The NextGen Series has seemed like a whirlwind in its second season of existence--last year we had all the introductory information and a fairly high level of attention paid, but this time around it's sneaked up on us a bit, and all of a sudden we're looking at the last two matches of the qualifying round and Liverpool potentially on the outside looking in.
Liverpool's fortunes in the competition have been the polar opposite of what they've put together in the U21 Premier League, with three losses in their first three before picking up their lone win of the tournament last time out, managing to put four past a Rosenborg side that'd defeated them 3-0 in the reverse fixture. A win today over Dortmund still wouldn't keep them safe, as they'll need Inter to lose to Rosenborg and then to defeat the holders in the final match of group play on the 8th of January.
The personnel on the pitch won't likely be surprising for many, as Adam Morgan, Conor Coady, and Stephen Sama are all expected to feature, but there's significant changes in management, as former Reserves and U18s boss Rodolfo Borrell--who's left the team in every match of the competition across two seasons to this point--has been promoted to Head of Academy Coaching, and former Tottenham U18s coach Alex Inglethorpe takes over.
Frank McParland, who was the subject of an enlightening interview back in September with Sachin Nakrani in the Guardian, retains his role as Academy Director, with Borrell now responsible for, in the words of Brendan Rodgers, "(making) richer the philosophy we are creating at the club from U9s through to the first team." Inglethorpe, who was with Spurs for six years, will presumably see his duties start immediately ahead of today's match.
Kickoff: 6:05PM BST/1:05PM EST
Ways to Watch: Eurosport in the UK and ESPN3.com in the US
Liverpool: Fulton, McLaughlin, Smith, Jones, Sokolik, Coady, Pelosi, Lussey, Morgan, Adorjan, Ibe
Dortmund: Wilmes, Knystock, Deelen, Zeugner, Nothangel, Deichmann, Bandowski, Benkarit, Bohmer, Beutler, Langesberg