Jamie Carragher keeps an eye on his progress. The Academy staff have long known his potential. And he has already earned the trust of Jurgen Klopp.

Now Tyler Morton is poised for another taste of first-team action as Liverpool look to take a step nearer Wembley this evening.

With the Reds facing a midfield selection crisis, the 18-year-old makes his first senior start in the Carabao Cup fourth round tie at Championship side Preston North End.

It is further evidence of the rapid progress through the ranks of Morton, who has been at Academy since the age of seven and only two years ago was still finding his feet at under-16 level.

For some time, though, the youngster has been one to watch.

“Tyler Morton is someone I’ve known from a young age at the Academy," said Carragher, speaking to the ECHO this summer. "He has always been someone I’ve looked out for."

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Morton - who regards Steven Gerrard and Thiago Alcantara as his heroes - shot to wider prominence when impressing on his debut as a second-half substitute in the 3-0 third round win at Norwich City last month, slotting into a defensive midfield role in which he has only occasionally occupied at Academy level.

He was one of three youngsters handed a first senior appearance for the Reds that evening, joining right-back Conor Bradley and winger Kaide Gordon.

And assistant manager Pep Lijnders has underlined why Liverpool would have no qualms turning to the Academy once again.

"I said before the game against Norwich that the young players will never let you down," says Lijnders. "Did Conor Bradley let us down? Did Kaide Gordon let us down? Did Tyler Morton let us down?

"How did Tyler Morton improve our second-half positional game? By speeding up with each simple, quick pass. How he was constantly available to outplay the first pressure of Norwich. How he was organised midfield tactically when the others were putting on pressure and counter-pressure.

"Conor went 95 minutes as the full-back who was constantly jumping to the deep wing-back of Norwich.

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"These boys have heart and that's the most important thing. As long as they have heart and they play with our values and are humble, then they always get a chance. It's an important part of our success over the last few years.

"Otherwise we would not have thought about Curtis, about Harvey, about Trent, about all the others who made steps in their careers."

Morton is likely to be the only starter of the young trio at Deepdale, with Liverpool down to three senior midfielders given the absences of Fabinho, Thiago, James Milner, Naby Keita and Harvey Elliott through injury.

The fit-again Neco Williams featues at right-back ahead of Bradley, while the game has come too early for Gordon having missed almost a month through injury.

With five substitutions allowed in the Carabao Cup following a rule change, there remains plenty of scope for Klopp to give other youngsters chance.

And Lijnders has explained how this season's international breaks have proven invaluable in giving the next generation a platform to demonstrate their wares in front of the watchful eye of the first-team coaching staff.

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"Our Academy is constantly producing new players and in every international break we use the time to see them, to train with them, so we have a good view on what we have," he says.

"We have new players coming in who really make an impact in these sessions. There's always one or two surprises in these international breaks. And if that keeps going and we produce our own quality with the values of Liverpool, then we are always one step ahead of whatever may come.

"That's what I like about us, we give these young players opportunities.

"Sometimes you are searching for gold and you realise that you are sitting on it.

"Last year we were searching for centre-halves. We played Fabi, we played Hendo and in the end the gold was next to us with Nat and Rhys (Williams). That's why we came third in the league.

"That's the same with young players and the same with our process. Sometimes you are sitting on it."