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With Steven Gerrard on the mend, is it time for Rafa to give the youngsters a shot of a lifetime?

Rafa Benitez has a dilemma on his hands. With Steven Gerrard nursing an injury, Robbie Keane gone, and Fernando Torres getting knocked around as the one and only striker, the goateed-one has an increasing problem on his hands. There’s no doubt Benitez’s squad is thinner than a sheet or plastic wrap, and no matter how resilient that plastic wrap is, there comes a time when too much pressure and pulling causes the plastic to break.

For now the wrap is still intact, but things could be changing without Gerrard. For so long Benitez has kept his youth players under a blanket, only releasing them when he absolutely needs them, and never in games of extreme importance. That is until now.

With Liverpool only two points behind Manchester United, the time has come for Benitez to break the reigns on his prized pupils and let them free for what could be the biggest stretch of games all season. One loss to Portsmouth or Manchester City could spell doom at the most critical juncture of the season.

Daniel Pachecho, Jay Spearing and Emiliano Insua represent the future of the club. All three have played with the first team before, so they should be more than prepared to handle the grueling stretch of games. Plus, Rafa needs them more than ever.

What do Liverpool supporters think? Should the club take the risk of playing the youngsters in this critical stretch, or should they try and go the road alone with the usual starting XI (sans Gerrard).

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