Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton glad to pit his younger players against Liverpool

Harvey Saunders vies for possession with Liverpool's Billy Koumetio
Harvey Saunders vies for possession with Liverpool's Billy Koumetio

Fleetwood boss Joey Barton was content with his young side’s efforts in their shootout win over Liverpool under-21s in the Leasing.com Trophy.

After an opening group stage loss at Accrington Stanley, the Cod Army beat a very youthful Liverpool side 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Hopes remain high of progression into the knockout stages now, with a home fixture against Oldham Athletic to come on November 12.

“We played against a very young Liverpool side who did lots of good things,” said Barton.

“It was phenomenal experience for them and no doubt they’ll use it in their careers, but it was an opportunity for us to look at some of our younger players.

“We had a couple of 17, 18 and 19-year-olds in there but it is a strange competition.

“Usually the Academy and youth team stuff is left to the Academy and the youth team, but now it’s weirdly spilled over into our domain now.

“We have to accept it for what it is. We got some minutes into some of our senior players, and players like Jack Sowerby is coming back from injury, so it is a strange one, but it gives the fans good entertainment and the penalty shootout at the end is always a good spectacle, especially when you win them.

“I could really do without it if I’m honest. There’s enough fixtures already, but it was a good opportunity to rest our first team with an eye on an important league game for us at the weekend.”

“The first team have stayed on a Saturday to Saturday schedule so we’ve trained exactly how we would have done if we hadn’t had a game during the week.

“Unfortunately for some of the senior lads we had to play them because we had this fixture to fulfil and we couldn’t cram it in anywhere else.

“I can’t really risk the first team against Liverpool’s youth team, though. I just can’t do it.”