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Gerrard admits struggles with Liverpool Academy system

Gerrard's U18s have endured a run of four straight defeats. Credit: PA

Liverpool Under-18s coach Steven Gerrard admits he is still trying to adjust to the way the club's academy system works.

The former Reds captain guided his young side to victory over Manchester United in the UEFA Youth League to set up a quarter-final next month against Manchester City.

It ended a run of four defeats for Gerrard, in his first season in charge of the youth side, and he accepts he is still getting his head around the priorities of working in the academy.

"In terms of the (under) 18s and 23s it has been a tough few weeks in terms of results, they haven't gone our way. The lads have had a tough month and so have the staff," said the former midfielder, whose side have slipped to third in the Under-18 Premier League.

"It has been a test, it has been challenging, because things change from the January window as people go out on loan, people move up to Melwood and you don't have the same players you had for the six months.

"Critch (under-23 coach Neil Critchley) has his pick from my players, which I have to accept, and I have the pick from the 16s.

"Some of my players are not ready for 23s, which can be frustrating for Critch, and some of the 16s are maybe not ready for 18s but it is what happens at academy level so I have to adapt to that.

"If it was my way I wouldn't let any of them go, I'd want them to compete for the league but that's selfish because players have to get different experiences higher up and players have to go out on loan.

"So it is me who has to adapt to the academy system rather than the players."

Asked whether he had finally adapted Gerrard added: "Just about, just about...Still trying actually."

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Gerrard insists Liverpool need not panic over recent struggles

Gerrard is now working as Liverpool's under-18 coach. Credit: PA

Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard insists there is no need to panic about the club's recent struggles.

One win in seven matches in all competitions has seen criticism of Jurgen Klopp's side grow but Gerrard, now under-18s manager, insists there is no cause for concern with the club just two points off the top four and still unbeaten in the Champions League.

"We're seven games into a Premier League campaign - there's no time to panic," he told liverpoolfc.com.

"We've got a wonderful manager and coaching staff that are looking after these players.

"I think everything is fine. I'm not one that jumps on the bandwagon and listens to criticism after seven games.

"I used to judge myself and the team I was playing in at least 10 or 15 games into the season so let's see where we are then.

"I've got every confidence we'll be in the top four and everything will be a little happier than it is at the moment.

"What the Liverpool team have to do at the moment is stick together and see where they are in four or five games' time."

Alonso backs Gerrard to manage Liverpool

Xabi Alonso has back Steven Gerrard to manage Liverpool. Credit: PA

Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has backed Steven Gerrard to become a future first-team manager at the club.

Following retirement Gerrard began his coaching career at the Reds' academy in February and this season has taken charge of the under-18s side, also leading an under-19s team in the UEFA Youth League.

Alonso, recently retired himself, believes this is just the start for his former team-mate.

"I'm following the early steps of his career closely and for sure he has all the attributes to become a big manager and a Liverpool manager one day," the Spaniard told liverpoolfc.com.

"You can be a great player but being a manager is a different task. For sure, he's really focused and if he's able to deliver that message he will be a good one."

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Liverpool confirm Gerrard as U18 manager

Gerrard retired from football in November after two seasons at LA Galaxy. Credit: PA

Liverpool have confirmed that club legend Steven Gerrard will take charge of their Under-18 side from next season.

Gerrard returned to the Reds to take up a role as academy coach in February after leaving LA Galaxy in November and announcing his retirement from professional football.

The 36-year-old replaces Neil Critchley, who has moved up to become U23 manager with current boss Mike Garritty shifting to his backroom staff.

I have really enjoyed my time at the Academy so far and feel I have learnt a lot from the coaching staff here already.

After speaking to Alex [Inglethorpe], we feel as though it is time for me to step up and manage my own team.

Neil has done a fantastic job with the U18s, so I hope I can continue where he left off, encouraging and nurturing players into the U23s and eventually the first-team setup.

– Gerrard to Liverpool's official website
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