As Liverpool savour their title victory, eyes are already starting to turn to the next generation who could keep the club top of the league — and prevent the Kop waiting another 30 years for a team of champions.
Thankfully for manager Jurgen Klopp the list is a long one, ranging from players desperate to move from the bench to the starting line-up, to those still playing in the Academy and those sent out on loan.
assesses the players to look out for as Klopp begins to build the Liverpool of the future…
There’s a group of high-profile youngsters tipped to make senior appearances in the run-in — especially now five substitutes can be used.
The 17-year-old isn’t ‘one of their own’ — he was snatched from Fulham after making his debut at Craven Cottage at the tender age of 15. But by the time he becomes a regular at Anfield, you suspect it will feel like he is. The winger bases his game on Mo Salah, so he couldn’t have a better mentor. He has already made seven appearances this season, including one in the Premier League. In fact, he made his debut in the competition last season.
A wonder-kid signed from Ajax, he became the club’s youngest ever FA Cup player when he faced Wolves in January 2019. Now 18, the centre-back is close to a call-up.
Goalkeeperis only 21-years-old but is already being tipped as the real thing by those in the know on Merseyside. He made first team appearances this season, impressing against the MK Dons, Arsenal and Shrewsbury in cup ties — including a memorable penalty shoot-out victory over the Gunners — and was even on the bench for the Uefa Super Cup final against Chelsea in Istanbul. Sadly, the ex-Ringmahon Rangers man has spent the last few months recovering from a serious knee injury, but he’s now on the way back. Preston, Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham are all said to be interested in a loan next season, but he’ll be pushing Adrian all the way for a place on the bench at Anfield soon.
ALREADY FAMOUS, BUT YET TO MAKE THE GRADE
Another 20-year-old striker famous before his time. Brewster helped England to win the 2017 Fifa U17 World Cup, including scoring hat-tricks in the quarter and semi-finals plus a goal against Spain in the final itself. Fast forward a few years and the youngster is now on loan at Swansea, on a half-season deal. He scored twice in the space of three minutes as the Swans beat Middlesbrough last weekend and now has six goals in 12 appearances so far. He could be back at Anfield soon.
Taiwo Awoniyi: The Nigerian defender, now 22, is on loan at Mainz in Germany and because of work permit problems in the UK, he could stay there next year. In fact the player has already had six different loan spells since arriving at Anfield, so he is nearing the last-chance saloon.
The commanding centre-half is back at Melwood after his loan spell at National League Kidderminster Harriers was curtailed. He has been at Liverpool since he was nine years old and is now 18. Highly rated.
Jake Cain: The 18-year-old attacking midfielder scored eight goals and provided 11 assists in an impressive season for the U23s, his first at that level. He’s tipped to knock on the first team squad door next season.
: A prolific striker at youth level, Layton scored 16 times this season and added seven assists. All that in just 23 games and at the age of 17. Only an ankle injury slowed him down in the end, but Liverpool Academy director Alex Inglethorpe is confident about his future. “He can be anything he wants to be,” he said.
Everyone is looking for a natural defensive midfielder, so Clarkson is being closely watched — and said to be near to a first-team call-up. He even contributed 13 assists, which shows his forward range of passing is as impressive as his defensive nous.
Given a surprise call-up for an EFL Cup tie against Aston Villa, Hill is well known at Anfield. Jamie Carragher says he first saw him play at the age of six. An all-round attacker he scored eight goals this year at the age of 17.
Another Scouser on the way up, like Curtis Jones. Norris, a talented left sided midfielder or winger, is only 17. Keep an eye on him — he’s already come off the bench to make his first team debut in the EFL Cup.