The U19s will be able to call on Ben Woodburn again this afternoon, with the Welshman having been made available for selection by first-team boss Jürgen Klopp.
Woodburn has captained the young Reds through this competition thus far and is likely to reprise the role today.
Jürgen Klopp wishes he could have witnessed at first hand the historic achievements that he believes have made Liverpool such a special club.
In an extended interview with Liverpoolfc.com, conducted at the team’s training camp in Marbella last week and now available to watch in full, the Reds manager discusses a wide range of subjects.
The German reflects on the progress made under his watch during the past two-and-a-half years and opens up on the responsibility and expectations that come with taking the job.
Klopp talks through the lessons he has learned since taking the reins in October 2015 and reveals how he unwinds away from the game when opportunities arise.
And the boss explains why the success secured by his predecessors in the dugout serves as inspiration to recreate such highs during his tenure at Anfield.
Exclusive interview: Jürgen Klopp on demands and dreams at LFC
Asked what makes Liverpool so special, Klopp replies: “It’s the history.
“If you ask me which time I’d want to go [back to] I would have loved to go to Bill Shankly’s time for a few days, to see how it was and feel how it made the club.
“This whole region is obviously completely football-mad. Having such a fantastic football team that creates dreams and stories – life is all about dreams and stories – I know is so important for all the people in the region. And I know it’s like this all over the world. This club stands for family, hard work and dreams.”
He continues: “I love the feeling the club gives to so many people around the world. They appreciate what we are doing.
“It’s really nice when we play a Champions League game at Porto and you know they are all watching, even when the other channel has Real Madrid v PSG! The Liverpool people all watched it – and that you can then deliver a performance like that is so cool.”
Jack Balmer is one Liverpool’s truly great forwards, having scored 111 goals in 312 games.
Born in 1916, in the West Derby area of the city, Jack broke with family tradition by becoming a Liverpool player. His family were staunch Evertonians and two of his uncles had actually played for the Toffees. Balmer initially followed in their footsteps, playing two seasons, as an amateur, for the Blues. However, they would let him go and Liverpool reaped the rewards.
Jack signed for Liverpool in 1935 at the age of 19 and was just getting into his stride when war broke out, robbing him of his best years. He’d managed 38 goals before the football league was suspended, one of which came in a Merseyside derby at Goodison Park in 1938.
Liverpool had lost the earlier game at Anfield, 1-2, and by February they were in 17th place and desperately in need of a win. Just over 33,000 turned out for the match, a surprisingly low figure for such a pivotal game for both teams.
Liverpool flew out of the traps from the kick-off, and Balmer opened the scoring inside 30 seconds. Everton equalised after eight minutes, but Liverpool went on to win the game 3-1.
Writing for the Liverpool Daily Post, a reporter called John Peel singled out Jack for his goal and assists, saying:
“Balmer, however, was the key-man of the forwards, for he opened the way by his astute passes and good positional play. He took the opening goal through an Everton man hesitating to clear, and then went on to pave the way for other goals.”
His potential was clear for all to see, but storm clouds were brewing in Europe and football would have to take a back seat. Jack made do with playing for the army during wartime and he was nothing short of prolific.
In total he played 101 unofficial wartime games between 1939-45, scoring 53 times.
After the war, he stayed with the Reds and became an integral member of the 1947 title-winning side, scoring 28 times. Balmer took the football world by storm that season and stunned everyone by scoring three consecutive hat-tricks.
His first came against Portsmouth, followed by four goals in 17 minutes against Derby County.
The Nottingham Journal, dated Monday 18th November 1946, spoke in glowing terms about Jack’s heroic feats,
“The game was a personal triumph for Jack Blamer, the team’s captain and inside right. Following his hat-trick of the previous week, he scored all four Liverpool goals and made the Derby defenders look very second-rate the way he ran through them, almost at his own free will.”
Next up was Arsenal at Anfield and the Reds ran out 4-2 winners. Jack opened the scoring with a penalty on 15 minutes, before bagging two goals in seven minutes, midway through the second half. Balmer had scored 10 goals in just three games and became only the third player in history to net three hat-tricks in a row in top-flight football.
