Liverpool’s preparations for this weekend’s Merseyside derby have suffered a blow after defender Jose Enrique was ruled out with a long-term knee injury which is likely to require surgery.
It is understood the Spaniard has been struggling with the problem for some time and has featured just twice in the Reds’ last five matches, with one of those appearances a 30-minute substitute stint.
And there has been further disruption behind the scenes as academy director Frank McParland and head of coaching Rodolfo Borrell have both been removed from their posts.
The club declined to comment on the changes in the youth set-up at their Kirkby base but it is believed the pair have been sacked.
McParland had previously served as Liverpool’s chief scout while Borrell had 13years’ experience with Barcelona’s La Masia academy upon his arrival onMerseyside.
Both were remnants of the Rafael Benitez era, having been appointed to the academy in 2009, and were perceived to be doing a good job.
Last season no fewer than seven youngsters – Suso, Andre Wisdom, Adam Morgan, Samed Yesil, Jerome Sinclair, Conor Coady and Jordon Ibe – made their first-team debuts.
That as was much out of necessity as anything else as manager Brendan Rodgers’ first season in charge saw him having to manage a busy fixture list involving Europa League games with a smaller squad than he would have liked.
This season, after two transfer windows of recruitment, Rodgers has had less use for the youngsters and the likes of Wisdom, Coady, Suso and another former academy graduate Jack Robinson have all been sent out on loan to gain more experience.