Liverpool under-21 boss Michael Beale has urged the club’s youngsters to seize their chance to impress Jurgen Klopp in pre-season.
Teenagers Ovie Ejaria, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn were handed Liverpool debuts in Friday’s 1-0 win over Tranmere with 14 senior players away following international duty. And Beale, who worked as a coach at Chelsea for 10 years prior to arriving at Melwood in 2012, believes it’s time for some of his starlets to shine
“I told my players when they went away for the off season to make sure they come back in the best shape of their lives,” Beale told Sky Sports.
“This is the moment in the season when you could get a chance because the manager doesn’t have all of his players around [due to summer tournaments].
“It’s a really big chance because there are four first-team friendlies over two weeks before they go to America for the International Champions Cup.
“But we’re very careful with how we manage the players and we’re also keen to make sure they don’t get ahead of themselves in these moments. We learn a lot about the players at this time of year.”
Goalkeeper Danny Ward signed a new five-year deal on Monday before joining Huddersfield on a season-long loan where he will play for David Wagner, who worked under Klopp at Borussia Dortmund.
With Liverpool reportedly set to snub the invitation of playing their U21 side in the EFL Trophy, the club have several youngsters that they would like to go out on loan, but Beale says the club will take their time before deciding which ones leave.
“I think for me if we can keep the players that were in and around it last year I would take that every day because of the education they get with Jurgen,” he added.
“If we feel like we can get a youngster involved and the manager has them in first-team training every day and is going to use them, then 100 per cent we’ll choose to keep the player here.
“It also depends on which clubs come in for them and how they’re going to develop them as well as what the first-team squad looks like at the end of pre-season. I think the Euros has thrown every team’s squad into chaos for a month or so and I think clubs are waiting to see what happens this transfer window and will then decide about players.”
Beale took 45 of the club’s young players to Bavaria on Sunday for a pre-season training camp and two friendly matches against German first-team opposition.
“We’re playing Sonnenhof who are a Bundesliga 3 team and Erzgebirge Aue, who got promoted to Bundesliga 2 last season and we’ll be taking on both of their first teams,” Beale said.
“We come back and play Rhyl, which is good for our fans in North Wales and then Celtic U21s, which will be great for the Scottish Reds, before facing Morecambe’s first-team before their season starts.”