Balmer ranked this achievement among his most treasured memories, stating modestly:
“Towards the end of a long career memories crowd thick and fast on one. That which remains most fresh in my mind was when I had the good fortune, thanks to the unselfishness of my team-mates, to score three successive hat-tricks in 1946-47.”
Strangely this amazing flurry of trebles has overshadowed the fact that they were part of a run of scoring in seven consecutive games, from November to December, in which he netted a total of 15 times. This was a truly remarkable striker.
Jack was also a true sportsman and a gentleman of the game. Perhaps he could have reached even greater heights, had he been a little more selfish. Another Reds captain, Don MacKinlay held his teammate in the highest regard, but felt that if Balmer had added a little more “devilment” to his game, he could have become the best in the world.
This lack of an edge to his game, coupled with a decline in Jack’s powers seems to have turned a group of Liverpool supporters against the forward. Writing in his book, My 50 Golden Reds, in 1990, Bob Paisley tells the depressing story of how Balmer became an Anfield whipping boy in the latter years of his career.
“We never recaptured our championship form and slowly but surely the fans began to turn against Jack. I don’t honestly think I’ve ever known a player so harshly treated by Liverpool supporters as he was – but he managed to smile his way through although it hurt him deeply. He was a local lad, born and bred in Liverpool, and he gave everything to his only professional club but there was a group of supporters who could never forgive him because he didn’t get stuck into the tackle.”
Bob recalls how Jack took his criticism on the chin, saying:
“They were entitled to their opinion. Maybe I didn’t go in for the crunch tackle but that kind of thing wasn’t my idea of football. I was never a coward at the game but I got a shudder when I saw the boot going in.”
Liverpool’s next revival was the FA Cup run of 1950. The Reds made it all the way to the final, but were beaten by Arsenal, 2-0. Jack Balmer was at the end of his career, though still on the playing staff. He missed every game in the competition, thanks to a decision by the board, who picked the team in them days, to leave him out of the cup squad.
Manager George Kay would later reflect that the omission of Jack, along with Paisley from the final, was the reason Liverpool didn’t bring home the cup. However, the local lad still played a vital role in the dressing room.
Albert Stubbins once spoke of the players’ dressing room superstitions during the cup run, one of which was Balmer insisting that they sing “I’m sitting on top of the world” before every game in the competition. It served them well, up until they got fed up doing it in the semi-final against Burnley. It appears their luck ran out after they abandoned the tradition.
Jack hung up his boots in 1952 and became a Reds coach for a few years, but he had started focusing on his business interests. He had a building firm in West Derby village, which he ran with his sons.
When it came to his professional career, Jack Balmer was a one-club man. Born to a family of Evertonians, he gave his career to Liverpool and served the club and its supporters with distinction, captaining the Reds from 1947-49.
Sadly, Jack Balmer died at home on Christmas Day, 1984. He was just 68.
His one league title seems scant reward for such distinguished service in a red shirt. However, according to the greatest and most successful manager in English football, Jack Balmer was one of the best strikers to play for Liverpool. That from a man who discovered Ian Rush, is high praise indeed.
* Jeff is the author of the forthcoming book, Red Odyssey: Liverpool FC 1892-2017 – available to pre-order now.
Read more in this series profiling Liverpool’s scouse captains, here.
Liverpool Ladies return to Women's Super League action as they face Sunderland at the Select Security Stadium on Wednesday night.
Scott Rogers' charges got back to winning ways at the weekend when they defeated Chichester City Ladies 3-0 to reach the quarter-finals of the Women's FA Cup.
The Reds will now hope to take that form into the Women's Super League as they face an important home game.
Read on for more details about the clash...
Where is the game being played? The match is at the Select Security Stadium in Widnes, with kick-off set for 7pm GMT.
How can I watch? We will have highlights on LFCTV and LFCTV GO in the coming week.
View from the manager, Scott Rogers
"We had a disappointing week with the two games against Arsenal and Manchester City. I'm not going to lie about it because everyone can see it was a disappointing week for us. There were lots of factors behind it and during the biggest week of our season we were without some of our key defenders because of injury.
"Overall, in my opinion we have had a really good season so far and we don't want to let a bad week affect us and let all that hard work fizzle out. A bad week doesn't make a bad season. We have had a very productive season - we have shown that we can compete with the best in this league and we will continue to do so. It's about making sure between now and the end of the season we stand up and be counted."
