Starting with the NextGen U19 European competition last season, the past year has seen a widespread and increasing focus on youth development and providing a platform for young players to further improve their games and bridge the gap between youth and first team football. Now, the Premier League has revealed that for the coming season the fractured reserve league system in England will largely take a back seat to a new U21 Premier League consisting of the 23 clubs—17 from the EPL and six from the Championship—whose academies qualify for Category One status.
The structure of the competition will see the clubs broken up into three groups, with Liverpool in the seven-member National Group Three along with Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Manchester City, Middlesbrough, and Wolverhampton. Each club will play home and away against the other members of their group before entering a second qualification round in the new year where the clubs will be seeded based on finishing position in the first round, with the top finishers from that first round given preference for advancing into the final third round of four clubs who will then compete in a semi-finals and final.
On paper at least, it seems a sensible way to further aid in youth development and will likely be warmly welcomed by Frank McParland, Rodolfo Borrell, Jose Segura, and the rest of those in charge of Liverpool's youth and reserves system. The first game for Liverpool comes on August 20th when they host Wolves.