As we enter the business end of pre-season, there has been more activity in the academy than ever, so this week’s edition of the weekly round will summarise all that has happened both on and off the field at Kirkby Academy.
Liverpool Under 21s and Liverpool Under 18s both got there pre season games underway this week, where the Under 21s played host to League 1 side Shrewsbury Town whereas the Under 18s travelled to Derby to face Derby County U18s. There was a mixed set of results for the Academy sides as the Under 21s lost 2-0, but a brace from Under 18 winger Harry Wilson ensured that the Under 18s won 2-1.
Despite losing 2-0, it will be considered a good result for Alex Inglethorpe’s Under 21s because it was against Shrewsbury’s first team and they have had many departures from the squad, which meant that players such as Jordan Lussey, Yalany Baio and Daniel Trickett-Smith were all involved. This is not a criticism of these players ability, but all these players played in the Under 18s last season, so it will inevitably be a great step up for the players. Due to the lack of information released, I do not know the starting line-up for the Under 21s, but many players featured. It was a completely different story in the Under 18s, as they overcame Derby 2-1 in a thrilling match in which Derby took the lead. 21 players featured in the game at Derby but it was Harry Wilson who separated the sides with his brace. Wilson memorably scored a cracking goal against Wolves Under 18s in a 4-0 victory, and continued his fine form from last season by scoring another 2 goals. The 21 players that featured in the 2-1 victory at Derby are:
Ryan Crump; Andy Firth; Jack Alexander; Sam Hart; David Roberts; Dan Cleary; Kristof Polgar; Tom Brewitt; Nathan Burke; Corey Whelan; Seyi Ojo; Ryan Kent; Connor Randall; Will Marsh; Jerome Sinclair; Louis Robles; Matthew Virtue; Harry Wilson; Alex O’Hanlon; Dharius Waldron.
Do not normally write about the first team but there is also special mention for Jordon Ibe, as he scored in the first team’s 4-0 victory over Preston North End at Deepdale last Saturday. Ibe spent the majority of last season in the Under 18s and looks as if he is ready for first team football, but not as a regular starter.
There have been continuous rumours about Pedro Chirivella, but it now seems that Liverpool have signed the highly rated Spanish Midfielder from Valencia, but both teams haven’t agreed a final fee for Chirivella. The La Liga side want £3.5m for the 17 year old, but the Reds want to sign him for only £1.5m. If a final fee cannot be agreed, then the tribunal will set a final fee for the player, meaning it seems likely that Chirivella will be a Liverpool player very shortly, and will play in the Under 18s and the Under 20s, formerly the NextGen Series for the 2013/14 season. Chirivella seems to be the only arrival at Kirkby this week, as many deals were completed in recent weeks.
Although I touched on it last week, Suso has now officially signed for La Liga side Almeria on a season long loan. This will gain Suso valuable first team football and match experience, and it will make the player happier about a loan from Liverpool because he is now playing in his home country. In his 7th game for Almeria, he is likely to be facing Lionel Messi and his Barcelona team-mates, so it doesn’t get any bigger than that for the Spain Under 20 midfielder.
Suso is not the only Spanish Player leaving the club this week, as Dani Pacheco has opted out of the first team’s pre-season tour of Australia and the Far East to discuss his future, with strong reports linking the Under 21 striker to Celta Vigo, who only just survived relegation due to a significant contribution from Iago Aspas, who is now Liverpool’s new number 9. The move will benefit Pacheco because he is unlikely to break into the first team at Liverpool and although he has been very good for the Under 21s, he wouldn’t want to play there for the majority of his career. Also, a move back to Spain would suit Pacheco, who spent the second half of last season on loan at SD Huesca, where he scored 4 goals including one from a corner!
Another departure from the Kirkby Academy this week is that striker Armin Hodzic has gone out on loan to FK Zeljeznicar for another season. Hodzic was voted their Player of the Year by fans, the 18 year old striker scored 4 goals in 22 games for the Bosnian side. Hodzic hasn’t featured for the Under 21s at all since he has been waiting for a work clearance, but now he has obtained one, the club has sent him back to his home country for another season.
The next departure from Liverpool’s Academy is that of Under 21s Captain Conor Coady who has left the club to join League 1 side Sheffield United on a 6 month loan deal, which could potentially make or break the local lad’s career. Coady recently captained England Under 20s in the U20 World Cup, in which they crashed out in the group stages. Coady made just 1 appearance under Brendan Rodgers last season, in a victory over Fulham, so this loan move will be important if he is to succeed at Liverpool in the future. The final departure from Liverpool this week is that of Henoc Mukendi, who has joined newly promoted SPL side Partick Thistle until January 1st 2014 which an option to stay on. Mukendi is a 19 year old forward who can play as a Number 9 or as a left-wing forward, and was on loan last season at League 2 side Northampton Town and hasn’t really featured for any of the Academy sides frequently since his arrival in 2007.
New Season, New fixtures
For the 2013/14 season, the format has again changed which sees them be only one national division with 22 Academies in, and the top four will progress to the semi final stages. The first place team and the fourth place team will play each other, whereas the second place team and third place team will play one another. Liverpool Under 21s begin their 2013/14 campaign against Southampton on the 12th August, with a 2pm kick off. The two sides drew 1-1 last season with then LFC target Vergard Forren scoring for the Saints.
Where Are They Now…
As requested by you guys, the readers, I will now by adding a new section called ‘Where Are They Now’. This short column is focusing on former players for the Academy and where they are currently playing. I’m not sure whether to focus on one former player a week, or groups so to decide, leave a comment with your suggestion. For this week’s edition of where are they now, I will only be focusing on one former player and that is Marvin Pourie. Pourie has just completed a move from Silkeborg IF to the Danish champions FC Copenhagen. It seems a good move for Pourie as Copenhagen played Champions League football last season, and it will help the player develop as he will be playing against the best of players in the world, so I could only see the move as being a good one. Pourie is a striker and joined the Liverpool Academy in 2007 from Borussia Dortmund and made an instant impact for the Under 18s, scoring 12 goals in his opening season. However in 2009, he signed a contract with Schalke 04, but after several loan moves he moved to Silkeborg IF, scoring 23 goals in 55 games for the club and is now a Copenhagen player.
That’s all for this week’s Academy round up, if you enjoyed this blog be sure to like it and share it, they are all appreciated. If you want to make suggestion on how to improve this weekly feature, let me know in the comments or let me know on Twitter, and also follow me there for more updates on Liverpool’s Academy, I’m currently nearing 750 followers! And as always, keep your eyes out for another weekly round up next week.
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