Jurgen Klopp hails Steven Gerrard’s role in bringing through Liverpool’s “next generation”

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Jurgen Klopp has showered new Liverpool U18s manager Steven Gerrard with praise, trusting the 37-year-old to nurture the “next generation.”

Gerrard returned to his boyhood club in February, operating in a wide-ranging role in the Academy, before taking over the under-18s at Kirkby this summer.

The long-serving Reds captain has begun his pre-season preparations and will take charge of his first behind-closed-doors friendly against Burton Albion on Friday.

With the U18s squad an ever-shifting unit, as many players get drafted into the U23s setup or even the first team, Gerrard’s job will be a difficult one.

But speaking as Gerrard continues his work at the Academy, Klopp stressed that he believes he is the right man to take the young Reds forward.

“I can imagine how excited he is,” he told LiverpoolFC.com.

“It’s a wonderful job to work with these skilled boys and to do the things you think are right for them, bring in new experience and learn a lot of things at the same time.

“It will be a fantastic time for him. Of course we’ll have a close relationship with him and the U23s, we always had it.

“It’s very important for us because that’s our next generation and we want to help them as much as we can. Of course we’ll be in close contact.”

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 22, 2017: Liverpool's Rhian Brewster celebrates scoring the second goal against Ipswich Town with team-mates Alberto Moreno [L] and Ben Woodburn [R] during the FA Premier League Cup match at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp has already seen a clutch of youngsters make the step up from the academy to the first team in his 21 months as Liverpool manager so far.

Last summer saw Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ovie Ejaria and Ben Woodburn take a focal role during pre-season, with Shamal George also among those included during preparations for 2016/17.

Young striker Rhian Brewster was also included in senior training towards the end of last season and was named on the substitutes’ bench in April’s 2-1 loss away to Crystal Palace.

Brewster would likely have been included more regularly this summer, but the teenager has been laid off with a broken foot.

Gerrard’s role in bringing through the “next generation” will see him aid this transition for more of Klopp’s promising young players, including the likes of Neco Williams and Curtis Jones.

Diego Lattie, Liam Coyle, Adam Lewis, Okera Simmonds, Luis Longstaff, Liam Millar and Glen McAuley will also be pushing for a key role under their new manager.

The new campaign can be a crucial one for many of Liverpool’s high-potential youngsters, and in Gerrard they have an ideal role model to oversee their progress.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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