With the U21 reserve league on its winter break and a bit of time to fill for Liverpool's various youth teams, a handful of the club's more promising prospects are headed off to Sngapore for a U19 mini-tournament this week. With only four teams involved, Liverpool are set to face off against a Singapore XI on Friday for the right to play the winner of Manchester United and Sporting Lisbon in Sunday's final while the two losing sides face off in a third-place playoff.
Liverpool have sent their strongest possible squad half way around the globe for a bit of experience, and promising prospects like Ryan McLaughlin, Brad Smith, Jordon Ibe, and Jerome Sinclair will joined by occasional first team players Adam Morgan and Samed Yesil in their efforts.
"It will be a great learning curve for our young players and a great opportunity for them to compete against some of the world's most promising players," said academy director Frank McParland of taking part in the inaugural edition of what organisers hope will become a yearly event. "It also gives us a chance to meet and play in front of our passionate fans in Singapore."
Once they arrive, the biggest difficulty for the players may be the humidity rather than their opposition. And though the honour of winning a fledgling two-match "tournament" may be open to debate, at a stage when every competitive match and new playing experience is beneficial to their development it's at the least an intriguing venture.
"I think the trip will be just as important for what happens off the pitch as well as on it in terms of the players' development," added McParland. "They'll go on two flights for 16 hours, they'll get used to the travelling and being in hotels with a lot of down time.
"And while we're there we'll also be going into schools and they'll be doing a lot of media - so it's not just about the football. It's about learning to be a footballer and, more importantly, it's about learning to be a Liverpool footballer."