The rules with regard to the youth system in England have changed recently, with a new U23s system replacing the old U21s Premier League. Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp are determined to keep the focus on promoting youth though, and will continue to push young players up through the ranks and hopefully into the senior side (via the Echo).
The changes to the format mean that not only has the age limit been pushed up to 23, but teams can also include three outfield players and a goalkeeper over the age of 23 in their teams.
This means that teams could look far more like the old school reserves sides we used to see, giving players a chance to play for the U23s in order to get match fit or get some game time when they aren’t getting it with the senior squad.
The report suggests that Klopp has no intention of utilising the U23s in this way though, and will continue to push youth as much as possible.
Youth manager Michael Beale spoke to the Echo about the plans for the youth team, highlighting the fact that despite the age cap the average age of our U23s would be around 19-years-old.
“Our team will be probably be around the average age of 19. Ovie Ejaria, Trent Alexander, Ben Woodburn, they’ll come back and join this group,” he said.
“We’ll see how it works. For some clubs it will be very beneficial, it means their first team can drop (into the U23s) five or six from their bench the day before.
“Jurgen can use the U23s as he sees fit. At the moment he’s using a lot of them with the first team and not so many seniors coming the other way and that’s great for us.
“We have a lot of good young players, now if they were all in the Academy teams we’d have a problem because you can only play 11 at any one time.
“So it’s important that while Ovie (Ejaria) is up there you’re seeing Adam Phillips being a main player in this team and while Ben Woodburn and Ryan Kent are up there, you’ve still got Harry Wilson able to play in this team.
“If they’re all bundled in the same team there’s not enough room for them all to play and therefore it probably holds back their development. Remember Sheyi Ojo is just coming back from the European U19s tournament.”
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Klopp has always been a big believer in pushing youth and it shows that he plans on being here for a long, long time and building for the future. The German manager is not only building a strong squad capable of challenging immediately, but also making sure we regularly have top quality players coming through the ranks to put pressure on the senior squad. This is a great mentality and will hopefully bear fruit in the near future.