On their arrival on Merseyside, John W Henry and Fenway Sports Group stated that they were planning a long term strategy for Liverpool Football Club. In a question and answer email with the Red and White Kop fans site, Henry had stated that he had already been to the Kirkby academy to meet Under 18s coach Rodolfo Borrell and Academy technical manager Pep Segura three times; a sure-fire indication that the American owner will focus heavily on youth in the coming years. The development of young players will be a crucial part of FSG’s long term strategy to rebuild the club.
It can also be ascertained then that any new signing in this transfer window or in the summer will be in line with this policy, and they have a Director of Football in place in Damien Comolli who has made his career picking out young talent from across Europe. In addition to this then, FSG will need a nucleus of good young players to build a team around, and below I have listed a number of relative young first team players, and up and coming youngsters they could make up the core of Liverpool’s future teams. With Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard moving into their thirties, I have omitted them from the list but they can still play a crucial part in helping develop the younger players.
1. Pepe Reina – Still only 28, the Spanish goalkeeper only signed a five year contract back in April and has reiterated his commitment to the club recently on a number of occasions. Maybe a future Reds captain?
2. Glen Johnson – Still 26, the England first choice right back has his best years ahead of him but uncertainty has grown about his future with reports suggesting he wants a move abroad. The Reds need to keep hold of their best players if they want to progress and FSG must show Johnson that he is in their future plans.
3. Daniel Agger – Injury has blighted the Dane’s time at Anfield since his arrival in 2006 but he is a talented player whose talent on the ball could be an important driving force for any future attack minded Liverpool team.
4. Martin Kelly – Already showing his promise at right back, his size and strength could make him an excellent centre-back in the years to come.
5. Danny Wilson – Like Kelly, has a great future ahead of him and has the added bonus of being left footed, making him prime candidate to be Agger’s direct understudy for now.
6. Jack Robinson – A great left foot, and could be a Liverpool left back of the future. A long way to go before he is ready for the first team though.
7. Lucas Leiva – Has had his best season in a Liverpool shirt so far and is only 23. Will continue to improve but I think he can be best utilised as a squad player if the Reds look to add another defensive midfield player like Yann M’Vila.
8. Raul Meireles – At 27, still fits into FSG’s long term plans, and could develop into that passing midfield general that we’ve been missing since Alonso.
9. Jonjo Shelvey – Has already impressed in the Europa League and with his range of passing and forward runs, he couldn’t have a better mentor than Steven Gerrard.
10. Dani Pacheco – A creative attacking midfield player, the Spaniard is growing impatient about the lack of first team opportunities. A talented young player which we cannot afford to lose.
11. Suso – An exciting young Spaniard with every trick in the book. Anything is possible for this youngster and we will have to be patient.
12. Michael Ngoo – A strong, tall powerful centre forward, Ngoo could have the makings of a great target man who can hold up the ball and create chances for others. Not always the most prolific in front of goal at the moment but his all round play is developing.
13. Raheem Sterling – Has pace to burn on the wings. Still some way to go in his development but looks promising.
14. Fernando Torres – Still young enough to be around at the end of the long term plan but is the Spaniard going to be patient enough?
So what of those I haven’t mentioned? Players such as Maxi, Kyrgiakos, Kuyt, Skrtel, Jovanovic, Cole, Konchesky and Poulsen are either getting older or a just not good enough for Liverpool (mostly in respect of the last two). Who would you keep or allow to leave in the coming years?
Read more of David’s blogs at his excellent site Live4Liverpool