There seems to be one or two more familiar names appearing in the Under 21 sides at Liverpool.
Liverpool’s approach to their second team/reserves/under 21’s seems to be more of an ‘old school’ approach.
Over the past ten years or so, Liverpool’s reserve side rarely featured a high profile player when coming back from injury unless it was a long injury lay-off, or the manager was somehow disciplining them – whether that be for lack of form or off the field antics.
But lately, it looks as if that culture is changing a little.
Take last night’s under 21’s line-up against Tottenham Hotspur as an example, which featured Aly Cissokho. One could argue that Cissokho has yet to become ‘high profile’ at Liverpool but to play someone who has only had the lay-off of around six weeks has an unusual feel to it. It should also be mentioned that Andre Wisdom featured last night, and he has also had a substantial amount of time with the first team.
And there was the instance when there were Raheem Sterling, Jordon Ibe, Martin Kelly, Tiago Ilori and Luis Alberto all participating in a game at the same level against Sunderland at Anfield.
Both Sterling and Ibe are still in their teenage years and understandably playing at that level but are heavily involved with the first team, especially Sterling – whilst Kelly has been around the first team for a number of years. Ilori and Alberto are new signings both expected to play some sort of role in the first team this season.
It is one method that makes a lot of sense, if a player isn’t playing or starting regularly in the first team then they should be getting some time playing competitive matches at the club under their belt in the reserves. It should also be mentioned that a substantial amount of young players were used by Brendan Rodgers last season when the squad looked a little thin.
Liverpool should pay more attention to the under-21 league due to the impact it can have on the first-team. It may not be the last time we see a few familiar faces.
image: © Vincent Teeuwen