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Liverpool’s gesture to youngsters for League Cup final – “They are part of our squad”

Liverpool will include youngsters Tyler Morton and Kaide Gordon in their travelling squad for the League Cup final, to acknowledge their role on the road to Wembley.

When the Reds take on Chelsea in the final on Sunday evening, it is almost certain that the side that lines up will not include those who featured most regularly along the way.

Though goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher is a confirmed starter, the likes of Takumi Minamino, Curtis Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez – also in the top five for minutes clocked in this season’s tournament – are not certain to be involved.

Such is the improved strength of Jurgen Klopp‘s squad – and the magnitude of the occasion – there is little chance of the youngsters who were given exposure in the early rounds to even make a nine-man bench.

But Liverpool will provide for those closest to the first team to travel to London as part of the senior group, Pepijn Lijnders revealed on Friday.

“First of all, we speak a lot with them, so it’s not like we do something different with them now,” he told reporters.

“They know and they feel that they are our talents and they are part of our squad.

“What’s important is that they travel with us, at least the ones who are constantly with the first team, so Tyler, Kaide [and so on].

“So even when they don’t reach the squad, they will travel – if, [not when], because if I say a name now, Jurgen will change it!

“If you’re part of Liverpool Football Club, you don’t get a better or worse feeling if you are selected or not.

“You get the feeling by the people who are working here, and not just the coaching staff, all of us.

“We believe in this pathway to the first team, this inside pathway to bring talents [through], to give chances and to launch.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 22, 2021: Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates with team-mates after scoring the decisive penalty in the shoot-out after the Football League Cup Quarter-Final match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 5-4 on penalties after a 3-3 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“That’s why I am extra proud that we reached the final in this competition. Because this competition was all about the journey, and we made the final.”

It remains to be seen whether Morton and Gordon are the only academy youngsters to travel, with Conor Bradley playing three times on the route to Wembley and Harvey Blair, Billy Koumetio, Owen Beck and Elijah Dixon-Bonner all featuring too.

But it is a marker of Liverpool’s faith in their youth talents for the long term that they see, as Lijnders explained, that “they are our talents.”

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