The Reds face a tough task tonight as they arrive at Villa Park to take on Dean Smith’s first team, with the entirety of Jurgen Klopp‘s fit senior squad in Qatar.
With under-23s coach Critchley left in charge, the 41-year-old calls upon the best of the academy ranks, though injury and absence restricts his selection even further.
Pedro Chirivella is set to take up deep-lying duties in midfield, supported by the duo of Herbie Kane and Isaac Christie-Davies, who could serve as a much-needed goal threat in a game that could present few chances for the visitors.
And in attack start Harvey Elliott, Tom Hill and Luis Longstaff, with Hill marking an impressive season as a first-year scholar.
This means Boyes, Gallacher, Christie-Davies, Hill and Longstaff all make their first-team debuts tonight, while Herbie Kane and Sepp van den Berg make their first starts for the club at senior level.
Leighton Clarkson, Elijah-Dixon Bonner and Layton Stewart are among those named on the substitutes’ bench.
Critchley is aware it could be a tough night for his young Reds, and though his expectations are realistically low, the stand-in manager has urged his players to “play like a Liverpool team.”
They take on a Villa side who are without a win in their last four games and have lost each of their last three, which could highlight a slight chink in their armour.
If Liverpool are to capitalise, the efforts of Kane and Elliott could be particularly key.
Aston Villa: Nyland; Elmohamady, Chester, Konsa, Taylor; Douglas Luiz, Lansbury, Hourihane; Trezeguet, Jota, Kodjia
Substitutes Kalinic, Hause, Guilbert, McGinn, Grealish, El Ghazi, Wesley
Liverpool: Kelleher; Hoever, Van den Berg, Boyes, Gallacher; Chirivella, Kane, Christie-Davies; Elliott, Hill, Longstaff
Substitutes: Winterbottom, Clayton, Norris, Clarkson, Dixon-Bonner, Bearne, Stewart