For Joao Carlos Teixeira arriving at Melwood, the mission was two-fold – match the club's stars out on the training field and then conduct a conversation with them in the canteen.

It's the challenge facing each youngster who journeys across the city from Kirkby to West Derby, hoping to impress Brendan Rodgers and his senior players.

Alex Inglethorpe, who monitors the potential graduates in his role as U21s boss, has spoken of the need for players to go to the first team and feel like they belong.

For Teixeira, who debuted against Fulham in mid-February, ingratiating himself there was a process rendered near-seamless by the warm welcome he received.

From there, it was a case of proving his talents out on the pitch and forcing his way into the manager's thoughts.

"In the beginning, you don't talk too much, because you don't know the players and you don't know how they are going to react," he told

"With time, you get to know the people and their personalities better. You talk more and you gain more confidence when you are with them. They are a great group and they help me a lot in training and even off the pitch.

"I am training with the first team and I am enjoying training each day with big names like Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Steven Gerrard. They talk normally, they ask me about my life - it's not that interesting, but they ask! They put me at ease."

Coming as it did on the heels of that mesmerising Arsenal demolition, Liverpool's trip to Craven Cottage to face Fulham was a chance for Rodgers' side to underline their ambitions.

The Cottagers were obstinate on the night. Kolo Toure scored an own goal, which was cancelled out by Daniel Sturridge's calm finish from Gerrard's simply sublime pass.


Kieran Richardson edged the home side back ahead, but Philippe Coutinho's deflected shot restored parity. Then, with less than 10 minutes remaining, Rodgers called on Teixeira.

The Portuguese was composed, he weaved about the pitch playing simple passes, but always looking to go forward. It was his direct pass for Sturridge which helped bring about Gerrard's decisive penalty.

"I had been in the squad before I was on the bench against Fulham," reflected the 21-year-old. "That gave me experience with the players, in the hotels and having dinner, talking with them and getting to know them better,

"Before Fulham, I was training with the team and I was working hard. Brendan was always telling me to keep working hard and that my chance would come soon.

"At Fulham, before we were leaving the hotel to go to the stadium, I saw the team and I was on the bench for my first Premier League game. Fulham was an important match.

"I was really happy and I tried to do my best. It was my best moment in football."