Liverpool could involve youth players in Merseyside derby vs. Everton - U23s boss
LIVERPOOL -- Liverpool under-23s manager Neil Critchley admits his options for an upcoming game could be depleted due to potential involvement for a number of his players in the Merseyside derby.
With injuries building up within Jurgen Klopp's squad, 19-year-old Conor Masterson was named as a substitute for Liverpool's 3-0 Champions League win over Manchester City on Wednesday, while fellow youngsters Rafael Camacho, Curtis Jones, Nathaniel Phillips and Herbie Kane all trained at Melwood in the build up to the quarterfinal first leg.
Liverpool U23s play Arsenal at Prenton Park on Friday night, with Critchley's selection for that game revealing who could possibly be in contention for a place in the first-team squad against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday, with a 12 point gap to Chelsea in fifth place and an upcoming Champions League quarterfinal second leg against Manchester City to consider for Klopp.
"Hopefully some will be involved," Critchley told reporters. "You will be able to work out who is not playing for us and think they have a chance of being involved on Saturday.
"If we don't have a few players involved then that will be great for us because it means there is a chance they will be involved in the derby, which is a great occasion to look forward to.
"You always sense that the younger players -- they are not daft or stupid -- they see what is happening and they sense they start to smell it that there could be an opportunity.
"Like Conor, would he has been expecting that? No -- even three or four days ago he wouldn't of. But they have to be ready. We have to prepare they every day in training.
"We lost a few games at U23s [level] recently, but we are always on about the bigger picture. The bigger picture is that these players are going to have a career in football, the U23s team doesn't have a career. So the process never changes. The results at U23s level doesn't change the way we develop our young players."
Masterson, who had only been named in a first-team squad on one occasion before Wednesday night, said being part of the side at Anfield was "an unbelievable experience from start to finish."
"It was great for me -- and obviously the team to get the win. Jurgen came to me [on Tuesday] and told me I'd be involved," Masterson said. "I just got myself ready.
"You have to adapt whatever comes your way. You have to learn from it and experience it. That's what I did.
"I told [my family] on Tuesday night so they flew over and they were watching. I said I'd give them a wave. It was nice."
Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.