Liverpool are still searching for a crop similar to their Class of the 1990s

Elite academy grads have been few and far between since Gerrard and Carragher came through

Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler, Liverpool,

Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler (Picture by: Laurence Griffiths / EMPICS Sport)

While it may have been enforced through injuries, Louis van Gaal's liberal use of youngsters from Manchester United's academy has evoked memories of the Class of 92 era.

Since David Beckham, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes emerged together in the mid-90s before winning everything there was to win at club level, the intervening period had only seen Danny Welbeck, John O'Shea, Darren Fletcher, Tom Cleverley and Jonny Evans see regular first team action after graduating from the United youth ranks before being sold to other clubs.

The new breed of local lads include Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Paddy McNair (not local as a Northern Ireland native like Evans but has been at United since the age of 15) and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.

Who knows what long term future those players will have at United?

But their Europa League opponents and great rivals Liverpool don't fare well in the academy graduate stakes.

Real Madrid's Steve McManaman relaxes on the ground as West Ham's Joe Cole (L), Liverpool's Robbie Fowler (C) and Steven Gerrard take a break during England's training session at Bisham Abbey, ahead of their World Cup Qualifying match against Germany at Wembley Stadium on 7/10/00. Picture by: Rebecca Naden / PA Archive/Press Association Images

Jon Flanagan is the only truly local lad left in the squad after the respective retirement and departure of Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard - a duo who provided a link between the locality and the club's first team.

Yet unlike United, it is easy to forget that Liverpool did put great store in a formerly potent academy during the 1990s.

While that crop of players became collectively and perhaps unfairly dubbed part of the Spice Boys, they built around Scousers with Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman to the fore, which was later complimented by the likes of Michael Owen (who is from a little further afield in Cheshire), Jamie Carragher and a young Steven Gerrard.

Merseysiders David Thompson and Stephen Wright, as well as Scotland's Dominic Matteo also came through the academy during the era, while Merseyside native and ex-Ireland international Jason McAteer arrived via Bolton and non-league Marine.

Thus like United, they did have more of a Liverpudlian core in an era where there were fewer foreign talents in the Premier League but did not have an Alex Ferguson like figure to build a squad capable of getting over the line for the biggest trophies.

But in the current era where the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City can out-bid Liverpool in the transfer market, a much more productive academy would be a major boon for Jurgen Klopp, especially as the type of manager looking to build a system rather than go for the biggest names.