Liverpool U23 manager Neil Critchley has hailed the youngsters who impressed in pre-season and hopes they will soon force a way into Klopp’s first-team plans.

Goalkeepers Kamil Grabara and Caoimhin Kelleher have made good of their opportunities with solid performances, Nathaniel Phillips has looked composed at centre-back, while Rafa Camacho has caught the eye on the flanks and Curtis Jones has oozed confidence in midfield.

Critchley has been watching their development intently and is confident this is only the beginning of a successful journey.

“By all accounts they have equipped themselves really well,” he told the official club website. “We’ve managed to watch most of, if not all of the games.

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BLACKBURN, ENGLAND – JULY 19: Curtis Jones of Liverpool during the Pre-Season Friendly between Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool at Ewood Park on July 19, 2018 in Blackburn, England. (Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

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“Looking in from afar, the boys have got some credit from the players and the staff and long may that continue. But it’s only the start for them.”

Kelleher, Phillips, Camacho and Jones were all involved in first-team training ahead of Sunday’s Premier League opener against West Ham, suggesting they will be part of the senior set-up this season.

“They have got a lot to do, a lot of things to develop, but I think they have improved and benefited from the experience,” Critchley said. “Hopefully, they have given the manager something to think about in the future.”

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South African Liverpool fan and freelance writer.

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