Of course, it had been a long time since the selection of Trent Alexander-Arnold, the Scouser to the team, Caoimhin Kelleher or Nat Phillips had been considered newsworthy.
But the presence of Kaide Gordon, Conor Bradley and Owen Beck on a Premier League bench for the first time, as well as fellow youth squad graduate Tyler Morton reportedly making his Premier League debut against the Gunners, testifies of the work in progress behind the scenes in Kirkby.
Granted, their inclusion was more due to necessity amid an ever-growing injury crisis at Liverpool, but it was still a deserved reward for the foursome’s continued progress after impressing in the pre-season and in the League Cup. .
Yet their forced involvement with Klopp’s side also left behind a sort of one-team lag, left in transition between two age groups, as Liverpool’s Under-23 suffered a disappointing 3 loss. -0 earlier in the day.
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Barry Lewtas’ side have had to endure their own injury issues so far this campaign, and the absence of Beck, Bradley, Gordon and Morton has left them with just two substitutes on the pitch for their loss to the Eagles.
And a glance through their eleven saw a squad made up of experienced Under-23 players who will already know their future is elsewhere, players lined up out of position and a range of under-18 players promoted and thrown into the deep end.
This is both a blessing and a curse for Under-23 football as a proud day for their academy finally played its part in this heavy defeat at Kirkby, with such a loss hardly surprising given the circumstances. .
While Klopp would probably prefer their young quartet to be more involved with the Academy rather than being called in as injury coverage, the Anfield bench is the next step for them anyway and is part of the process.
With that in mind, tough days for Under-23 football will follow, but it could be the roster of the next generation of the Reds. After all, they know the door to the first team is open and while 3-0 losses may not look good on paper, the only thing that matters is producing players for the first team.
And while Beck, Bradley, Gordon and Morton are still in their infancy, that’s exactly what Liverpool’s academy continues to do.
Out of position
As Liverpool’s injuries pile up, you won’t see Jurgen Klopp playing too many players out of position.
The German tried square pegs in round holes last season when he was robbed of center-backs, and that only weakened his team further, preventing them from occupying two key positions on the pitch instead of one as their title defense unraveled.
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However, it is another story at the level of young people.
With injuries forcing Barry Lewtas’ hand in selection, a number of his players have been asked to step down from their favorite roles.
You would normally find Stefan Bajcetic and Jarrell Quansah at center-back, but here the duo lined up as midfielder and right-back respectively.
Meanwhile, Tom Clayton had to play more offensively in the engine room, compared to his more defensive instincts, and although James Norris could play more forward, he’s more of a left-back than a left winger.
Still, these are the roles the quarterback was asked to take on as Liverpool struggled to find a rhythm against Crystal Palace and looked lost in midfield from start to finish. But what can we expect when only one natural midfielder started the game.
But such a forced experience is nothing new to this side, with Conor Bradley and Owen Beck both far further in the comeback win over Derby late last month, with Lewtas declaring his belief that the change of roles would be the duo in good stead for their continued development.
Three weeks later they were on the bench for the Premier League first team.
When players are still young and developed, they are often asked to line up in unfamiliar roles to gain a better overall understanding of the game or to improve key attributes, before finding their permanent position later in life.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is the perfect example, now shining at right-back after serving as a midfielder at Kirkby.
Difficult afternoons are obviously part of the course when adjusting to new roles and this was the case with Quansah in particular who conceded a cheap penalty for Palace’s second goal and was fortunate not to be. expelled for a second offense to reserve.
But Bajcetic has shown glimpses of his talent and why the club rushed to sign with Celta Vigo ahead of Brexit, while Norris is the latest in a long line of young Liverpool full-backs who have l look comfortable anywhere on the sidewall with their delivery always in the box. a threat.
With the Reds’ injury list still long, both for the first team and the Under-23s, these players won’t be able to return to their favorite roles anytime soon.
But without such experiences and the ability to demonstrate such versatility, their chances of breaking into the first team would inevitably be slimmer.
Musialowski’s struggles continue
Mateusz Musialowski continues to enjoy mixed fortunes since his stint in Under-23 football.
The Pole was one of the shining lights at the Under-18 level, competing with Mohamed Salah in Goal of the Month contests to consistently demonstrate why his name carries such excitement from Liverpool’s latest young generation.
Three goals in eight matches at this level, including a catchy game against Arsenal at Anfield, is a respectable comeback.
But since returning from injury earlier this month, the 18-year-old has found life more difficult.
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Used upstream in a 3-0 loss to West Ham before the international break, it was ineffective against Crystal Palace as it lined up on the right for the first time, having shone on the left.
Being left-handed, one would think he finds such a direct transition with such an important reverse striker in modern football, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane two prime examples.
Still, he eventually got lost in such a role against a physical team, repeatedly cutting himself inside or turning into a body on the rare occasions he was on the ball and lost the ball.
Perhaps such rawness would explain why the 18-year-old is sticking with the Under-23s as Kaide Gordon warms up the Anfield bench as the Pole still has a lot to learn.
That doesn’t take away from his potential and why he sparked such a buzz with the Under-18s last year, but he still has more to do at this level if he is to consistently gain attention. by Klopp.