Liverpool striker Ben Woodburn to play in U23s this season - source

Liverpool starlet Ben Woodburn is to be predominantly used for the under-23 side in the upcoming season, a source close to the club has told ESPN FC.

Woodburn, 16, has impressed in Jurgen Klopp's first-team this preseason -- capping off impressive performances in friendlies this summer with goals against Fleetwood Town and Wigan Athletic.

The source confirmed that the Wales youth international will be a part of Michael Beale's U23 squad for the 2016-17 campaign, having been promoted from the U18s.

Academy staff have extremely high hopes for Woodburn but are being careful not to rush his development. He will continue to train at Melwood on a regular basis, with Klopp keen to continue the productive relationship between the youth set-up and his first-team.

However, with Woodburn and fellow youngsters Ovie Ejaria and Trent Alexander-Arnold also impressing in the preseason, the Liverpool manager is wary about putting too much pressure on young players.

Speaking after the Wigan friendly last month, Klopp said: "I need to be blind not to see the talent of these boys. My biggest skill is I am patient, so I can wait and we will wait until these guys are really ready. It's about timing, but they are in a good way and we will never forget them -- that's for sure.

"It's not that we have them and use them now in the pre-season and then never think about them. They are in our books for sure and we will do everything so that when they are old enough, they will be good enough.

"The problem that you can make for these guys is that you write too much about them. You have enough time, they are young enough. You can write about them when they are 18, 19 and don't bring them into the situation of going to school and not going to school, meeting friends.

"If we have the situation and if they learn, if they listen and stay concentrated and disciplined then they have a bright future that's for sure. But between now and the bright future, there's a lot of work. Let's start with the work and not with the news."

The coming season will see the introduction of a new competition for youth football -- with the Premier League 2 replacing the U21 league with immediate effect.

Clubs are now allowed to include players aged 23 and under, as well as a goalkeeper and three outfield players who are "overage."

Despite the new rules, Liverpool are expected to still field a young side in the league, with Academy staff believing it will be beneficial for their players to play against tougher and older opposition.

Liverpool U23s kick off their campaign on Sunday afternoon as they take on Southampton at Prenton Park -- the home of Tranmere Rovers.