So far, the 2019-20 season has been a dream for Leighton Clarkson.

After being one of the key performers in the FA Youth Cup-winning team last term, the 18-year-old has been regularly training at Melwood and was on the bench for the Carabao Cup ties against MK Dons and Arsenal.

And, with the Reds' first-team squad on FIFA Club World Cup duty in Qatar, Clarkson is hoping to be part of Neil Critchley's squad for Tuesday's quarter-final at Aston Villa three days after making his first start at U23 level.

Read on for Clarkson's thoughts on that and more...

On Tuesday's Carabao Cup tie against Villa...

It's a dream. When you are a kid you dream of things like that and when my name was called out to be on the bench in the first two games I was buzzing inside and nervous. I'd like to have that feeling again but there's obviously a lot of boys who are all itching to get that chance. We can't wait.

On going to Villa Park with nothing to lose…

We are obviously going to be a young team going up against an Aston Villa team who will be strong and playing in front of a crowd around 40,000. It will be a top match and hopefully I can be involved in it.

On the backing Liverpool will receive from the away end...

Our fans are amazing every single game. They were amazing at MK Dons and then at Anfield against Arsenal when we came back and won on penalties. We are just looking forward to hearing our fans on Tuesday.

On making his first start for the U23s in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Chelsea...

For a lot of us that was out first start [at U23 level] on Saturday against a top Chelsea team with high-profile players and I thought we really dug deep and deserved a point. It's good to get the chance to play at U23 level because it's a higher level and higher standard and you are playing against some really good players.

On the spirit of the young Liverpool team, as shown by the thrilling UEFA Youth League comeback against Salzburg last week...

It doesn't matter whether you are playing for the first team at Liverpool or U9 level - you should never give up. We've shown that in a lot of the games with the U18s and last week with that last-minute winner in Salzburg. You can never write any team off at our Academy.

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