What Liverpool youth players have been told ahead of Champions League final

Liverpool Under-18s, managed by Barry Lewtas, played their last competitive match of the season on May 4.

But the teenagers – along with the Under-23s – are being ordered to play on because the club want them used to the demands of senior football.

The Under-18s have been training amid sweltering heat at the Kirkby Academy this week.

They will now travel with the Under-23s to Belgium on Friday to face Club Brugge before a three-day tournament in Netherlands at the end of the month.

It means the Under-18s won’t finish their season won’t end until June 3 – two days after the Champions League final on June 1.

Explaining the decision to get the next generation to play on, boss Lewtas said: “We were keen to make sure, at the back end of the season, the boys’ programmes are as diverse as possible.

“The season might appear that it’s over, but the boys are still training extremely hard and there’s still stuff to do.

“We always planned to be in up until June 3. The boys knew they were going to be in for a long season.

“We’ve said time and time again, we try and mirror as much as what we can do to the first team. So trying to keep the boys in for a longer period of time this year just mimics what has happened to the first team.”

In between their two trips abroad, on May 24, the Liverpool youngsters will climb Snowdon to raise money for the Stephen Darby Foundation.

Darby retired from football in September 2018 after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

Lewtas said: “A lot of the images and some of the things that we showed the boys in the FA Youth Cup run dated back to when Stephen played.

“Seeing some of the pictures of them celebrating and our boys living that as well this year, I think it’s very apt that we try and support the foundation in this way.

“How the club works, it’s one big family really. So when someone moves on and their journey goes elsewhere, they’re never forgotten. It’s the same in the Academy.

“The amount of boys that we see go through the Academy, some of their journeys will take them to the first team here, some of their journeys will take them elsewhere. But obviously they’ve grown up here and been part of the club.”

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