Catch up on a busy opening month of Academy football with our review of the key events for Liverpool's U23 and U18 teams during August.
U18s start in style...
Following the departure of club legend Steven Gerrard to begin a new adventure in Scotland with Rangers, Barry Lewtas made the step up from U16 boss to take charge of the U18s.
Together with regular backroom staff members Scott Mason and Neil Edwards, they were joined by new fitness coach John Hill, previously with MK Dons and Hearts.
Lewtas began work with a group that no longer included Curtis Jones and Rafael Camacho, who are now part of the first-team training group at Melwood, as well as influential captain Adam Lewis after his graduation to the U23s.
Nevertheless, an excellent pre-season training camp in Hungary and Germany paved the way for his side to begin 2018-19 in fine style with a 6-1 win away at Sunderland.
Paul Glatzel struck twice, including a penalty, Bobby Duncan netted another spot-kick on his debut, and Rhys Williams, Abdi Sharif and Jack Walls also registered on the scoresheet.
The boy from New York...
Lewtas also had another debutant at No.6 in Matteo Ritaccio.
The talented midfielder, who was born in New York and also holds an Italian passport, was previously with BW Gottschee in the Big Apple and is set to be a key figure for the U18s this season.
The first home game of the new campaign was an eventful occasion - and a harsh result - as the young Reds lost 3-1 to Manchester United.
Ritaccio struck the post with a wonderful effort at 0-0 and the Reds had some great opportunities before the visitors broke the deadlock from a corner two minutes after the restart.
Glatzel gave Liverpool hope with an excellent finish after United had doubled their lead, but a stoppage-time penalty sealed it for the visitors.
The U18s bounced back in the best fashion the following weekend.
They produced an outstanding attacking display on home turf to sweep aside West Bromwich Albion 5-1, with Glatzel and Duncan proving too much to handle.
In front of a new stand at the Academy to shelter supporters from inclement weather, the young Reds certainly entertained and showed tremendous character after going a goal down, Glatzel grabbing a hat-trick and Duncan netting twice.
Just for good measure, September began brightly too courtesy of a 2-1 win at Sunderland; Leighton Clarkson struck a superb goal and also provided an assist for Tom Clayton.
A frustrating start for the U23s…
In each of their opening three games, Neil Critchley’s side created enough opportunities to win more than one match.
But they were unable to turn draws into the wins they feel they deserved due to a combination of outstanding goalkeeping and not being clinical enough.
The Premier League 2 campaign began away at Brighton and Hove Albion, where a torrential downpour threatened a postponement but was beaten by the efforts of the ground staff at the cost of a 45-minute delay.
Critchley was able to call upon Sheyi Ojo down at the Amex Training Centre, while Nathaniel Phillips and George Johnston, fresh from their first-team cameos, formed a central defensive partnership.
Wales U21 international Isaac Christie-Davies, who was signed during the summer from Chelsea after featuring for the Reds on trial last term, started in the middle of the park.
Both sides had chances to win it, with Ojo and Bobby Adekanye in particular carving out some great openings, while Poland U21 international Kamil Grabara made several impressive saves in a goalless draw.
“The biggest compliment you can pay Kamil is the saves he made, I expected him to save them!” said Critchley.
“They were fantastic saves but even had one of them gone in I would have been surprised.
“When we needed him and when we called on him he made those saves at vital times, and that’s what top goalkeepers do.”
Action at Anfield...
Premier League 2 rules state you must play three home games at your first-team stadium and so the U23s had an early chance to run out at Anfield when Tottenham Hotspur visited next.
It was a dramatic encounter from the second minute.
Spurs were reduced to 10 men when Timothy Eyoma blocked Glen McAuley’s goal-bound shot with his arm. However, the usually reliable Lewis sent his penalty over the bar.
Adekanye had a sparkling match on the right flank and made up for missing an earlier sitter by firing in after good work from McAuley.
But Marcus Edwards levelled for Tottenham midway through the opening half, and despite laying siege to their opponents in the second, the Reds couldn’t find a winner.
Millar makes his mark...
Their August schedule ended with a trip to another senior venue, the Etihad Stadium, with Manchester City laying in wait - a side who had scored 11 goals in their opening two fixtures.
Critchley was able to call upon the services of 17-year-old Jones, while Camacho started his first game of the season at right-back.
With the former pulling the strings, Liverpool took the game to their opponents, carving out some great chances.
Liam Millar had an effort ruled out by a tight offside call, but the Canadian international netted his first goal at U23 level with a thumping header following a brilliant run and cross from Camacho.
Adekanye subsequently missed the target when clean through on goal and City punished the Reds, levelling thanks to Rabbi Matondo from close range.
‘Hard to take’…
The opening game of September was a very similar story when the young Reds lost 2-1 against West Ham United in Kirkby.
Despite conceding a goal after just two minutes, captain Matty Virtue equalised following superb work from Lewis, who was outstanding in a central midfield berth.
A free-kick led to a Hammers winner but, in the end, it was déjà vu - missed opportunities and a match to remember for visiting goalkeeper Nathan Trott.
“That was very hard to take because I think the least we deserved out of that game was a draw,” said Critchley.
“A lot of our play was really good, some top football, we controlled a lot of the game and I thought we were the team always in the ascendancy.
“I’m still scratching my head thinking how have we at least not drawn that game!
“Their goalkeeper was far busier and he made some really good saves, but we just didn’t take our chances, which is all about making the right choices in front of goal.”