Jurgen Klopp wants to merge the academy and Melwood together in a bid to bring the first team squad and the youth players closer together.
Melwood has been the home to Liverpool’s training complex since 1956. The area was originally used to teach school children how to play football by two priests Father Melling, and Father Woodlock and as a way of commemorating their hard work, Liverpool used the beginning of each of their names to name the complex.
Of course, back then, it was a far cry from the world-class training facility we are privy to today. It was Bill Shankly who first moulded Melwood into a “top-class” training ground. Then, in 2001, under Gerard Houllier, work began on the Millenium Pavilion which modernised Melwood and took it to another level.
Like anything with Liverpool, any executive decision that gets made needs to be made while taking the heritage and history of the club into consideration. For so many young fans, and although Klopp hates this due to data leaks, peeking over the walls at Melwood is almost a rite of passage and to deny them that would be very difficult to get used to.
The intent behind a merge with the academy is commendable. It really is the sort of thing that Jurgen Klopp brings to Liverpool and by being closer to the academy players, only good things can happen. As was mentioned on The Redmen TV the other day, you can’t overvalue what it means to have your idol kicking a football 150 metres away from you. It inspires you to try harder in the hopes that you’ll get called up to train with the ‘big boys.’
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Liverpool’s U18s boss Neil Critchley recently spoke of the effect that Klopp has had on the club’s youth players, “It’s been amazing, absolutely amazing. You think ‘if he’s getting a chance, then maybe he’ll get a chance.’
“It just gives you that extra five or 10 per cent if you ever need it – which you shouldn’t do – but if you ever needed that source of motivation, then he [Klopp] certainly gives it to you.”
What’s more, for the local lads especially, having players like Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana putting an arm around their shoulder and giving them advice is a huge boost to their confidence and could do wonders for their performances.
The fact that Klopp wants to work closely with the academy and that a merge with academy is being planned for the next few years, as reported by The Liverpool Echo, just proves that he has plans for the young players at the club. The German coach has never been afraid to throw any of Liverpool’s youngsters in at the deep end and this show of faith has materialised most recently for Ovie Ejaria and Trent Alexander-Arnold, who both made their competitive debuts for the club against Spurs midweek.
Altough there would be a loss of heritage, the gain from a merge with the academy far outweighs the sentimental value of being able to watch Liverpool train. It’s something that needs to be done if Klopp is to take the club back to the peaks of English football for the long term.
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