Liverpool to meet Gary Neville’s Salford City and ex-academy duo in cup

Liverpool will enter the EFL Trophy for the fourth consecutive season in 2022/23, and will face off with Gary Neville’s Salford City during the group stage.

Having initially turned down the invitation to take part in the revamped EFL Trophy, Liverpool eventually entered the competition in 2019/20.

The EFL Trophy, currently known as the Papa John’s Trophy, pits under-21s sides from the Premier League and Championship against senior opposition from League One and League Two.

So far, Liverpool are yet to win a single game from nine in the competition, but it is still considered a valuable experience for those young players involved.

Neco Williams is among those to have profited from the exposure to senior football, and three years on from his EFL Trophy bow he is now a regular starter with Wales and touted with a £15 million move to Nottingham Forest.

The club will be hoping for more success this season, having been drawn in Group D alongside Accrington Stanley, Rochdale and Salford City.

It will be the second time the Liverpool U21s have met Accrington and Rochdale in the competition, but the first time they will play Salford.

ROCHDALE, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 31, 2021: Liverpool's Mateusz Musialowski during the English Football League Trophy match between Rochdale AFC and Liverpool FC Under-21's at Spotland Stadium. Rochdale won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Salford have been settled in League Two since 2019, five years after the investment of Peter Lim and members of Man United‘s ‘Class of 96’, including Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt.

David Beckham also purchased a 10 percent stake in the club in 2019.

Meanwhile, the young Reds could come up against two familiar faces in their clash with Accrington, with academy graduates Joe Hardy and Liam Coyle currently part of the first-team squad at the Crown Ground.

The pair both joined Accrington upon their release by Liverpool last summer, though Hardy spent the second half of last season on loan with Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Liverpool will be away for all three of their EFL Trophy group games, with under-21s coach Barry Lewtas set to manage the side supported by under-18s manager Marc Bridge-Wilkinson.