Date: 18th August 2011 at 1:49pm
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Liverpool got their NextGen series campaign underway on Wednesday night at home to Sporting Lisbon but it did not go well at all for the young Reds as we went down 3-0. Looking at the starting lineup before kickoff, I felt that we had a really good chance of winning the game as we fielded the likes of Coady, Shelvey, Silva, Sterling, Suso and Morgan.

But Kenny Dalglish believes that the young Reds can learn a lot from the defeat as they continue to progress as a team and as individual players.

“It’s an educational process for them,” Dalglish told Liverpoolfc.tv.

“It’s a great experience for our lads. They’ll see and I’m sure dissect the video and educate themselves about how they could improve. That’s what it’s all about for them – that’s why it’s called the Next Generation. You’re trying to educate and develop them and see how well they progress from there.

“Obviously Sporting Lisbon are fantastic at bringing players through and developing players into the first team, for their own club and for other clubs as well when they sell them on. They’re probably as good in Portugal in developing kids as anyone else is.

“It was always going to be a difficult game but I think we’re better than we played last night. In the second half we stepped it up a wee bit and there were one or two opportunities which if we’d scored it would have been interesting, we could have put them under a little bit of pressure.”

There are still five games for the Liverpool Under 19 side to play in the NextGen series and I am sure they will bounce back from this defeat. The first half display is what cost Liverpool the game as we did not come to the races at all but in the second half you could see the lads playing much better and we could have actually scored a goal or two which gives us hope going into the next game.

The longer these players in the Liverpool youth setup play together the better for us. I watched the Barcelona – Real Madrid game last night and if you saw the goals Iniesta and Messi scored, which were virtually identical finishes, the finishing was out of this world and the commentator said, “They were probably taught to finish like that from the age of 8”. We are doing the same at Liverpool and getting the basics and quality of skills right from a young age. When these players are now in their 20’s, we will have one heck of a team.