Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn continued their stint with the first-team squad in a week where the off-the-field matters dominated the events that happened at Kirkby.
The pair have been long-term servants to the Reds’ academy, eventually making the breakthrough to the first-team this season, and both were unused substitutes against Bournemouth yesterday.
Liverpool may have to get used to nurturing more homegrown youngsters on a temporary basis, after the club was hit with a two-year ban on signing academy players from other Premier League clubs.
The punishment, along with a £100,000 fine, was a result of the club reportedly tapping up a Stoke City schoolboy by offering him inducements which was banned by the Premier League.
The club allegedly offered the youngster tickets and offered to pay for his school fees, but withdrew the offer because they breached another rule for giving special treatment to just one player.
Upon the breach, the parents are left in grand debts and are suing the Merseyside club and the Premier League introduced a process where both parties must sign a declaration over any transfers.
Moreover, the player in question cannot leave the Stoke City academy until the club are paid around £50,000 in compensation, and the Reds have reportedly accepted the sanction.
This means that Liverpool cannot sign any academy youngster from another Premier League club until March 2018, and cannot sign players who have been at their club for at least 18 months.
If there is another instance of the club repeating their actions before 2020, then the Premier League will reportedly activate a one-year ban on top of their current punishment.
Another schoolboy has been in the news this week at Kirkby, with U18s captain Liam Coyle signing his first professional contract with the club. Coyle, 17, is known for his tough-tackling and has been ever present in the U18s midfield since making his debut as a 15-year-old last season.
Coyle’s U18s team-mate Okera Simmonds has enjoyed a good season for Neil Critchley’s side, making his breakthrough to the side where he has scored five goals this season. This latest step in his journey comes after several injuries and setbacks, with the midfielder revealing to liverpoolfc.com that he suffered from mental issues during his spells out of the team.
Simmonds, 17, also spoke of how he left the club in the summer, only for Critchley and Alex Inglethorpe to encourage him to return and he hasn’t looked back since.
The former Manchester United and Manchester City school will look to finish the season strongly for the U18s as they look to finish the play-off stages without a defeat.
Simmonds starred in their latest game, but his 85th minute strike wasn’t enough as West Ham equalised from the penalty spot in added time to condemn the hosts to a 1-1 draw.
LIVERPOOL U18s: Atherton; N Williams, R Williams, Johnston, Glennon; Coyle, Sharif; Longstaff (Camacho 77’), Jones, Millar; McAuley (Simmonds 69’).
That wasn’t the only disappointing result off the pitch this week, as a youthful U23s side were knocked out of the Premier League Cup after a 1-0 defeat at home to Norwich City.
Ebou Adams scored the only goal in the tenth minute, and Mike Garrity’s side would have felt disappointed not to test the Canaries goalkeeper with Rhian Brewster, Toni Gomes and Madger Gomes in the starting line-up.
LIVERPOOL U23s: Kelleher; Whelan, Phillips, Masterson, Hart (Brewitt); Williams, Virtue; M Gomes, Alves (Dhanda), Brewster; T Gomes.
Written by Scott Taylor.