Irish teenager in line for Liverpool bench for Champions League quarter-final

Irish teenager in line for Liverpool bench for Champions League quarter-final

By Stephen Barry

Irish defender Conor Masterson is in line for a call-up to the Liverpool bench for tonight's Champions League quarter-final clash with Manchester City.

The 19-year-old Dubliner trained with Jurgen Klopp's squad this week and could benefit from Liverpool's stretched defensive resources, as he finds himself the only fit centre-back behind likely starters Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk.

That follows the news that a thigh injury has ended Joel Matip's season, while Ragnar Klavan and Joe Gomez are also sidelined. Emre Can, who can fill in in defence, is unlikely to recover from a back problem in time.

"If there is a centre-back in the room I am open for talks," quipped Klopp at his pre-match press conference.

Masterson has been progressing well through the ranks, playing for Liverpool U23s this season, while he's also started seven UEFA Youth League matches for Steven Gerrard's U19s.

Incidentally, they were knocked out of Europe by Manchester City after a penalty shoot-out, with Masterson's among the penalties saved.

He captained the Liverpool U18s last season, taking over the armband from Trent Alexander-Arnold, as well as the Republic of Ireland U19s, where he played alongside recent senior debutant Declan Rice.

His only first-team matchday involvement came as an unused substitute in Liverpool's FA Cup 2-2 draw with Exeter City in January 2016.

He initially signed for Liverpool from Lucan United in 2012, aged 13, before making the move, reportedly worth around €1million, once he turned 16.

Provisional Liverpool squad: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Lovren, Robertson, Milner, Henderson, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane, Mignolet, Clyne, Masterson, Moreno, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Solanke, Ings.

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