Kenny Dalglish has stressed Liverpool's current crop of young players will not be used until they are ready.
Dalglish named Conor Coady, John Flanagan, Jack Robinson, Tom Ince and 16-year-old Raheem Sterling - all Academy players - in the squad for Thursday's Europa League trip to Sparta Prague.
Sterling was widely expected to make his debut which would have made him the club's youngest ever debutant.
He had shot to prominence by scoring five of the goals in Liverpool's 9-0 win over Southend in the FA Youth Cup earlier in the week.
But first-team manager Dalglish insisted taking them was not a public relations stunt as they were without a cluster of players.
"The young lads have sent postcards home and everything - they were looking for a rock shop but couldn't find one," Dalglish joked about their time in Prague.
"They weren't here for a jolly; they were here because we were short of players. Conor Coady was on the bench which meant we needed at least one of them.
"He's a midfield player and we were short there and he was on the bench because he has done well for the Academy."
He added: "They are all deserving to be here.
"They are a bit young to be pushed in but then if they were asked I'm sure they wouldn't have let us down through lack of effort.
"The most important thing is to be realistic. There was no way we were bringing them over hoping to get headlines.
"We brought them because we needed them and if we didn't have to use them that was in their interest as well as ours, but if we did have to use them we could have."
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