Liverpool may have just shifted a new plan into place after finalising a loan move for outcast winger Ben Woodburn. The Wales international joins Blackpool on a short-term deal, joining former youth coach Neil Critchley in League One.
The 21-year-old has spent the last season-and-a-half away from Anfield, representing Sheffield United and Oxford respectively. Woodburn has made five appearances for the Liverpool U23s so far this campaign, bagging himself a goal against Manchester United in the league (via Transfermarkt).
After rising through the ranks an impressing Jurgen Klopp alongside close friend Trent Alexander-Arnold, the forward man fell off the map. Unlike his fellow academy graduate, he has been limited to just 11 senior appearances for the Merseyside outfit. Woodburn’s last appearance for the Liverpool first team was in 2018 – a six minute cameo against Brighton in a 4-0 Premier League win.
Since then, his future has looked sure to indicate a permanent move away from Anfield. However, Michael Edwards’ recent negotiations with Blackpool could be part of a much bigger picture.
Critchley left the Liverpool set-up to take charge of the Seasiders back in March, finishing off the 2019/20 season with a 13th place finish. This campaign has seen the club struggle, as they currently sit in the lower reaches of League One. Acquiring a pacy winger like Woodburn could help pull Blackpool out of a rut and see them start to climb the table.
Operating under a manager he knows well could be the making of the Welshman, who made history with Liverpool as their youngest ever goalscorer back in 2016. With attacking options limited this season, Klopp may be hoping to integrate Woodburn into the first team and serve as back-up to the front three.
Indeed, the German waxed lyrical over the youngster just last year, hailing him as an “outstanding talent” (via Liverpool ECHO).
Sadio Mane was recently ruled out of action due to a positive Covid-19 test. Diogo Jota has the left-wing covered but an injury to Mohamed Salah could be detrimental. Klopp and Edwards may be working on a clever ruse to flip Woodburn’s career on its head and see him become a regular senior player.