Liverpool's managing director Ian Ayre has hailed the importance of the club's academy after seven graduates made their first-team debut last season.

Jordan Ibe started the final match of the season against QPR meaning he joined Conor Coady, Adam Morgan, Jerome Sinclair, Suso, Andre Wisdom and Samed Yesil all to make their senior debut.

Ayre believes that you can't put a price on the work done at Kirby and insists it's well worth the investment.

"It's a big investment but it's money well spent," Ayre told the Liverpool website

"Both John Henry and Tom Werner have been to the Academy and they see it as a pipeline to success. You can't really put a price on it.

"How do you put a price on the contribution we've had over the years from Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher? The owners are hugely supportive and see great value in the work that's done at the Academy."

Liverpool's two most famous products that have progressed through their academy is captain Steven Gerrard and the retiring Jamie Carragher.

But Ayre feels that if the academy continue their good work, they will see more talent progressing at Kirkby.

"To have seven debuts in one season says it all and hopefully it's the start of something special. We are blessed with the talent we've got coming through now and that's testament to Frank (McParland, Academy director) and his team. The challenge is to keep it going.

"It's a constant process and you have to keep feeding it from the bottom. Some of the work Frank and his team are doing today with the younger age groups we won't see the value of for another 10 years."

McParland has echoed Ayre's sentiments and believes manager Brendan Rodgers has already played a big part in the academy.

Rodgers joined Liverpool from Swansea last summer and has experience of coaching at academy level throughout his career.

"Brendan is passionate about youth development. He has done every job at youth level and always wants to know how the kids are progressing." He said.

"Some managers go away during the international breaks but Brendan will ring up and say 'send the U15s down today' and they will go and train with the first-team players. The fact there is one style of play running throughout the club helps."


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