Academy side ready for Liverpool test

Hammers midfielder Declan Rice wants to secure the U18s' first final stage three points
West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice is desperate for the U18s to get off the mark with a first win this weekend against Liverpool in the Premier League final stages.
Three of the young Hammers’ four matches in the upper section of the league have so far finished level, while Manchester City beat Mark Phillips’ side 3-0.
This Saturday, the Merseysiders travel to Little Heath for the 11am kick-off and Rice hopes his team can finally get three points on the board.
He said: “It’s disappointing that we haven’t yet won a game in the final stages. We drew the first game against Fulham 2-2 when we conceded in the last minute, and ideally we should have had three points.
“The week after, we drew with Chelsea, so we’re due a win now. We’ve been playing well, so hopefully this week we can turn a performance into three points.”
The Hammers qualified for the league’s upper section after finishing fourth in the South Division, and now face big guns such as Man City, Everton, Chelsea and, of course, Liverpool, something Rice is delighted with.
“They are 100 per cent the teams you want to be playing,” he continued. “When you play the top sides, sometimes you come out of your shell and play better against very good players.
“It was brilliant to qualify, so we were very happy. I remember Mark [Phillips] saying to us that if we win the last four games, we’ll have a chance.
“We did that, and luckily enough, Tottenham beat Arsenal for us to qualify.”
The 17-year-old has been in great form this season, catching the eye of the Development Squad coaches, and he is keen to kick on again next term.
“I’ve been pretty happy with my performances this season, and it’s probably been my best season as a player so hopefully it carries on.
“Next season I can hopefully start some more U21 games and get on the bench for the first team, too, if I’m playing well.
“It would be brilliant to hopefully get a chance to train with the first team in pre-season as well, as it would be fantastic experience for me.”