Liverpool under-21 manager Michael Beale thinks that his youngsters are 'there to be shot at' after their 2-0 defeat to Sunderland yesterday.
Beale was alluding to the fact that some of the players had been handed first team opportunities in the FA Cup as Jurgen Klopp heavily rotated his side.
Beale is quoted in the Liverpool Echo, saying: “This is probably the weakest performance I’ve seen from a Liverpool under-21 side for a long, long time.
“It’s a wake-up call for them. Because they’ve played at a higher level now they’re there to be shot at. We didn’t show our level.”
A number of players were given opportunities to shine in the four FA Cup games prior to their exit against West Ham United including Cameron Brannagan, Sheyi Ojo, Connor Randall, Jerome Sinclair, Pedro Chirivella and Joao Carlos Teixeira who all played a part in the weekend's defeat to Sunderland - while others have also been given first team opportunities.
Certainly, these are players that are still learning and a lot of them are trying to show they have a role to play at Liverpool going forward. After that taste of first team action, it's inevitable there is going to be an element of re-adapting to things when they return to under-21 action week in, week out.
But their recent chances should act as a huge motivation at that level, but they must acknowledge that opposition players will be keen to show that they are just as good, if not better, than some of the players on offer as they look to make it at the highest possible level as well.