In our latest interview with one of our under-18 stars, we spoke to Michael Ihiekwe about Youth Cup progress and how he can improve in 2010.
It's been a good week for the under-18s following the Youth Cup win over Wolves. Is there a sense that the season is beginning to take shape after a difficult start?
Well the Youth Cup win has definitely given us a buzz ahead of this weekend's game. We had a great start winning the two tournaments in pre-season, but it's been a bit indifferent since then. Hopefully we can end the year on a high and kick on in 2010.
You're through to the fourth round. How important is it for you to be involved in that competition?
It's very important. I wasn't involved on Monday, so I'd love to get the chance to play at Anfield next time around.
Is there a particular team you'd like to face?
Not really. Like I say, I'd just love the chance to play at Anfield so another home draw would be great.
It's only your first year with the under-18s and you've maybe not featured as much as you would have hoped. How are you adapting to it?
It's good. It's a big step up from the under-16s. It's great to come in here on a full-time basis and I'm really enjoying it. Hopefully I'll get more minutes on the pitch in the coming months but I'm aware that there are a lot of players competing for positions.
For fans who are unfamiliar with Michael Ihiekwe, what type of player are you?
I've been a centre back for most of my life, but I've also played in central midfield a bit this season. I'm quite versatile, I can play anywhere across the back four.
You're a local lad from Allerton. It's safe to assume you grew up worshipping heroes wearing red shirts...
Definitely. I've always looked up to the usual players you'd expect a 17 year-old red to watch. Gerrard, Carragher... I was a big fan of Xabi Alonso as well. As a centre back I have always looked to the likes of Rio Ferdinand and John Terry too.
How's life under Rodolfo Borrell?
It's good. We all respect him as a manager and I think he will change things for the better in the years ahead.
How's he coping with the language?
He speaks great English anyway but he's starting to pick up some Scouse now too!
One man who is something of an adopted Scouser, is King Kenny Dalglish. How's the banter with our former number seven?
Ha ha. It's great to have him here. He's an absolute legend and the best player to ever pull the red shirt on. He talks to all of us from time to time and you can see him watching us when we are training.
A few of the under-18 squad have already been to Melwood to train. Have you?
I went up last season. I've not had a chance to go this year. Rafa sometimes comes down here to watch a few sessions and he's also down at the Academy looking at the reserves too.
One last question. What would you say is the best game of your career to-date?
Last season we had two great games against Everton. We won both of them 1-0 and it was great to be part of that.