The opportunity to sign for Liverpool represented a 'perfect' scenario for Joe Hardy.

The Wirral-born striker joined the Reds in January and has quickly settled into life at the Academy as well as making a senior debut in the FA Cup when Shrewsbury Town were beaten at Anfield.

In an exclusive chat with Neil Mellor for the latest edition of The Academy, which is available now on LFCTV GO, the 21-year-old discusses his time at the club so far and much more.

Read on for a preview of the full interview…

On his footballing journey to date…

I was at Tranmere Rovers before I went to Manchester City and then Brentford. I was seven when I first went to Tranmere, I kind of fell into it from school. My brother went for a trial at Tranmere first and they said, 'Bring your little brother along' so I ended up getting in and he didn't!

On getting his chance at Manchester City…

It was a lot more intense and specific. The games plan was completely different, we travelled abroad a lot so as a youngster that was perfect and I was loving it. I then joined Brentford halfway through my U18 season.

On his goalscoring prowess at Brentford…

I managed to get a move to Liverpool on the back of it. I scored 40 goals over two seasons. I was playing mainly in their U23s team.

On signing for Liverpool…

It was amazing and if there is one team you would want to sign for at this minute it would be Liverpool. The fact it is also back home is perfect and ideal for me. All of my friends are all Liverpool fans as well. I'm loving it and I've settled in easily.

On the influence of Neil Critchley before his departure to Blackpool…

He was really good and I really enjoyed working with him. Obviously I wasn't with him here for long but he gave me a lot of opportunities and he believed in me. He helped me in a lot of ways and he is a really good coach.

On making his first-team debut against Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup…

My family still struggle to get their head around that but it was amazing. That's football, that's what you've wanted and if you'd have told me three months ago that I was going to come on in front of 50,000 people at Anfield in the FA Cup then I'd tell you to shut up! I had all my family there and all of my close friends go to the game anyway so it was a really good night.

On seeing Academy players getting first-team opportunities…

It makes you believe that you could get that opportunity. You see the first-team manager plays the young lads, Harvey Elliott is only 16 and he's getting opportunities. The opportunities are there and if you can perform well and prove yourself you never know what can happen.

On playing alongside the likes of Curtis Jones and Elliott in the U23s…

It's good and I feel we link up well. They are good players so you know they are going to give you the ball, and when they do you know you are going to score. They are good players so you've got to reward them by putting the ball in the back of the net when they give it to you.

General view of the Liverpool FC Academy in Kirkby

Liverpool U23s v Wolfsburg postponed