Liverpool were last in the UEFA Youth League last 16 back in 2015, with only seven of Neil Critchley’s matchday squad still on the books.
The young Reds took on Benfica at Caixa Futebol Campus having edged through a tight group after finishing level on points with both Real Madrid and Basel.
With Brendan Rodgers’ first team already fallen at the first hurdle in the Champions League, this provided the U19s with a chance to upstage their senior counterparts.
In their way stood a formidable Benfica side, however, and goals from Hildeberto Pereira and Diogo Goncalves sandwiched an effort from Sergi Canos in a 2-1 defeat.
More important, though, was the development of the young players in Critchley’s squad, with promotion to the first-team setup the aim for the long term.
But from that side to suffer defeat in Portugal, 11 have since left the club, while only one is now a regular under Jurgen Klopp.Benfica 2-1 Liverpool
UEFA Youth League Last 16, Caixa Futebol Campus
February 24, 2015
Goals: Pereira 6′, Goncalves 75′; Canos 7′
Liverpool: Fulton; Whelan, Cleary, Hart (Phillips 90′), Maguire; Brannagan, O’Hanlon (Brewitt 90+1′), Chirivella (Ejaria 89′); Wilson, Canos, Sinclair
Subs not used: Firth, Lewis, Alexander-Arnold, Dhanda
Ryan Fulton was between the sticks that day, joining Hamilton Academical two years later, with three of his defenders Dan Cleary (Birmingham City), Sam Hart (Blackburn Rovers) and Joe Maguire (Fleetwood Town) also having departed.
Corey Whelan is the sole survivor from Critchley’s back four, with the 20-year-old currently on loan with Yeovil Town after spending the first half of 2017/18 as U23s captain.
Two of the U19s’ starting midfield have also gone, with Cameron Brannagan now with Oxford United and Alex O’Hanlon on the books at Glentoran in Northern Ireland.
Pedro Chirivella completed the Reds’ three-man unit that day, with the Spaniard now out on loan with Willem II in the Eredivisie.
Canos (Brentford) and Jerome Sinclair (Watford) have both since left the club.
Three of Critchley’s substitutes that day have also moved on: Tom Brewitt (Middlesbrough), Kane Lewis (unattached) and Adam Phillips (Norwich City).
The major success story, however, is Trent Alexander-Arnold—an unused substitute in the 2-1 loss.
Alexander-Arnold, who was 16 at the time, made two cameo appearances against Real and Basel in the group stage, but has made a rapid rise since.
Three years on from a quiet afternoon on the bench in Seixal, Alexander-Arnold made his 31st appearance for the first team, and his seventh in the Champions League.
That 5-0 thrashing of Porto marked the first time Alexander-Arnold had made three consecutive starts for Klopp’s side.
His progress since the loss to Benfica in 2015 can be an inspiration Steven Gerrard’s U19s as they prepare to take on Man United at Prenton Park on Wednesday, kicking off at 3pm.
But the 11 players who have left for pastures new also provide a salient reminder that supporters cannot get too carried away by the performances of Liverpool’s youngsters.
Liverpool U19s host Manchester United in the last 16 of the UEFA Youth League at Prenton Park on Wednesday afternoon.
Steven Gerrard's young Reds face off against Nicky Butt's team on the European stage in a hotly anticipated encounter that sees a place in the quarter-finals at stake.
Read on for more details on the fixture...
Where is the game being played? The match is taking place at Prenton Park, home of Tranmere Rovers, with kick-off set for 3pm GMT.
How can I watch the game? The match is live on BT Sport 2. We will have delayed coverage on LFCTV and LFCTV GO. Click here to sign up now.
If you wish to attend the game, admission is free for season ticket holders and Members who show their cards. Alternatively, tickets are priced at £3 for adults and £1 for children on the gate.
View from the manager, Steven Gerrard
"I was thinking about it the other day, playing Manchester United, and putting myself back to when I was there. I would have loved this occasion, to play against Manchester United for the U19s in the Champions League at Prenton Park. I wasn't lucky enough to have that so that's what I'm going to try and put across to them – revel in it, enjoy it, this is a magic moment in your young lives and if you get a nice win maybe it's a memory that might stay with you for a long time."
