By Alex Fisher at Langtree Park
Ajax's youngsters taught Liverpool a footballing lesson in the NextGen semi-final as they ran out 6-0 winner to secure their place in next weekend’s final.
The NextGen series is a competition designed to give youngsters at big European clubs the experience of continental competition, it is the Champions League of youth football and it has produced some free flowing football this season and this semi-final was no different.
With spirits high after the Reds’ first-team victory over city rivals Everton the previous evening but their youngsters were unable to cope with the superiority of their Dutch opponents.
As you would expect, Ajax, under the guidance of former players Fred Grim and Ronald de Boer, passed the ball with consummate ease and took their chances with some clinical finishing.
There were a number of players making an impression in the game and Goal.com was there to run the rule over the next generation of stars
|VIKTOR FISCHER, 17 | AJAX
The young Dane has been labelled by many as the biggest talent at Ajax at the moment and he did not disappoint on Wednesday. He scored two goals in the quarter-final to beat Barcelona and grabbed a sublime hat-trick against Liverpool to raise his stock even further.
Fischer is a versatile attacker who plays on the left-hand side and he showed signs of his quality throughout the game and was involved in all bar one of Ajax’s goals. Many have compared the 17-year-old with fellow Dane Christian Eriksen and it is no surprise, his link up play with midfield was excellent and in front of goal he was coolness personified.
His three goals were expertly taken but his all-round performance was what really stood out.
|DAVY KLAASSEN, 19 | AJAX
The Ajax captain is already a name known around Europe after he made his debut for the first-team in a Champions League match against Lyon and he also played against Manchester United at Old Trafford in February.
Klaassen is one of the biggest Dutch talents of his age and will be pushing for a regular spot in the next season if he keeps on producing performances like this.
Playing as an attacking central midfielder he showed excellent vision and creativity and looked like a young Clarence Seedorf with his energetic breaks. He showed his power and eye for goal with a stinging strike in the opening stages of the second-half and he grabbed two late goals, his second a beautifully struck shot from the edge of the penalty area.
|STEFANO DENSWIL, 18 | AJAX
The Dutch youngster is a left-footed defender who has already trained with the first-team a few times and is the man marked down as the long term replacement for Jan Vertonghen.
That should mean he steps up next season, and when he does the Ajax fans can expect to see a solid central defender who not only loves to defend but also loves to get forward. As with all Ajax youngsters he is cool and composed on the ball, which is just one of the similarities to Vertonghen.
His lightning pace enabled him to cover across the whole of the back four but also gave attacks impetus. He hardly gave the Liverpool forwards a kick due to his dominance in the air and his calmness under pressure shone through.
|CONOR COADY, 19 | LIVERPOOL
On a tough night for Liverpool, one man that stood out was their captain Conor Coady. A swashbuckling midfielder who not only plays like Steven Gerrard but also looks remarkably like the senior captain on the pitch.
The 19-year-old is a tough tackling central midfielder and more defensive-minded than Gerrard but his passion and hunger for the game was clear for all to see. He never shirked a challenge and tried to drive his team forward whenever he could, sometimes he was left frustrated but his energy kept his side going all the way to the final whistle.
Playing in central defence, Coady captained the England Under-17s to European Championship glory two years ago.
|MICHAEL NGOO, 19 | LIVERPOOL
Many would not have picked Ngoo and would have gone for the much talked about Raheem Sterling but the big striker had an excellent game and is definitely a hot prospect for the Reds.
The 19-year-old signed from Southend United in 2009 is very tall, very strong and very powerful in his play and he never gave the Ajax defence a moment's peace, regardless of the result.
Due to his height and talent he resembles a young Peter Crouch but this young striker has got much more pace than the Stoke striker. He never really had a clear sight of goal but that did not stop him trying and he performed admirably on his own leading the line on a difficult night.