MATT ADDISON COLUMN | Liverpool’s youth prospects offer plenty of reasons to be cheerful

Liverpool have long been a football club with a rich tradition of bringing young talent through, with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher and Steve McManaman emerging in the last couple of decades.


Gerrard Youth
Steven Gerrard representing England in his younger days

Now, though, there seems to be more and more players coming through and making the grade than there has been for a long time.

In an era where transfer fees are inflated, it seems a logical approach, but simultaneously, there is no doubt that focusing on youth is uncommon within top level clubs.

Chelsea focus on young talents to an extent, but purely to loan them out and sell them on for profit. Very few actually get in the side.

Manchester City have spent hundreds of millions of pounds on their Etihad Campus, and as impressive as the facility is, there is a very limited supply of players coming through. 17-year-old Phil Foden might break through this season, but that is very much an anomaly.

Manchester United are focusing more and more on spending the big bucks, despite their tradition of bringing players through, especially with Jose Mourinho in charge.

Perhaps Tottenham are the only team in the top six who have consistently brought people like Dele Alli and Harry Kane in, but now Liverpool have their own glut of young talent, and that is something very much to be proud of.

The hard work of Alex Inglethorpe, the club’s Academy Director, as well as all of the coaches currently employed like Neil Critchley or recently departed Michael Beale, has meant a long line of players with realistic hopes of making outings at Anfield a regular event emerging.

It is testament to Alex Inglethorpe et al that players like Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Woodburn, Ovie Ejaria, Harry Wilson, Rhian Brewster and Yan Dhanda could well achieve the dream of playing for the Reds.


Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has been at Liverpool’s Academy for around a decade 

Dominic Solanke is another, who was identified by the staff, although he came through the system at Chelsea, only to be let go.

Even those who have departed, like Kevin Stewart who left for regular football at Hull City, or Andre Wisdom, who went to Derby County having been out on loan at various places, will go on to make it at a decent level.

Just because ultimately, they were not good enough to make it at Liverpool, that does not mean they cannot go on and have a successful career elsewhere. Liverpool, of course, also make a small amount of money from their sales.

Not all that start out can make it, but there are certainly enough that look like they can at the moment.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is the most obvious player standing out right now, having burst onto the scene, but Ben Woodburn and the rest are not far behind.

Having young players coming through – in particular, those who are local or have supported the club all their life – is something to be proud of.

The link between the Academy and Melwood, provided by trusted member of the first-team set-up Pep Lijnders, is now a well-worn path, and that can only be a good thing.

In fact, so trusted are the players coming through, that Jurgen Klopp elected not to spend money on squad players this summer, but to use the young players instead.

The Reds were only ever in the market for marked improvements on the first eleven when it came to the senior team for that very reason.

The German is more than prepared to utilise youngsters, which is beneficial for the whole club, lifting the mood, and keeping the changing room fresh and youthful.

The mantra is ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’, and Liverpool’s young players are certainly that.

In Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Woodburn and every other player on the verge of becoming a regular fixture in the matchday squad, Liverpool fans have plenty of reasons to be cheerful in that respect. Long may it continue.

Matt Addison writes a column each week for @AnfieldPress, covering all of the major talking points in the world of Liverpool FC throughout the season. Follow him on Twitter at @MattAddison97.


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