View from the player, Conor Masterson
"The whole team is buzzing. It's against our local rivals, we are really looking forward to it and it should be a good game. We have been speaking about this game since the draw was made and we can't wait for Wednesday. Playing Manchester United at Tranmere Rovers, hopefully we will get a decent crowd and it should be a good game."
Conor Masterson has revealed Liverpool's U19s can't wait to face Manchester United in Europe this afternoon in what represents one of the biggest games of their fledgling careers.
A place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Youth League is at stake as Steven Gerrard’s side take on the Red Devils in a last-16 tie at Prenton Park.
Read on for Masterson's thoughts on taking on United, Prenton Park being a lucky omen for the Reds, and playing for his hero Gerrard…
On the excitement of facing United in Europe…
“The whole team is buzzing. It’s against our local rivals, we are really looking forward to it and it should be a good game. We have been speaking about this game since the draw was made and we can’t wait for Wednesday. Playing Manchester United at Tranmere Rovers, hopefully we will get a decent crowd and it should be a good game.”
On the importance of starting well…
“I think the first 10 to 15 minutes is so important and we have to start well. We have to deal with the pressure and the hype of the game, relax and then hopefully we can do well.”
On his family coming over from Ireland…
“My uncle and his friend are coming over to watch it, my mum and dad will be there and it will be nice. In Dublin you are either a Liverpool fan or a Manchester United fan so it’s a good game to look forward to on Wednesday.”
On Prenton Park being a good venue for the Reds in the tournament so far…
“We have won every game in the UEFA Youth League at Prenton Park so far and we haven’t conceded a goal there, either, so hopefully that will stand us in good stead on Wednesday.”
On starting the tournament with a goal in a 4-0 win over Sevilla...
“Steven Gerrard and Critch [Neil Critchley] gave us a good talk before that game and we were buzzing. We just went out and tore them apart really. I was happy with my goal, to be honest. It was nice to get on the scoresheet but it was most important we got the win.”
On playing for the U19s under Gerrard…
“To be honest, that has been unbelievable. He was my idol since I don’t know what age. To work with him, be around him and just to get tips off him is surreal really. I love working with him and Critch. I have learned a lot from Critch, defensively and tactically. He has really helped me as I’ve come up the age groups.”
On the absence of Rhian Brewster and opportunities for Liam Millar and Glen McAuley…
“It has been a great season from Rhian, he has done really well and he needs to be happy with himself. He’s a top player and we are going to miss him, but now it’s a chance for Liam and Glen to shine and hopefully they can deliver. Liam has done really well for us, he has pace, power and he can finish as well. Glen is a funny lad, he is always there around the goal and if we need someone to score he might be the one.”
On playing as a right-sided centre-back in a back three in the tournament so far…
“We are used to it because we played that way under Critch a few times last season as well so it’s not too different. I don’t mind and I think we’ve adapted to it and I enjoy playing that way. Attacking-wise it’s easier because we get players up the pitch quicker and it helps us score more goals.”
On being one of the more senior players…
“At the start of the season for the U23s we were the youngest and now we are the oldest! [Critchley] just wants us to be the leaders on the pitch and help the young lads.”
On the display of 16-year-old Neco Willliams for the U23s against West Ham United on Saturday…
“He was very good. I thought Neco did really well against West Ham. That was a tough game but I thought he handled himself really well. I was talking a lot to him and he did well.”
We will have delayed coverage of this tie on LFCTV and LFCTV GO, while fans can also follow live updates on Liverpoolfc.com.
Kick-off is at 3pm GMT and supporters wishing to attend the game can click here for admission details.
Steven Gerrard's Liverpool U19s take on Nicky Butt's Manchester United counterparts in the UEFA Youth League knockout stages on Wednesday as the old adversaries reignite their rivalry.
The two former England midfielders went head-to-head for a decade on the pitch and are now key coaching figures at the academies from which they once graduated.
A product of the 'Class of 92', Butt made 387 appearances for hometown side Manchester United before joining Newcastle United in 2004, while Gerrard played 710 games for boyhood club Liverpool after making his senior debut in 1998.
