edition of the tournament. Henderson is expected to captain the side despite falling out of favour at Liverpool, and with Sterling and Wisdom growing more important by the week for Brendan Rodgers it really only leaves Robinson whose inclusion feels rather like the U21 and U19 call-ups of past years—something potentially positive for the player's development that, no matter what happens, is unlikely to have a serious impact on Liverpool's season.
For those looking to keep track of Liverpool's suddenly integral youngsters, the first match of their home-and-home series sees Serbia travel to Carrow Road on Friday before England returns the favour on the following Tuesday. Given Pearce's involvement, expect lots of hoofing.