LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, August 17, 2018: Liverpool's manager Neil Critchley during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool U23s learn EFL Trophy group opponents for first-ever senior competitive fixtures

Liverpool U23s will play in the EFL Trophy for the first time this season and learned their group stage opponents in Friday’s Round One draw.

While many Reds youngsters learn their trade at senior level by going out on loan, those who remain at Kirkby this term will still have the opportunity to taste first-team level action.

Playing against League One and League Two opponents, the U23s are in a four-team group in the Northern section, with games scheduled to start from early September.

EFL sides had already been split into groups ahead of Friday’s draw, which just left the invited sides to be allocated—the likes of Man United, Everton and Newcastle‘s U23 sides are also taking part.

And Liverpool will face an intriguing challenge after being drawn into Group B, where they will face Accrington Stanley, Oldham Athletic and Fleetwood Town.

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BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 11, 2019: Liverpool's Bobby Duncan during a pre-season friendly match between Tranmere Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While it’s Liverpool’s U23 team which will be entered into the tournament, the players featuring are likely to be considerably younger; 10 teenagers played in the first pre-season friendly of the summer for the first team and they are likely to make up the bulk of Neil Critchley‘s U23 side this term.

Bobby Duncan, Paul Glatzel, Adam Lewis and Ki-Jana Hoever could all be cornerstones of this team, playing against senior opposition—effectively the equivalent of them playing a League Cup game for Jurgen Klopp‘s side against similar lower-league opponents.

As for the Reds’ opponents, two are in League Two this season and one in League One.

Oldham finished 14th last season in the third tier of English football, while one division lower saw Fleetwood—managed by Joey Barton—finish 11th and Accrington 14th.