Brendan Rodgers to utilise youth in next season’s Europa League

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With Liverpool looking likely to only qualify for the Europa League this season, Brendan Rodgers says he will use it to blood the club’s considerable youth banks.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, April 30, 2015: Liverpool's Ryan Kent celebrates scoring the first goal against Everton during the Under 21 FA Premier League match at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have just three Premier League games left to salvage a coveted top-four finish, but if they fail to do so and merely qualify for the Europa League next season, Brendan Rodgers believes this is a good opportunity to utilise his youth stars.

The Reds take on Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Stoke City in their remaining league games, with current fourth-placed incumbents Manchester United in a better position to progress.

Depending on Aston Villa’s success in the upcoming FA Cup Final, a fifth, sixth or seventh-placed league finish could see the Reds qualify for next season’s Europa League.

Rodgers says he will look to utilise this potentially extended fixture list to give Liverpool’s academy talents an opportunity to impress.

“If you go back to my first year here when we were in the Europa League it was in that competition that we found some of our young players.

“I gave a lot of them the opportunity, a chance for the likes of Raheem [Sterling] and Andre Wisdom and young Suso, and in the end we finished on the top of that group with 10 points.

“So yeah it will be an opportunity for young players I’m sure and a competition that we will want to do well in.”

Liverpool’s U21s side are currently in contention to win their own league competition, vying with United’s side for the top spot.

A 3-1 victory over Everton U21s last week has helped them on the way, with a brace from Ryan Kent and a penalty from Sheyi Ojo sealing the three points as well as continuing to put names on Rodgers’ radar.

“Ryan is a young player who has done really, really well of late and he’s really maturing into a real talent.”

Kent could join the likes of Ojo, Jerome Sinclair, Harry Wilson and this season’s first-team components Jordan Williams, Jordan Rossiter and Cameron Brannagan as part of a group that could grace next season’s Europa League.

With the second-tier European competition now a route to the Champions League, however, whether this approach is the right way forward remains to be seen.

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Should Brendan Rodgers utilise his Liverpool youth stars if the Reds qualify for the Europa League next season? Let us know in the comments below.

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