Writer: Gavin Kelley-Day
Date:Wednesday January 15 2014
Liverpool's Academy youngsters take on Aston Villa tonight in round four of this season's FA Youth Cup...
Following their dramatic victory over Blackpool on penalties in round three, Neil Critchley's U18s face Aston Villa at St Helens Langtree Park tonight.
Villa reached this stage courtesy of a 4-3 win over Plymouth Argyle at Villa Park and they are the current NextGen Series champions.
Both club's have won this prestigious junior competition on three occasions and the fixture is likely to provide the young Reds with a huge challenge.
In truth, Liverpool's starlets were lucky to progress past Blackpool at a wet and blustery Bloomfield Road and Critchley admits they will need to improve significantly to go any further.
"We were disappointed with the performance on the night against Blackpool," explained the man headhunted from Crewe Alexander in September to Liverpoolfc.com. "I know the conditions were not ideal but we expected to do better.
"There was a real honesty about the players after the game and there were no celebrations and only disappointment. We didn't have to say much and it was like we'd been beaten, so I think that will serve us well going into the Aston Villa game.
"The lads learned a massive amount from Blackpool. We got caught up in the occasion, especially in the second half, and I think that will serve as a great experience for them.
"There was a real honesty and reflection on how they had played individually and some were really disappointed with themselves.
"It was quite a crazy night and I can't think of too many occasions of playing in conditions like that, and hopefully we don't get the same in the next game. Fortunately for us the result went in our favour on the night but it could easily have gone the other way.
"We have got to do better than we did against Blackpool and manage the game better, and we've got to play better."
Team wise there are injury doubts over Jerome Sinclair and Pedro Chirivella, while regular first team squad member Jordan Ibe is unlikely to be risked ahead of a potential loan move.
The tie is to be broadcast live on LFC TV and LFCTV Online from 6.30pm GMT. Kick-off is at 7.00pm GMT.
Tickets to attend the game are also available priced at just £5 for adults and £3 for concessions.
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Date:Wednesday January 15 2014
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