We can all acknowledge that the Future of Liverpool FC is so important. As amazing as it is to see some big transfers being made and our squad full of some of the worlds best players, it is that little bit more special when we have a product of our very own youth system walking out at Anfield each week.
I remember the recent buzz surrounding Raheem Sterling as he gradually made his way into the 1st team.
However the issue we have is that since the rise of Steven Gerrard we haven’t really seen any quality come through.
I will be looking at 5 young prospects that we are lucky to have at our club:
Liverpool youth setup.
We do owe a lot of the major rebuilding within the youth setup to Rafael Benitez.
Year by year the technical ability of the players coming through has improved, but we are still missing that gem.
To try and change this, last summer Alex Inglethorpe was promoted from under-21 manager to Academy Director.
With the main task of developing an environment in which the players can adapt and mirror to the style of play of Jurgen Klopp’s 1st team.
Another move that came in under the radar for most people was the appointment of Dutchman Pepijn Lijnders as first team development coach.
Just a year after joining the club as their under-16 manager. This move will allow him to work closer to Klopp and become a vital cog within his 1st team coaches.
Mr Youth Development
Lijnders is highly rated, he is ‘Mr Youth development’ at the highest level. He has had impressive spells at PSV and Porto.
He really focuses on increasing player intelligence and decision-making. He’s also created a street academy to try and creating that rough competitive edge. Emulating how the likes of Maradona, Pele and Messi were brought up on the South American streets.
The teams would be mixed ages, where often younger boys would play against much stronger older boys.
There would be no referee to stop games for a foul. You had to fight for the ball, often playing 2 v 2 matches inside the dressing rooms – winner stays on.
His idealologies are if you can perform in a difficult scenario, then you can perform on the perfect pitches of the Premier League, this time protected by referees.
The Future of Liverpool FC
Lijnders has also created a Futures Group, a selection of the most highly-rated Academy youngsters across the under-15 to under-21 age groups.
This allows players who could one day be in the first team, to build up an understanding from a very young age.
The older players can become mentors to the u11’s, developing leadership skills, which at times is missing in our current 1st team.
Jurgen Klopp actually watches those sessions every week, which to me shows he has an interest in the future.
If any of the youngsters want to impress to force their way into the 1st team his is their chance.
With a potential change in rules due to Brexit, home grown players will become even more popular. So i’m sure that we’ll see our youth setup being under scrutiny more over the coming years.