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Thursday 01 May 2014

BU21PL profile: Future bright for free-flowing Reds

A profile of Liverpool's Elite Development Squad ahead of Friday's play-off against Man United

  • With an eye for the pass Cameron Brannagan (left) has thrived in a free attacking role

  • Hometown boy Jordan Rossiter scores against Wolves at Anfield in February

  • Dunn, who burst on to the scene with the U18s aged just 15, is top goalscorer this season

  • There is a genuine belief from Alex Inglethorpe's players that they will get a first-team chance

Liverpool

Ahead of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League play-off semi-final between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on Friday night, journalist and LFC TV commentator Steve Hunter provides a profile of the first team to book their place in the last-four stage, Alex Inglethorpe's Liverpool.

BU21PL leading scorers
10 Jack Dunn
7 Kristoffer Peterson
6 Joao Carlos Teixeira

BU21PL leading appearances
20 Lloyd Jones
17 Jordan Rossiter
16 Jack Dunn
14 Brad Smith
13 Cameron Brannagan

Usual formation
Diamond, 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3.

Usual style of play
Alex Inglethorpe's side play the same way as the first team. They can play a diamond formation, 4-2-3-1 and even a 4-3-3. They play a slick, fast-passing and pressing game.

Team's strengths
Liverpool play outstanding football like the first team. They have some hungry and talented players eager to impress and despite frequently fielding very young teams they have enjoyed an outstanding season. As ever there is always room for improvement and there is a great deal of mutual respect between coach Inglethorpe and his players.

Liverpool Under-21 manager: Alex Inglethorpe
Inglethorpe has done a magnificent job since being appointed Under-21s manager in November 2012 after spending six years coaching at Tottenham Hotspur. The former Watford midfielder is highly respected by his players and has followed Brendan Rodgers' footballing philosophy. Under the tutelage of Inglethorpe there is a belief from the young players that they will get an opportunity at first-team level in the future.

Three key players

Cameron Brannagan (17, midfielder)
The Manchester-born midfielder has been with Liverpool since the age of five and is a prime candidate for player of the season. Excelling in a new No 10 role, Brannagan has thrived in the freedom afforded him by Inglethorpe. Brannagan can pass the ball, create and score goals.

Jordan Rossiter (17, midfielder)
The Liverpudlian recently celebrated his 17th birthday by signing his first professional contract with his hometown club. An exciting midfielder, Rossiter has a good engine and desire to win. The midfielder also boasts excellent passing ability and his consistent displays have belied his tender years.

Jack Dunn (19, forward)
Another local lad, Dunn burst on to the scene when making his Under-18s debut as 15-year-old. This season, however, he has come on in leaps and bounds. With 10 goals Dunn is the team's leading goalscorer and comes into the play-offs with seven goals from his last seven matches. He can play anywhere across the forward line and last weekend was called up to the first-team squad for the Anfield match with Chelsea.

2013/14 BU21PL match to remember
I am going to pick out the 5-0 win over a strong Tottenham Hotspur side managed on the day by future first-team head coach Tim Sherwood, at St Helens' Langtree Park, on 7 October. Inglethorpe's side produced an outstanding display and scored some sparkling goals, epitomised by a magnificent strike from Brad Smith, who was making his first appearance for almost 12 months after being sidelined by a knee injury.

Players to have featured for first team this season
Brad Smith (one appearance in Barclays Premier League v Chelsea, 29 Dec)
Joao Carlos Teixeira (one appearance in Barclays Premier League v Fulham, 12 Feb)
Jordan Rossiter and Cameron Brannagan have featured as unused subs.

Match details
Tickets for Friday night's match at Anfield are £5 for adults, £1 for concessions and £3 for disabled and ambulant. Kop stand tickets are available to purchase by calling 0843 170 5555 (overseas +44 151 907 9399) or visiting the ticket office in person, until 12pm on May 2. Disabled tickets are also available to purchase via the aforementioned telephone numbers. Please note the sale of tickets for this fixture will end at 5.45pm on Friday 2 May, with no tickets available beyond that time.

Previous BU21PL meeting this season
19 August
Manchester United (Cole, Lingard) 2-4 Liverpool (Ibe, Morgan, Borini 2)

Fixtures

Barclays Under-21 Premier League semi-finals
1 May Manchester City v Chelsea, 7.15pm, Etihad Stadium (live on Sky Sports)
2 May Liverpool v Manchester United, 7.45pm, Anfield (live on BST)

Final Barclays Under-21 Premier League table (top)

  P W D L GD Pts
Chelsea
21 13 5 3 23 44
Liverpool
21 13 3 5 25 42
Man Utd
21 11 6 4 16 39
Man City
21 12
2
7
22 38
Fulham
21 11 5 5 8 38
Leicester 21 11 4 6 7 37
Southampton
21 11 3 7 5 36
Sunderland
21 10 5 6 7 35

Find out the full Barclays U21 Premier League fixture list here and view the table here.

You can follow developments on Twitter with the Premier League's account @premierleague or via the hashtag #BU21PL

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Key Points

  • Barclays Under-21 Premier League play-off semi-finalists Liverpool in profile
  • Alex Inglethorpe's side take on Manchester United at Anfield on Friday night
  • The match is a repeat of last year's semi-final which was won by eventual champions Man United