With Liverpool now giving up on Alex Teixeira, in the January window at least, it’s clear that Jurgen Klopp is keen to bolster the quality of his squad at Anfield. The off-season will undoubtedly bring it’s own comings and goings as the German manager moulds the squad in his vision and looks to further employ his philosophy.
Big money moves were made by Brendan Rodgers last summer, the quality and suitability of which are up for debate with only really Roberto Firmino looking like he has a decent future at the club (and even he has only really come on since Klopp’s arrival)
To the Northern Irishman’s credit though, one thing he did do well was help bring through a number of youngsters into, or at least around, the first-team. Recalling the likes of the then on-loan Jordan Ibe from Derby or signing exciting full-back Joe Gomez from Charlton, Rodger’s main legacy for Liverpool may be this injection of youth.
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But much more than just this pair, the Red’s have a number of very promising youth players in their ranks who could very easily end up being part of Klopp’s Liverpool side going forward.
We got a glimpse of a number of these during the game against Exeter in the FA Cup. Thrust into the limelight mostly through necessity, the first match against the League Two side saw Liverpool field only three players with four or more caps, the replay at Anfield similarly featuring a raft of inexperienced players.
On both occasions, the youngsters did the club and the manager proud and showed that should he stay for anywhere near the seven years he did at Dortmund, Klopp will have an excellent nucleus of youth to bring through and develop.
Indeed, one of the stand-out features from the charismatic coach’s time in Dortmund was his preference for young, hungry players with pace and passion. His recruitment policy was based around these attributes as was the youth set-up, helping to bring through a host of quality players, most notably Mario Götze.
Now whether or not Liverpool have a player of similar promise and ability in their midst remains to be seen but clearly the club have the right manager to bring through a number of the potential stars in their ranks. They have already shown they can step-up to the first-team when required, displaying enough ability and pride when pulling on the famous red jersey to give both manager and fans alike much to feel good about moving forward.
The two games against Exeter certainly gave them more exposure, but there have been ‘glimpses of the future’ long before those matches. Early last season local lad Jordan Rossiter made his debut, scoring in a League Cup win over Middlesbrough, whilst the rise of Jordan Ibe into a regular for the first-team has been swift and impressive. John Flanagan too who, although slightly older, can be grouped alongside these after a nasty 18-month lay-off and will hope to recapture the form he showed early on under Kenny Dalglish.
Add to this the emergence of several other promising youth products – Connor Randall, Cameron Brannagan, Sheyi Ojo to name just three – and it seem’s the future of Liverpool could be a very rosy one indeed. Already boasting a youthful looking first-team squad with the likes of Coutinho, Henderson and Sakho, with the careful addition of one or two more experienced acquisitions in key-areas there is a strong possibility this Liverpool side can build something truly exceptional.
If Klopp can gradually integrate some of these academy products in to the first-team squad over the next few years then who know’s just how far they, the club and the manager can go?
With the odd exception, it’s been a relatively barren period for Liverpool since the inception of the Premier League. But with Klopp at the helm, this group of players and a whole host of talented, hungry (mostly British) youth-team prospects on the books, a return to the ‘Liverpool of old’ might not be so far away after all.