Liverpool U19s finish sixth in Stemwede tournament
Liverpool U19s ended their academy season for 2016-17 after losing 3-2 to Werder Bremen in the fifth place play-off match. The young Reds eventually finished sixth in the 10 team Volksbank Cup in Stemwede, Germany.
Neil Critchley’s side won this tournament on their last visit in 2015, but despite playing some exciting football at times, couldn’t repeat that success this time around.
Critchley insists that valuable lessons have been learned after reflecting on the overall experience. “It was fantastic to be invited back to Stemwede, but unfortunately on the pitch, it didn’t quite go as well as we hoped, but still it was a positive experience for the boys,” Critchley told Liverpoolfc.com.
“It was actually very similar to a lot of our U18 performances towards the end of the season where our performances were generally good but we failed in the final third of the field. We didn’t score enough goals and if we had done that I feel we would have gone on to progress to the semi-finals and then who knows, but it wasn’t to be.
“After our group games, we had a must-win clash with SV Rodinghausen FC in our final group game. We drew 0-0 and missed a number of chances in that game. It was really frustrating because we should have won that game. We actually only conceded one goal in our four group games but we only scored in one of those games and that tells its own story, but the boys will learn from that.”
“Overall, these tournaments are invaluable for our young players,” he explained the reason behind why tournament participation on a regular basis is so important for the development of young players.
“To come and play against different opposition from around the world, experience different styles of play and also come up against different conditions is different to what we are used to. Coming away from their comfort zone and representing Liverpool FC in tournaments is part of their education and development, on and off the pitch.
“Apart from the slight frustration of not doing enough in the games that we played we have had a thoroughly enjoyable season and we can’t wait for it all to start again next season now.”
Lucas receives more offers from Turkey and Italy
Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva looks destined for a summer exit as he approaches the end of his contract. As per sources, Serie A clubs and reigning Turkish league champions Besiktas are keen on signing Lucas on a free transfer. The 30-year-old will be a free agent unless the Reds offer him a new contract.
Lucas has spent the last 10 seasons at Liverpool making a total of 346 appearances in all competitions. Besiktas are considering Lucas as a replacement for Canada international Atiba Hutchinson. However, the Istanbul giants could be priced out of the market as Lucas is reportedly demanding £4.2 million-a-season from clubs looking to sign him over the summer.
Besiktas would not be able to match his asking price and would only be able to sign the experienced midfielder if he is willing to lower his demands.