Reds boss concedes Ajax dominance

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Liverpool’s academy director Frank McParland admits his side were outclassed in the Nextgen series by Ajax.

The Reds suffered a 6-0 defeat to the Dutch side, after their quarterfinal reprieve against Tottenham Hotspur.

The loss was the third heavy defeat McParland’s side have endured this season, with 3-0 and 5-1 defeats coming against Sporting Lisbon.

“Ajax have got some special talents,” admitted McParland.

“As a team they kept the ball so well with their one touch passing.

“We matched them in the first half and if we had put away the penalty it would have been a different game at 1-1. But we can’t get away from the fact that they were much better than us on the night. They were so clinical and took their chances brilliantly.

“No-one likes losing that heavily but we have to hold our hands up and say they were a lot stronger.”

Despite a third heavy defeat to the club’s Under-19’s, McParland believes the tournament will work as ideal experience for players and coaches alike.

“It’s been really beneficial and we have learned so much about our own players,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s easy to stay in your own comfort zone, play teams around you, keep winning and tell everyone how great you are.

“But we’ve been desperate to play against top foreign opposition and that’s why we were so quick to sign up to the NextGen.

“If you want to really test yourself you need to play against the best and it’s been an unbelievable opportunity for us.

“Highly talented technical teams like Sporting and Ajax have had the edge over us.

“Those two clubs and the likes of Barcelona have been working in a fantastic way for 15 to 20 years. That’s underlined by the fact their academies have produced so many players.

“We’ve progressed and it’s not all doom and gloom here but there’s no doubt we’re playing catch-up on them. We have to try to get to that level.

“Games like Tuesday make you realise we have still got a lot to do. Everyone has to learn from it. The players need to learn and it’s the same for the coaching staff.

“We will continue to work with them to get to a higher level.”

Regardless of their failings against the continents best, Liverpool are making bold strides towards building for the future.

With the likes of Jack Robinson, John Flanagan and Martin Kelly having all made their league debuts for the club last season after being promoted from the academy, the club have invested in a number of players from the football league.

Jordon Ibe and Seyi Ojo, from Wycombe Wanderers and Milton Keynes Dons respectively have both been snapped up, with both players earmarked for the future.

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