The Liverpool under-18s are set to welcome a host of new, youthful faces to their ranks in 2019/20, as Barry Lewtas nurtures the next generation of Reds.
Lewtas’ emphatic first campaign as manager of the U18s has proved bittersweet, as though it is the aim, he is set to see the majority of his squad promoted.
Among those expected to move up are Vitezslav Jaros, Ki-Jana Hoever, Morgan Boyes, Neco Williams, Yasser Larouci, Abdi Sharif, Elijah Dixon-Bonner, Bobby Duncan, Paul Glatzel, Luis Longstaff, Fidel O’Rourke and Jack Bearne.
Meanwhile, Rhys Williams has made the jump into senior football with a loan to Kidderminster Harriers.
Without many of his staples from the side that pushed Derby all the way in the U18 Premier League last season—finishing second only by goal difference—as well as winning the FA Youth Cup, the Fazakerley native faces a tough task.
But the beauty of the job is that a new crop are set to emerge to join other regulars from last season including Leighton Clarkson, Jake Cain, Remi Savage, Niall Brookwell and Tom Clayton.
Summer signing Jakub Ojrzynski, fresh from a dream pre-season travelling and training with the first team, will challenge Ben Winterbottom and Oscar Kelly for the No. 1 shirt.
Savage, Clayton and Brookwell should take up senior roles in defence, bolstered by Jarell Quansah, Owen Beck and, when he returns from injury, Jack Walls.
Clarkson and Cain surprisingly remained with the U18s over the summer, and the creative midfield pairing will form the backbone of Lewtas’ side once more.
All-change is due in attack, however, led by the hugely promising Layton Stewart.
This means the Liverpool U18s start the campaign at Blackburn on Saturday morning as something of an unknown quantity, and they may take time to fully adapt together.
Lewtas’ success in gelling last season’s squad, though, suggest he is the man to oversee this adjustment period, with the likes of Duncan and Glatzel serving as inspiration.
After scoring 59 goals between them in 2018/19, the strike duo earned a place in Jurgen Klopp‘s squad for pre-season, and though Glatzel suffered an ACL injury their impact has gained the first-team manager’s faith.
This will ensure a busy campaign for a new-look group, and the sights will be set high despite a summer of change.
Likely Liverpool U18s Squad, 2019/20
Goalkeepers: Ojrzynski, Winterbottom, Kelly
Defenders: Clayton, Savage, Brookwell, Quansah, Walls, Beck
Midfielders: Clarkson, Cain, Bradley, Norris, Hill, Woltman, Turner
Forwards: Stewart, Corness, Cannonier, Wilson