View from the Kop

Starlets Could Prevail Where Expensive Flops Have Failed

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AS Gary Caldwell coolly finished off his goal last Saturday, condemning Liverpool to their 10th defeat of the season, the Anfield faithful were left, yet again to ponder an under par home performance to a team who were at the time propping up the rest of the Premier League table.

The most memorable moment of the game (for Liverpool fans) was the Premier League debut of Raheem Sterling, one of the most promising young players in England.

By taking to the field last Saturday, Sterling also became the third youngest player to ever play for the club. Introducing the 17 year old winger into the game with 6 minutes remaining, was certainly a popular decision amongst fans, and although the young lad had very little time to show what he has been doing for many years at youth level to an expectant Anfield, it was a step in the right direction for the starlet.

So, could slowly introducing young starlets into the first team really change our fortunes?

In 2010, Germany travelled to South Africa for the World Cup, with a squad filled with many names that were unrecognisable to the football world. Joachim Low adopted a policy in which he cut many of the ageing German Internationals and bought in fresh, hungry, fearless players who had nothing to lose. 2 years later and those players are some of the most talented footballers in the world. Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and Thomas Muller have all excelled since the Germans excellent showing in South Africa. I understand that comparison with an international teams youth policy may be farfetched but at club level, you only have to look at teams like Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona and closer to home, teams such as Crystal Palace and Crewe Alexandra (who have relied on their young players in order to succeed) to see that introducing young players into the game can do more good than harm.
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Realistically, this season we have underachieved in the Premier League, with the Europa League now our only feasible target for European football. It has been a difficult and ultimately disappointing season for our expensive summer signings, who will probably be itching for the league season to end, in the hope that their fortunes will change by August. It would be a good time to start introducing some of the young players into the team. With 7 games to play, the experience that the young starlets would get could be vital for the future of the club. The experience that Jay Spearing, Martin Kelly and Jon Flanagan have gained this season is absolutely valuable. If the same can be achieved with Sterling, as well as other promising youngsters like Jack Robinson, Andre Wisdom, Suso, Adam Morgan and Michael Ngoo then we could be looking at a very different outcome to the league this time next year.

On Monday night, Gary Neville accused Liverpool of having no identity. As a club, we DO have an identity. It is now up to Kenny and the team to transfer that onto the pitch and the way we play football. If young players can be combined with our wealth of experience whilst doing this, Mr Neville may have to eat his words.

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