Barry Lewtas has told his players to enjoy the Anfield experience and make it a day to remember when Liverpool host Watford in the FA Youth Cup semi-final on Sunday.

The likes of Paul Glatzel and Bobby Duncan are set to play their first games in front of the Kop as the young Reds look to secure the club’s first appearance in the Youth Cup final since 2009, where they would face Manchester City or West Bromwich Albion.

Kick-off at Anfield is at 12pm GMT on Sunday and if you’d like to attend the match on the Kop, tickets must be purchased in advance before the ticket office closes at 10am on Sunday. Click here for ticket information.

Read on for Lewtas’ thoughts on the opportunity to play at Anfield, the chance to bounce back from the UEFA Youth League exit in midweek and the threat posed by Watford… 

On the heartbreak of losing on penalties to Dinamo Zagreb in the Youth League…

We spoke to the boys after the game and we said 15 of them can play again in the competition for us next year. We did have a young side out and over the course of the season a few boys have had an opportunity to play in this tournament. It was a tough game against good opposition. Sometimes the teams that come through the qualifier have done it the hard way because they have won their league. It was a great atmosphere and the pitch was difficult – it was difficult for both teams as well, but it did affect us a little bit with the way we wanted to play. Then it goes to penalties and that’s the way it goes sometimes. We have picked the lads back up from it and we will go again. I haven’t had much time to reflect on that tournament because of the amount of games we have still got to play but I’m sure I will look back on it with fond memories at the end of the season. It was a shame it ended so early but I look back at some our performances, especially at home, we have seemed to play ever so well, scored a lot of goals and had a lot of attempts at goal as well.

Highlights: LFC’s beat Bury 5-1 in Youth Cup quarter-final

On the opportunity to get back to winning ways at Anfield…

I certainly won’t be complaining about the pitch this time! It’s fantastic for us to get this chance to play at Anfield. Again, the boys have done ever so well to get to the semi-finals. We have had some real tough ties and games where people have been expecting us to win so that carries its own pressure. We have come through a number of tests in the rounds so far, we’ve played some good football under pressure and we’ve had to dig in when we have had to and shown some resolve and a bit of character as well. It has been a really exciting journey and the aim is to go a step further and get to the final, but we know how tough it will be against a good Watford side.

On managing a Liverpool team at Anfield…

I’m really excited. The beauty of our schedule at the minute is you don’t have much time to think about it, but I’m really excited for the players. I’m really proud of what they have done so far this year, they’ve played some really good football and been a pleasure to work with. I don’t want to say this is a reward to play at Anfield because it’s only the semi-final and we want to get to the final. But I’m really pleased that they have this opportunity to play at our first-team stadium. We don’t just want to be guests at Anfield and we have to make sure we go out and play. We know what the surface is like, we know what we can produce so let’s see what happens.

On the difference the supporters on the Kop can make to the team…

I know the first team are playing in the afternoon so all eyes will on them and rightly so. It will be great if we can have a few supporters in to cheer on the lads. The lads just want to play at Anfield, their families will be there so I know it will be a proud moment for them.

LFCTV GO: Watch the latest Academy Show

On the challenge posed by Watford…

They have enjoyed a fantastic run and beaten the likes of Birmingham, Southampton, Ipswich and Leicester after extra-time. If you get to the semi-final of the FA Youth Cup, you are a good team and certainly the teams Watford have beaten so far suggest they can play, they have good players and have that little bit of resolve as well, which they showed against a good Leicester team. We are under no illusions as to how tough the opposition will be, they will come out and try and disrupt our game, so it’s about us being as good as we can be on the day – and we are confident we can play the way we want to play.

On the team’s run to the semi-finals…

I think the real plus point for us so far is in all of the games when we’ve had tough moments we have seen them through. Also, when teams have let us in we have managed to punish them. That has been the real difference for us and I think we have really executed at the key times. In other moments where we have had to defend it hasn’t been by luck and we’ve defended well. It has been a real cup journey and sometimes the scorelines doesn’t tell the full story of those games.

On the confidence in the side with Glatzel and Duncan, who have scored 53 goals between them so far this season, up front…

I’d take anyone to score on Sunday, but Paul and Bobby obviously have been a big part of what we have done. We are fortunate we have got good players here. They are both good players who have worked hard to forge that relationship. There is a lot of goals between them and as the season has gone on that has continued. It doesn’t really matter who scores because it’s about the team. When you get that close to an FA Youth Cup final it doesn’t matter who scores the goals as long as we win the game – that will be fine for me.

On his final message to the players before they step out at Anfield…

We talk a lot about not playing the occasion and playing the game we are in. We are very aware of what Watford are going to bring and we are prepared for it. Nerves are good because it means you care, but we can’t take that out onto the pitch. We’ve got to make sure they use that energy and get control of the game for us and get into our rhythm as early as we can. We are comfortable in possession and out of it as well, so I think when you can combine those two things there should be no surprise. If Watford have periods of possession in the game we will be ready but I certainly hope we will have big chunks of the game and impose ourselves on them. We have been consistent all year and hopefully we can be again on Sunday. 

Source link – https://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/academy/341909-liverpool-youh-cup-watford-anfield-barry-lewtas