Match preview: Young Reds to start 2017-18 at Derby County

Steven Gerrard begins his new career as Liverpool U18s boss when the young Reds face Derby County in their first league game of 2017-18 on Friday – a match you can watch exclusively live on LFCTV GO.

The former Reds skipper, who started the role at the beginning of July, replaces previous manager Neil Critchley, who is now in charge of the U23s.

Ahead of the season opener against the young Rams, here is our match preview.

Where is the game being played? The match is at Derby County’s academy at their Moor Farm training complex. Kick-off is at 1pm BST.

How can I watch the game? We are showing this match live on LFCTV GO with our single-camera coverage. Sign up for LFCTV GO now.

Last season head-to-head: Liverpool U18s did the double over their Derby counterparts last season, winning 5-1 away from home with Glen McAuley, Rafael Camacho, Yan Dhanda and Bobby Adekanye - plus an own goal - on the mark. In Kirkby, the young Reds won 2-0 with Liam Millar and Curtis Jones netting.

A couple of seasons ago this away fixture at Derby ended in an incredible 5-5 draw, Ryan Kent among the Liverpool scorers.

View from the manager

Gerrard: “We’ve watched some tapes of Derby U16s from last season and a lot of those players will be full-time now, and also we’ve got some information from Critch [Neil Critchley] and Scott Mason, who played against Derby last season.

“They will be strong, they will be physical like most teams at this level and they usually have a big No.9 who they will play off and go as early as they can, so we will be ready and that’s what we will be working on this week, on Derby’s strengths and weaknesses and to see if we can exploit them.

“Ideally, I would have a few more players fit at the moment because I’ve got two full-backs out injured, I’ve got a centre-half out injured, so we are short defensively and really heavy on forwards and midfielders.”

View from a player

Rhys Williams is a promising centre-half from Preston who made his U18s debut as a schoolboy last season.

As he starts his first year as an Academy scholar, Williams is hoping to make a big impression under the tutelage of Gerrard.

Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com, Williams said: “Playing under Steven Gerrard is a privilege. He is making us better physically. He wants us to replicate what our manager does with the first team and we have to be fitter.

“We know we all have to give everything we have got to progress and stay in this team.

“The challenge from Derby will be extremely difficult. They are hard to break down, they can park the bus and hit you on the counter-attack.

“Physically it will be a big test for us, but we’ve got a lot of talent in this group and we all hope it knits together.”

Asked what it means for him to put on the red shirt on a regular basis, he added: “I think it’s every young lad’s dream to play for Liverpool.

“They are a massive club worldwide with a huge history and I was absolutely delighted to sign my scholarship recently.”