Liverpool star Steven Gerrard has hailed Reds manager Brendan Rodgers for giving academy graduates an opportunity to train with the senior squad. The England international believes the situation could benefit the club in the long run, particularly if those youngsters are promoted to the first team.

Steven Gerrard

"The manager is fantastic with the way he does it; he invites a lot of young players down to train with the team all the time. It's great experience to come down and play with the first team. When they come down permanently, they have sampled it and they know what they're in for," Gerrard told the club's official website.

The 33-year-old also called on those youngsters to make the most of the opportunity and make a good impression. The Anfield club's academy prospects gave a reasonable account of themselves last season, even though the only reason they were given a chance was because the club failed to act decisively in the transfer market.

"You only get described as a young lad for a certain amount of time and then it's time to become a man and perform on a consistent basis. There is great talent at the club at a young age; the manager has been trying to get a young group of players together that can perform well for him," the Liverpool skipper added.

Youngsters like Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom and Suso all made good impressions in their limited first team appearances and Gerrard feels the new season could define the youngsters' career paths.

"It's a big season for a lot of players - you look at Sterling and [Jordan] Henderson. Of course it's a big season for every player we've got but I think the supporters will be looking for the young lads to step up now, try to push people out of the way and become regulars in the team. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing what happens with those young players," the England international concluded

The good news for Liverpool fans is their club has managed to avoid last season's mistakes. Four signings have already been confirmed, with Kolo Toure, Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas and Simon Mignolet having arrived.

Liverpool begin their Premier League campaign at home to Stoke City on 17 August and follow that with a trip to Villa Park the following weekend. The first big game is on 31 August, when champions Manchester United visit Anfield.