Liverpool set for major squad overhaul with youth starlets poised

Liverpool set for major squad overhaul with youth starlets poised


 Neil Critchley admits that Liverpool Under-23s’ squad is set for a major summer overhaul after their season ended with a whimper at Anfield  The Reds were beaten 2-1 by Blackburn Rovers and will finish the Premier 2 campaign in fourth place  Connor Randall and Juanma Garcia are among those who are out of contract at the end of this season and expected to move on  Space will be made for the older members of Liverpool’s talented FA Youth Cup winning team to take the step up from under-18s to under-23s level Four young stars who are ready to take next step at Liverpool  “I think a few of those players will be leaving the club in the next few weeks,” Critchley told the ECHO  “The younger ones from the under-18s will be moving up. I would have thought it would be a vastly changed group next season It will be a young group and one we’re looking forward to working with.”  Critchley couldn’t hide his disappointment after Liverpool produced an insipid display at Anfield  They had a mountain to climb after first-half goals from Joe Rankin-Costello and Dan Butterworth George Johnston pulled one back late on but it proved to be only a consolation.  First-team squad players Caoimhin Kelleher, Rafa Camacho, Ben Woodburn, Rhian Brewster and Curtis Jones were all involved  “I thought the first 45 minutes was probably our worst performance of the season,” Critchley said  “It was very uncharacteristic because performances and results going into this game had been very good Maybe it had an end of season feeling about it unfortunately.  “We took that on to the pitch in the first half It’s very unlike us. We don’t normally play in that manner.  “In and out of possession, we were a million miles away from what we expect We changed the shape at half-time and that made a bit of a difference.  “We were the team in the ascendancy in the second half without really creating too many clear cut opportunities  “We were devoid of a bit of quality and in some situations we failed with our decision making Over the 90 minutes we didn’t deserve to take anything from the game.”  Despite his frustration, Critchley admits there’s been an array of positives for the Academy over the course of this season  As well as ending the club’s 12-year wait to win the FA Youth Cup, there have been senior debuts for Camacho, Jones and Ki-Jana Hoever  “It’s difficult to reflect on the season as a whole standing here after that performance,” he added  “It’s very subjective and open to opinion, but our main focus is always on individuals within the team Are they improving? Are they getting the right opportunities at the right time?  “The main goal of any Academy is to get players into our first team We have a manager here who believes in the young players so you always have that chance  “We had a great night the other night with the under-18s winning the Youth Cup. We have some good players in the system and it’s our job to develop them and give them the best possible chance  “In 24 or 48 hours, I’ll probably look back and reflect on the season in a positive way but it’s hard to do that at the moment  “Over the course of the season, looking across the board, we can be pleased with what we’ve got and look forward to the coming months and years with optimism ”  Their league programme maybe complete but Liverpool Under-23s will continue to train at Kirkby  “We’ve got a friendly away to Bruges on May 17 and a tournament after that so we’re not putting the swimming trunks on yet,” Critchley added   Liverpool U23s: Kelleher, Whelan, Lewis, Masterson, Johnston, Randall, Camacho, Woodburn, Brewster (Gallacher, 71), Christie-Davies, Jones (McAuley, 87)   Unused subs: Atherton, Juanma.

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