Liverpool FC’s first team unexpectedly got another weekend off thanks to the Queen’s funeral forcing the Premier League to postpone today’s match at Chelsea. While many of the senior players took advantage of the break as they are getting ready to head off on international duty, a few others instead featured for LFC’s U21 team against Leceister yesterday to get some playing time.
Nat Phillips, Arthur Melo, and Fábio Carvalho all played 90 minutes against the Foxes as the U21 Reds earned a 1-0 victory. It was a great opportunity to get real game minutes and build match fitness for the recently arrived Arthur and Phillips, who is only able to break into the first team when there is a rash of center-back injuries. While Carvalho has appeared frequently for the first team, he’s mostly been limited to impact sub-duty, so getting a chance to give him a full 90 minutes is very useful.
Berry Lewtas, head coach of the U-21s, was happy to have the senior players in his side for the match, highlighting the benefit to both them and his regular squad in a post-match interview with the LFC website.
“That’s obviously what sometimes this group can do. We talk about it a lot: we’re in the same building, we work closely together on how we want to play,” said Lewtas. “It gives players an opportunity if they need minutes to come in and play some minutes and play in the way we play. So, it was really good.”
“They’re top-level professionals. They add to our group as well, not just in terms of our performance but our young lads get to see what elite looks like. It works both ways. We can give them some minutes but they’re able to show us their professionalism and why they are where they are.”