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Defeat proves that we’ve still got a way to go

Image for Defeat proves that we’ve still got a way to go

Liverpool got their NextGen series campaign off to a disappointing start when they lost 3-0 to an excellent Sporting Lisbon side last night. Despite some stating that the Reds Academy is one of the best in Europe, it does prove that we’ve got a long way to go if we are going to match the likes of Sporting and Barcelona in regards to churning out top class youngsters on a frequent basis.

The NextGen series will certainly give the Reds a greater marker of where they are at in regards to how successful the Academy is being. It is certainly a step up from normal U18s matches and facing a side, in Sporting Lisbon, who have produced the likes of Luis Figo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani, as well as achieving five consecutive league titles at U18 level, shows what the young Reds will be facing on a regular basis during this tournament.

As Rodolfo Borrell said last night, Sporting Lisbon looked a class above in terms of technical skill in the first half especially:

“I knew Sporting Lisbon were a good side before the game and I told my players they would be very strong opponents. They showed their qualities. They have very good technical players who link up very well and they were a lot better than us in the first half. It was the first time this team have played together this season and we took a while to get going, but we were much better in the second half.”

Borrell does certainly mention a fair mitigating factor to Liverpool’s relatively poor first half display. The NextGen Series is an Under 19 tournament, an age group which isn’t part of the English league system. It means that U18 players such as Raheem Sterling, will be used alongside reserve players such as Jonjo Shelvey and Jack Robinson, and it must be said that they wouldn’t have played together for a fair while.

Looking at the line up which played the match last night, the likes of Andre Wisdom, Jonjo Shelvey, Jack Robinson, Toni Silva, Conor Coady, Suso, Raheem Sterling, Adam Morgan and Michael Ngoo all played. They are no doubt some of our best young players but were still beaten quite resoundingly.

There were certainly promising signs from the likes of Raheem Sterling (as always), Andre Wisdom, Krisztian Adorjan and Michael Ngoo, but it the NextGen series is a level up from most matches they have played before and they will have to learn quickly. The more experienced ones such as Jonjo Shelvey and Conor Coady have to step up to the mark and they will need to up their game for the next two matches against Molde and Wolfsburg.

There is no need to be too worried about things though. It is a learning process and as Borrell said, they are going up against a completely different style of football to what they are used to. It is a totally different philosophy to domestic football demonstrated in how well Sporting kept the ball and demonstrated their technical ability. It will only benefit the players in the long run though and once they get used to the style, the level of opponents, as well as becoming more familiar with their team mates, the Reds definitely have enough talented players to make a real impact on the tournament.

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  • stan howard says:

    we were set up wrong gifted them the midfield by sitting too deep, raheem needs people around him it gives options, he was still far and away the best player on the pitch, i wouldnt swap him for their whole team they wont score 3 goals like that again,thery are a great team but everything went for them and nothing went for us, i would back us to beat them if we get to the later stages.

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