Jurgen Klopp loves developing players – often rejecting the opportunity to re-sign players as he feels that he can’t develop them any further. This coming season we are in the Champions League, so it’s fairly obvious to assume that the season promises to be an important one. Competing on four fronts in 2017/18 we really need to have a lot of strength in depth.
Fortunately, Liverpool have a great group of youngsters who have a lot of potential to make an impact. They are likely to feature in the League Cup and early rounds of the FA Cup, with the odd appearance from the bench.
But who are the youngsters we’d expect to feature?
Gomez is able to play as a centre-back or at full-back and it’s this versatility that will bring him up the pecking order.
The arrival of Andrew Robertson means he’s more likely to get game time in the centre and he may end up competing with Ragnar Klavan to be the Reds’ first backup to the starting pair.
Sadly due to cruciate ligament injuries his game time has been somewhat reduced. Managing 90 minutes in the three FA Cup ties he played last season and has been given time in Liverpool’s pre-season so far. Once ambitiously compared to Vincent Kompany and Rio Ferdinand for his blend of comfort on the ball and strength off it.
Born a long pass from Melwood, Alexander-Arnold is possibly the player on the list most expected to rack up first team minutes in 2017/18. He’s a local hero, who has big dreams, recently admitting he won’t be satisfied until he captains his boyhood club.
He has won many plaudits with his maturity in the EFL Cup last season and in his first Premier League start – which came against Manchester United.
I think he will challenge Nathaniel Clyne for the right-back position this season as he offers more of an attacking outlet. He has a lot of support at the club as last season he was voted Liverpool’s Young Player of the Season despite featuring in just 12 games. He should be an automatic starter for all of Liverpool’s EFL and FA Cup games allowing Klopp to rotate whilst competing on four fronts.
The £5m signing of the Serbian youngster – who has already won the Under-20 World Cup and the Serbian SuperLiga – was something of a coup for the Reds in January 2016.
He was linked to many of Europe’s big clubs, it was Klopp’s apparent influence that convinced Grujic to come to Anfield. However, his first season on Merseyside was something of a non-event. Thanks largely to a hamstring injury, Grujic played a collective total of 38 minutes in the Premier League.
Fit again and improving, the rangy midfielder will surely get the chance this season to prove why Klopp and Liverpool went all out for him, particularly after the departures of Lucas Leiva and Kevin Stewart. Occasionally described as the ‘new Nemanja Matic’ due to his height and nationality, Grujic’s game is more similar to Emre Can’s box-to-box style.
Jurgen Klopp admitted to knowing very little about Solanke before his move from Chelsea – much like most of the club’s fan base.
However, the summer of 2017 he showed the world just how good he actually was. Leading the attack for England when they won the U20’s World Cup. Scoring four goals and wining the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player – an honour previously won by; Paul Pogba, Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Diego Maradona! A technically gifted striker, he will be an exciting option from the bench and can learn from Liverpool’s last striking addition from Chelsea – Daniel Sturridge.
Put simply, within minutes of scoring his first goal for the club, there hasn’t been another story seriously linking us wirh another forward.
17 year-old Ben Woodburn is Liverpool’s youngest ever goalscorer in a senior game, against Leeds back in November 2016 in the EFL Cup. This really put him in the spotlight and he is considered by many and one to watch.
He has a lot of expectation, however Klopp is known for developing his players and has said many times that he will afford the Academy lads time. A good pre-season could define how much Woodburn is used in 2017/18. Expect more than the nine competitive appearances this season, and don’t bet against him becoming one the Reds’ youngest Premier League scorers.