As Steven Gerrard prepares to take charge of Liverpool U18s for the first time in a competitive fixture on Friday, he has outlined what he expects from his players in 2017-18 and beyond.

Derby County’s Moor Farm training complex will play host to the team's first league outing of the season - a game you can watch exclusively live on LFCTV GO from 1pm BST.

Despite going into the match with a few injury concerns, Gerrard is confident his squad can rise to the occasion and give a good account of themselves.

"Ideally, I would have a few more players fit at the moment because I've got two full-backs out injured [and] I've got a centre-half out injured, so we are short defensively and really heavy on forwards and midfielders,” the former Reds captain told

"The challenge for me is can I keep players happy in midfield and forward positions and keep them up for it when they are called upon?

"Can players who are filling in at the back defend like men and put their bodies on the line and help us keep clean sheets?

"That's the challenge but in a few months when we will have everyone back, I'm really confident that we can do really well."

Asked what sort of challenge he expects from the young Rams, Gerrard revealed that he and his staff have a game plan they have been working on in training.

"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," he said.

"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.

"We will be ready and that's what we have been working on this week, on Derby's strengths and weaknesses and to see if we can exploit them."

First and foremost, Gerrard's priority is to try to prepare the club's youngsters to give them the best possible chance of one day representing Liverpool's first team.

"The key for these U18 players is to learn very quickly that they are playing for the most demanding manager in world football in terms of Jürgen Klopp," he said.

"He demands that training is very physical, high-tempo and very intense every single day, and he wants that training to go into the games. So myself, Critch and the other coaching staff have to prepare these players if and when they are called upon."

A large number of Gerrard's squad are starting their first season as U18 players and he warned that this level is a step up from what they are used to.

He added: "I'd be doing them a disservice if you are weak with them or too nice because they will fall short further down the line.

"So although they might not like me now when I'm putting tough sessions on or being brutally honest with them, maybe in a year or two years' time when Jürgen is or Neil Critchley is, they will thank me for it further down the line.

"It's the way it is and the biggest jump in football is probably from U16 to U18, because schoolboy football is gone and they are in a man's game, so these honest truths have to be told."