Both wore the captain's armband, both won the Champions League and both are just three games away from the UEFA Youth League final in Nyon on April 23.
The pair shared the same pitch 11 times during their playing careers - with Gerrard winning the head-to-head 7-4 - and we've picked out five of their best clashes...
1. A taste of things to come
The pair first faced off in the 1999-2000 season when two own goals from Jamie Carragher helped United secure a 3-2 win at Anfield, but this December 2000 return meeting at Old Trafford saw a fresh-faced Gerrard put in the kind of commanding showing that would become the hallmark of his career.
Playing alongside Croatian Igor Biscan, the 20-year-old overpowered a United midfield that contained both Butt and Roy Keane. The LFC No.17 produced a masterclass in turning defence into attack and outclassed the experienced United duo.
A first-half free-kick from fellow midfielder Danny Murphy secured a 1-0 victory for the Reds and handed Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United their first home league defeat for two years.
2. On the goal trail
If Gerrard had been good in that initial clash of the 2000-01 season, he was imperious at Anfield three months later. From his starting position on the right of midfield he delivered a Man of the Match performance to dominate United's title-winning quartet of David Beckham, Butt, Keane and Ryan Giggs.
The youngster fired a thunderous 25-yard shot into the top corner to score the first of nine career goals against United and then turned provider for Robbie Fowler to make it 2-0. United's Butt was subbed out for Paul Scholes after 76 minutes as Liverpool secured a first league double over United since 1979.
The pair would face each other just twice more before Butt departed Old Trafford in the summer of 2004, claiming a win apiece.
3. Getting better all the time
Following Butt's move to Newcastle, the pair met on Tyneside in November 2007 as Gerrard, now captain of Rafael Benitez's Reds, silenced the boo-boys that had singled him out at St James' Park with a match-winning performance against Sam Allardyce's side.
Pitted against his old rival in the centre of the park, the Liverpool skipper opened the scoring with a trademark free-kick and set up goals for Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel in a 3-0 victory. All Butt had to show for his efforts was a yellow card.
4. An unstoppable force
In the return fixture at Anfield in March, Gerrard was deployed in a more advanced role while returning Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan hoped defensive midfielder Butt, now 33 years old, could put the brakes on the Liverpool skipper as he mirrored Benitez's 4-2-3-1 system.
The approach may have been different but the result was the same. A goal and an assist for Gerrard; a 3-0 victory for the Reds.
"With the freedom he has now, and the quality going forward, Gerrard is unstoppable," Benitez said after the match. Butt might have agreed.
5. Peak Gerrard
This December 2008 meeting was the penultimate time the long-time rivals went head-to-head on the pitch and it proved to be Gerrard's biggest ever victory over Butt as Liverpool ran out 5-1 winners against Newcastle at St James' Park.
The LFC No.8 carved through the Magpies midfield with ease to claim two goals and notch two assists in an all-action display that opposition manager Joe Kinnear described as 'one of the best individual performances I have seen'.
Butt was subbed out for Geremi at 3-1 down and had to watch the rest of the swashbuckling performance from the bench. Benitez's Premier League leaders were even applauded off the pitch by the home fans at the final whistle.
Liverpool U19s take on Manchester United in the UEFA Youth League this afternoon - and you can watch their 18 goals in the competition so far with our compilation on LFCTV GO.
Steven Gerrard's side host Nicky Butt's United at Prenton Park with a place in the quarter-finals of the European tournament at stake.
During the group stage, the young Reds won five games out of six and averaged three goals per match.
Ahead of today's tie, LFCTV GO subscribers can see a recap of how the free-scoring youngsters reached the knockout rounds below.
We will have delayed coverage of this tie on LFCTV and LFCTV GO. Follow live updates on Liverpoolfc.com.
For supporters wishing to attend the game, click here for admission details.
Sadio Mane became the 10th Liverpool player in the past 10 years to score a hat-trick when he netted three times against FC Porto last week.
The No.19 registered his first Reds treble to help Jürgen Klopp's side rack up a commanding 5-0 lead in their Champions League last-16 tie.
In doing so, Mane followed in the footsteps of nine men to have achieved the feat for the club since the beginning of 2008.
Can you remember them all? Click 'Next' below to reveal the list...