Barry Lewtas has told his Liverpool U18s players to be wary of a wounded Everton side in Saturday’s mini-derby at Finch Farm after the Reds beat the Blues in dramatic fashion back in November.

Jack Bearne came off the bench to net a 90th-minute winner under the Kirkby floodlights in a thrilling 4-3 victory for Lewtas’ charges in the reverse fixture.

Due to the international break, the U18s haven’t played since March 17 – when they reached the FA Youth Cup final following a 2-1 win over Watford at Anfield.

Things are getting tense at the top of the U18s Premier League North table with five matches remaining.

After their last league outing saw Derby County knock the Reds off top spot, the Rams are now three points clear of Lewtas’ side. Everton are in third, just one point behind the Reds, although they have played one game more.

Kick-off on Saturday is at 11am GMT and you can watch the action live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO.

Read on for Lewtas’ thoughts on the mini-derby and the climax to a thrilling season…

On beating Watford in the FA Youth Cup semi-final at Anfield…

The international break gave us a bit of a breather. That was a really good day. I thought we played really well. We have beaten some good teams along the way and beaten them quite comfortably in fairness. I just thought we were really good on the day. We have probably gone into each game with people expecting us to win, which brings about its own pressure. It was great to play at Anfield and I was really impressed with the boys.

On keeping a close eye on the other semi-final tie, with Manchester City hosting West Bromwich Albion on Monday…

Our part of the job is done. We are in the final and we are excited to be there. We know we will be up against a really good team. Both of these teams are really good, so first and foremost we know we will be in for a tough challenge. We’ll see what happens on Monday and then plan and prepare once we get the date for the final, but we are excited and can’t wait for it.

On opportunities at international level for the Academy, including an England U18s debut for Rhys Williams…

We have a number of lads who go away with their country, some more regularly than others. It’s always nice when we get a few fresh call-ups. We had Tom Clayton earlier this season for Scotland, Paul Glatzel with Germany, and Rhys and Bobby Duncan with England U18s. It’s a credit to the lads because the people come and watch them. Obviously there has to be a level of consistency to be called up for your country, so it’s good recognition for them.

On a return to action against Everton in the mini-derby at Finch Farm…

It’s going to be a tough game and I’m sure both sets of players and coaches always look for when the date of the next derby is. They are a good side who score goals, they score goals like us. It was a really good game when we edged it 4-3 earlier this season, and it was a really good advert for football in this city.

LFCTV GO: Watch highlights from the 4-3 thriller

On the 4-3 win over the Blues back on November 1…

I thought we managed to get control of the game when we went 3-1 up but credit to them, they kept pushing and pushing and got it back to 3-3. We managed to wrestle the momentum back and win the game, which was pleasing. We have done that quite often this season, so that just goes to show that’s not by chance or by fluke. Credit to both teams who played well on the night but we were the ones who came out winners. We want to try to repeat that on Saturday but I know they will be equally wanting to put the record straight, so it has the making of a really good game.

On how much he and his players are looking forward to Saturday…

It wouldn’t matter what time of the season it is, we are looking forward to this game. Everton are also up there and close to us in the league table, so that adds a little spice to it. But I don’t think this game needs any extra spice given to it. It’s healthy in terms of the rivalry and it makes for a special occasion and a really good game in prospect, so we are excited for this game. I’m not naïve and I know they are equally as excited. I’ve said to our boys, Everton will be wanting to put the record straight, so we have got to make sure we are at our best. We will have to be at our best if we want to win this game.

On what his message to the players will be before kick-off…

We’ve got to compete, whatever the game throws up. If it’s a game where we have got to compete and play tough then I’m sure we will and that’s what we will have to do. We are not going to Finch Farm just expecting to pass our way through to a victory, that is never going to happen in a game like this. The boys know that and I know that. We are going to have to compete and make sure that when they have the ball we press effectively and intelligently, win those first and second balls and get control of the game. It has to be controlled aggression and nothing silly. We certainly don’t want to be going down to 10 men but in any derby game you have got to be ready to compete and we certainly will be.

On his defenders handling the threat of Everton striker Ellis Simms, who has netted back-to-back hat-tricks at U18 level…

He scored a hat-trick against Wolves last weekend and he is a good player who didn’t play against us the last time we met. We have seen him play and we know what kind of challenge he is going to be. If we let him in front of our goal the likelihood is he is going to score, so we are going to have to be as good as we are going forward in defence as well. I know he didn’t play in the last game but they had two good centre-forwards that night. We managed to outscore Everton last time out but if they get any half-chances on Saturday we know they have got someone who is going to score, so we will have to be at our best at the back, and at our best all over the park.

On the influence of key centre-half Rhys Williams on Saturday…

It’s a big game for both sets of players, but in terms of his development Rhys will be up against someone who has scored a lot of goals and caused a lot of trouble to his opponents. It’s great for us to see how he copes with that. Whoever partners Rhys on Saturday at centre-half will have a real job on their hands. There’s exciting match-ups all over the pitch. Yes, we know how dangerous they are up top but we have got centre-backs who have done well this year, but it is going to be a big test for them.

On the title race, with the Reds being three points adrift of Derby with five games left to play…

It’s exciting and I’m pleased that the boys have been able to put themselves in this situation. In terms of their development and so on, they are in the mix – just like we have got the FA Youth Cup final to look forward to as well. We are giving the boys the experiences which I think are important at a club like this. For us, we have just got to approach every game and look after ourselves. If other teams slip up, that’s down to them and we can only control what we can control. We have got five really tough games left, so we are not looking at point totals and we are just going game to game, making sure we perform and then we’ll see where we can go. We are three points behind Derby County, so it’s theirs to lose if you like. That is not the discussion we are having, though, and our only thought is Everton on Saturday and performing well and seeing where this game takes us.

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