Liverpool U23s to play Porto, Wolfsburg & Leicester in Premier League International Cup

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Michael Beale’s Liverpool U23s will take on FC Porto, VfL Wolfsburg and Leicester City in this season’s Premier League International Cup.

The young Reds face a tough test in 2016/17 tournament, set to run from August to May, as the annual tournament expands.

Having previously included 16 teams, this year’s International Cup will see 12 teams taken from the new Premier League 2 setup and another 12 from around Europe.

Liverpool are among those included from England, and they will take on Porto, Wolfsburg and Leicester in the group stage.

This could see the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ovie Ejaria and Ben Woodburn face off against some of the best young players from the continent.

The Foxes’ U23s squad, for example, could include former Reds target Ben Chilwell, while the latest in a long line of talented Portuguese youngsters are on hand to push Porto to glory.

The International Cup is designed to give youth players a taste of the demands of European football.

While Liverpool’s first team is not competing in the Champions League or Europa League this season, the Reds’ seasonal objectives include qualifying for either.

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Friday, March 11, 2016: Liverpool's manager Michael Beale during the Under-21 FA Premier League match against Manchester United at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Jurgen Klopp at the helm, Beale’s youngsters are more likely to make the step up, too, ensuring the International Cup is an invaluable experience for the Reds.

PSV Eindhoven, Benfica, Villarreal, Sparta Prague, Dinamo Zagreb, Feyenoord, Celtic, Valencia, Athletic Bilbao and Hertha Berlin make up the rest of the European sides to feature.

Beale’s U23s already defeated Celtic’s development squad this pre-season, winning 2-1 in a behind-closed-doors friendly.

Jack Dunn scored both the goals in a positive afternoon for Liverpool, though the 21-year-old is unlikely to remain on Merseyside for the 2016/17 campaign.

SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND - Wednesday, August 19, 2015: Liverpool's Harry Wilson in action against Everton during the Under 21 FA Premier League match at Haig Avenue. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

One player who will play a key role as Beale looks to secure Premier League 2 and International Cup glory, however, is Wales international winger Harry Wilson.

Wilson signed a new long-term contract with the Reds on Thursday, following a successful comeback from injury.

Meanwhile, the Liverpool U23s have agreed a deal to play the majority of their domestic fixtures at Tranmere Rovers’ Prenton Park this season, along with three Premier League 2 clashes taking place at Anfield.

Dates and venues for the Premier League International Cup are yet to be announced.


Liverpool U23s’ Premier League 2 Fixtures, 2016/17

August

  • Sunday 14 – Southampton (H), 1pm – Prenton Park
  • Monday 22 – Chelsea (A), 7.05pm – Aldershot Town FC
  • Friday 26 – Arsenal (A), 7pm – Emirates Stadium

September

  • Sunday 11 – Leicester City (H), 2pm – Prenton Park
  • Monday 19 – Tottenham Hotspur (A), 7pm, White Hart Lane
  • Sunday 25 – Sunderland (H), 1pm – Prenton Park

October

  • Monday 17 – Manchester United (A), 7pm – Leigh Sports Village
  • Sunday 23 – Everton (H), 1pm – Prenton Park
  • Saturday 29 – Manchester City (A), 1pm – Venue TBC

November

  • Sunday 20 – Reading (H), 1pm – Prenton Park
  • Monday 28 – Derby County (A), 7pm – Venue TBC

December

  • Sunday 11 – Arsenal (H), 1pm – Anfield

January

  • Monday 9 – Leicester City (A), 7pm – Holmes Park
  • Sunday 15 – Manchester United (H), 1pm – at Anfield
  • Sunday 29 – Sunderland (A), 12pm – Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground

February

  • Sunday 5 – Tottenham Hotspur (H), 1pm – Anfield
  • Sunday 19 – Derby County (H), 1pm – The Academy

March

  • Monday 6 – Reading (A), 7pm – Venue TBC
  • Sunday 12 – Chelsea (H), 1.05pm – Prenton Park

April

May

  • Monday 8 – Everton (A), 7pm – Southport FC

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