Liverpool Could Possibly Field Team Consisting of English Players Only
The new UEFA rule implemented in the beginning of the season means every team has to register at least eight homegrown players in the 25-man squad, with at least four from the minimum eight coming from the clubs' youth academies.
Rafa was forced to leave veteran Sami Hyppia out of Liverpool's Champions League squad this season in order to satisfy the new rule.
The new rule is undoubtedly a good one as more local players can have the opportunity to play in elite competitions. If the rule had not been introduced, Jay Spearing, Stephen Darby, and Martin Kelly would probably not make their Champions League debut so soon.
Liverpool can well cope with the new rule, but there is another proposed 6+5 rule which FIFA President Sepp Blatter is very eager to introduce.
After the exits of Robbie Keane and Jermaine Pennant, the only British players Liverpool have that play regularly are skipper Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.
Perhaps it is impossible for Liverpool to field six local boys week in week out based on their current first team squad. However, it is possible for them to field at least six local players in two seasons judging by the local talents they have in the reserves and youth ranks.
Therefore, I formed a team of English players from Liverpool squad who are young and developing well.
Goalkeeper: David Martin
At the age of 23, it is probably time for David Martin to be featured in first team football in the Premiership. Liverpool has Jose Reina standing firm between the posts but fringe keepers Diego Cavalieri and Charles Itandje did not impress when they were given chances in cup games.
Currently on loan at Leicester City, David Martin could well be Liverpool's No. 2 goalkeeper next season.
Right Back: Stephen Darby
He is regarded by many fans as one of the most promising Scousers after making his debut in November 2008. He was a key part of the 2006 and 2007 Youth Cup victories where he was the skipper on both occasions. At the age of 20, Rafa will probably start to feature him more often in first team matches.
Left Back: Robbie Threlfall
Not much hype around this 20-year-old Scouser, but Robbie Threlfall is nevertheless a talented defender. Fearless tackles, strong physique, and quickness at surging forward are his strengths.
Centre Back: Jack Hobbs
This towering defender has made five appearances in the Liverpool outfit. Currently on loan at Leicester City, the 20-year old is good in the air and can play midfield as well.
His first start came in October 2007 and it was a memorable one for him as he partnered Jamie Carragher and had to play against Robbie Fowler, who was representing Cardiff.
Centre Back: Martin Kelly
Turning 19 next month, Martin Kelly made his debut against PSV Eindhoven in December 2008. His tall figure makes him good in the air and he is currently learning his trade under Gary Ablett in the Liverpool Reserves.
Right Midfielder: Paul Anderson
Paul Anderson has always been rated as one of the most talented youngsters by fans across the globe. At the age of 20, the pacey winger has had several loan stints at Swansea and Nottingham Forest. Yet to make his senior debut, but could be seen running in the Liverpool outfit next season.
Left Midfielder: Adam Hammill
A product of the Academy, the 21-year-old winger was also part of the 2006 Youth Cup winning side. Adam Hammill can play on both flanks and is currently on loan at Barnsley until the end of the season.
Centre Midfielder: Steven Irwin
Steven Irwin is a versatile Scouser who can play in various positions in the centre of the park and along the back four. He has a bit of everything; fierce tackle, nice touch, and great leadership. Aging 18, he was among the eight homegrown players registered by Rafa in Liverpool's Champions League squad this season.
Centre Midfielder: Jay Spearing
This 20-year-old defensive midfielder has made two European appearances against PSV Eindhoven and Real Madrid respectively. He caught many eyes and is regarded as one of the youngsters that will become a first team regular soon. Jay Spearing is short but he is one of the best young tacklers in the country.
Striker: Craig Lindfield
Another fine product by the Academy, 20-year-old Craig Lindfield is a clinical finisher and is a regular in scoresheets. Still waiting for his senior debut, he has represented England Under-19 and has had a few loan spells at Notts County, Chester City, and Bournmouth. He is currently on loan at Accrington Stanley.
Striker: Nathan Eccleston
The Manchester-born forward is also a product of the Academy. The 18-year-old Nathan Eccleston is a fast and creative striker. Currently in the Reserves, he is improving well and should make his senior bow soon.
Age 18, he is the No. 1 goalkeeper on the Liverpool youth team. He is set to graduate to Melwood in the summer.
Talented 20-year-old left winger who can also play as a centre midfielder and left back. He is famous for his long shots.
This highly potential 18-year-old midfielder survived a horrific car crash in April 2008. He is currently in rehabilitation after a major knee operation.
Current skipper of the youth team, this 18-year-old strong and powerful centre half has been one of the top performers this season.
Son of former Liverpool captain Paul Ince, this 17-year-old left winger is a good crosser and is a versatile player.
A talented player who can play as a right wing and striker. Turning 18 next month, this fast striker looks set to graduate to Melwood in the summer.
This 19-year-old started his career as a striker but is a full-time right back now. Currently in his third year on the youth team.
If the 6+5 rule is introduced, it will be a great opportunity for these young local lads to be featured in Liverpool's first team.
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