‘We want to keep up our level – matchday is the highlight of the week’

‘We want to keep up our level – matchday is the highlight of the week’

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Marc Bridge-Wilkinson highlighted the hard work and desire of his Liverpool U18s team after they produced an outstanding display to beat Everton 4-0 last weekend.

All the goals in the mini-derby at Finch Farm came in the opening 45 minutes and the manager was absolutely delighted with the application of his players.

Since a 3-1 loss at home to Manchester City, Bridge-Wilkinson’s charges have responded with three straight wins, netting 10 goals in the process.

They are back in action on Saturday afternoon when they host Newcastle United at the Academy in a game you can watch live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO, with kick-off set for 1pm GMT.

Ahead of the fixture, we spoke to Bridge-Wilkinson about that impressive derby victory, the return to fitness of Tyler Morton, and how summer signings Melkamu Frauendorf and Mateusz Musialowski are settling in…

On the excellent response from his team since their 3-1 defeat by Manchester City…

It has been a fantastic response. We had the disappointment of losing a game and I don’t know whether the boys viewed that as a bit of fire really in their belly, but they have responded really well since then and performances have been really good.

On last Saturday’s 4-0 win at Everton in the mini-derby…

It was a nice morning’s football, let’s put it that way! The boys performed really well, we scored four goals and kept a clean sheet. The boys were really pleased with themselves and they should be as well.

On Frauendorf netting his first goal for the club against the Blues…

It was a brilliant moment for him. He has been working his socks off. He works so hard for the team, works so hard in training and we know what he is capable of. We see Melkamu scoring goals every day in training and it’s just taken him a little bit longer to get one in the league. We were all really pleased for him and you saw that by the lads’ reaction after he had scored. They were buzzing for him and it was a great moment. Melkamu gives us a lot of options and he is a talented boy. He can also play in a number of positions in the attack and even further back as well if we need. You get what you see. He works his socks off for the team and is a real team player. He never leaves a moment of energy on that pitch and just gives his all in every moment and every minute of every game. He has adapted to what we have asked him to do and we are really pleased with him.

On the return of influential playmaker Morton after injury against Everton…

Tyler is a really good footballer. He is a big player for us and above all else we are just really pleased to see him back fit and well and playing football again, which is the main thing. He helps us, he adds to the group and the team, there’s no doubts about that.

On young players from the U16s stepping up in recent weeks…

I’m quite fortunate because I worked with these U16 boys last year when they were U15s, so I know them all quite well. I know what they are capable of and I have no qualms in giving them an opportunity if we can. Ethan Ennis, Terence Miles and Isaac Mabaya have all stepped up in recent weeks and done really well, so it’s been really pleasing to see that.

On Saturday’s home meeting with Newcastle…

We just want to keep up our level of performance. We are at home and the matchday is the highlight of the week. The boys are working really hard every day in training and we are looking forward to it.

On taking extra care with the fitness of summer signing Musialowski…

Mateusz has been unfortunate and each of our new signings have got their own story to tell. What people won’t realise is Matty is a little bit different to most, in terms of he has played little football in the last year or so due to injury and then we had the COVID-19 pandemic stopping football. We’ve got to be very careful with him that we don’t expose him to too much football too soon. It’s about building his fitness up and making sure that we give him the best opportunity  – and that might not be right now. Obviously we want him to play games and be involved in everything, but we’ve got to make sure we are looking after him and his welfare first and foremost. His training is building up and his game time will increase as the weeks go by, and we can’t wait to get him out onto the pitch as he is a very talented boy.

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