James Milner has paid tribute to the young players who made the most of their opportunity to feature in the Liverpool first team during an FA Cup campaign that ended in unfortunate fashion at the hands of West Ham United on Tuesday.
Jürgen Klopp made full use of his squad during his first foray into world football's oldest cup competition, handing out a number of debuts and rare senior starts for youngsters who usually play for the club's Academy sides.
Milner was on the pitch alongside many of those starlets at Upton Park when Angelo Ogbonna's 120th-minute goal denied them what could have been a deserved place in the fifth round at the end of a hard-fought replay.
Despite that disappointment, the No.7 has been impressed by what he has seen from his more youthful colleagues when they have been called upon this season.
"It's always great to see them out there and performing very well," he told Liverpoolfc.com.
"To perform how they did over those two games and when they've been called on this year is great.
"[It's] what we need as well, we've had a lot of injuries this year and you want those boys to come in and not just fill that spot for the time being but to push whoever's holding that shirt and be part of the squad, improve and become better players as well.
"We can help with that and ultimately they're the future of this club so the more games they get, the more experience and the more they can learn, it's obviously better for everyone."
Milner once held the record as the youngest ever player to score in the Barclays Premier League, having netted for Leeds United two months on from his senior debut at the age of just 16.
As such, he knows all about what young players need to succeed at the top level of the game and feels he is well placed to pass advice onto those hoping to now kick on at Anfield after making their first-team bow.
"You need the work-rate and the will to learn but also that attitude is so important as well," he added.
"Nobody's career [only] goes up, you have peaks and troughs and good times and bad times. You see a lot of promising young players and at the first sign of trouble – a loss of form or being dropped – you see them drop away and you might not see too much of them again.
"So it's important they have that strong mental side, that attitude; you're going to have managers who don't rate you, you're going to have knocks and injuries and things like that, but it's about having that determination to come through that, work hard and be strong enough to deal with the ups and downs.
"Unfortunately, there are plenty of those in your career and you're going to have criticism when you're playing at the top level.
"When you're playing for a club the size of Liverpool, there's always going to be massive pressure to perform, scrutiny from the media, if you're on social media there's all that as well, being recognised in the street.
"It's a big change the first time you start playing and it's not only what happens on the field, it's managing your life off the field."
Thankfully, the midfielder has only good things to report with regards the character of the Academy hopefuls currently on Liverpool's books.
"I think the pleasing thing is they're all good lads as well, you hear a lot of things about young footballers and this and that but they want to learn," he continued.
"That's what we're here to do, the older boys, help them as much as we can, when they're good lads and they want to learn and they'll listen, you can't give enough time to those boys.
"They've got their heads on their shoulders, their feet on the ground, and they know what they want to achieve.
"If they don't, that's where we step in and give them a kick up the rear but I don't see that being too much of a problem.
"That's where we come in because I was fortunate when I was coming through at Leeds, we had some great senior pros who kept us in line and it was probably a bit more of a brutal changing room then than it is now!"