LIVERPOOL’S Academy has made giant strides forward in recent years and that was underlined by the club’s triumph at the Premier League Under-11 Festival.
The young Reds dumped out Barcelona en route to lifting the trophy at the University of Warwick.
The two-day tournament involved 18 English teams as well as the Catalans, Ajax and Sporting Lisbon.
After finishing top of their group, Liverpool beat Barca on penalties after their semi-final finished 1-1.
The final against Fulham ended in stalemate but once again the Reds held their nerve to win the shootout.
Liverpool Academy Manager Steve Cooper said: “At this age group they just tend to play regional teams so it was a chance to play against other teams we don’t normally play against and see some different styles.
“Playing Barcelona is exciting enough as it is. I know our kids were made up just to be playing them. The way that both teams went about the game, trying to play the right way and with a carefree attitude, was brilliant.
“It’s obviously great to win and we’re really proud of the boys, but wherever we had finished up it would still have been a fantastic experience.”
The tournament was played in the nine-a-side format that will soon become mandatory for under-11s and under-12s as part of the FA’s reforms.