Speaking to the press ahead of Liverpool FC’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, Assistant Coach Pepijn Lijnders was asked if Harvey Elliott, recently back-in-training, would be included in the squad. The answer was pretty straightforward, but Lijnders took it as a chance to reaffirm the club’s commitment towards its Academy, and also namedropped other youngsters who are on the up and up:
“Harvey will not be in the squad. I think our medical department would put us against the wall if we did that - despite his performance in training yesterday! This is just my personal opinion, but I think a coach should be judged much more on the young players he brings through.”
“I really believe in our project looking at our Academy. For example, I spent yesterday morning at the Academy to speak with the coaches and Alex Inglethorpe. We try to sign players but look at the Brentford game, one of our best players was Curtis Jones, but he was never a signing. It took us a really long time to influence him and develop him to commit to him and to give him another chance and in the end, we have a really good player.”
“We look all the time at the Academy. Our U18s played against Burnley in the FA Youth Cup [on Tuesday], we had Bobby Clark, Luke Chambers, Stefan Bajcetic, they all stand out. “I hope they come with us during the pre-season because it is important for them to have a proper pre-season to know exactly how we want to do things.”
“At this moment we have Kaide Gordon with us who has a goal in him, who has this outside creation in one-on-one situations and combination play. We always look at our Academy because we think a lot of our icons came from there and a lot of the best players in the history of Liverpool Football Club came from there and we have proven that. So I think a coach should be judged a lot more on this to be honest.”
It’s good to know that the yutes will continue to be given chances to break into the squad. Of all the youngsters named by Pep, Kaide Gordon will likely be involved in the proceedings tonight... let’s hope he has another goal or two in him.