Aston Villa are no strangers to Liverpool this season, nor is their talented academy side – and now another cup contest awaits against a familiar set of youthful faces.
Villa became the youngest team to face Liverpool back in January when they fielded a lineup with an average age of 20.65 years.
It came to be due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the senior squad before the two teams met in the FA Cup third round, where seven players from the under-23s and four under-18s were named in the XI.
A spirited performance followed against a strong Liverpool side, with the impressive Louie Barry equalising before a damaging three-goal spell in five minutes sealed victory for the Reds.
And now 17-year-old Barry will be out for a spot of redemption for Villa, this time in FA Youth Cup with the U18s sides to battle it out in the final later this month – the date is yet to be confirmed.
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The young Reds secured their place in the final by notching a 2-1 win over Ipswich on Wednesday, with the highly-rated Mateusz Musialowski and Melkamu Frauendorf helping complete the comeback.
Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s side have been in unforgiving form in the competition having eliminated Sutton United, Man United, Leicester City, Arsenal and Ipswich to an aggregate score of 17-3.
They must now overcome a Villa side on their home turf after the draw designated Villa Park as host for the final, where fans are expected to be in attendance in line with steps out of lockdown.
Lamare Bogarde, Arjan Raikhy, Benjamin Chrisene and Barry have been central figures for Villa’s U18s this season and were part of the XI to play against Klopp’s side earlier in the year.
The latter is the obvious danger man after netting his 20th goal of the season from just 22 starts in the semi-final win over West Brom.
Liverpool are aiming to win their fifth FA Youth Cup and second in three seasons following on from the success in 2018/19 – where eight of those finalists have since had senior outings.