Which Liverpool youngsters are set to break through next season?

Here come Klopp’s kids! Harvey Elliott is the teen James Milner says simply HAS to play and Curtis Jones could be Adam Lallana’s replacement… so, with Liverpool boss set to rely on youngsters rather than transfers, who could break through?

  • Liverpool were crowned Premier League champions with seven games to go 
  • The talk of how the Merseyside club are going to strengthen has already begun
  • Jurgen Klopp indicated he will look to the club’s academy to enhance his squad
  • Sportsmail looks at youngsters and assesses their chances of breaking into side
  • They face Man City tonight in their first game since winning the league 

Liverpool have only just been crowned Premier League champions and yet the talk of how they are going to strengthen has already begun.

Manager Jurgen Klopp understands there is an expectation he will bolster his crop of winners to build on the success he has created at Anfield but he indicated earlier this week that he is set to rely on academy products rather than dip into the transfer market.

Here, Sportsmail looks at the youngsters that are coming through at Liverpool and – with seven games to go starting with tonight’s trip to Manchester City –  assesses their chances of breaking into the first team.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp understands there is expectation he will bolster his champions

The right-back is one of the most promising starlets at the champions and made his Premier League debut as a substitute in their 4-0 win over Crystal Palace last week.

Williams has already made six first-team appearances this season, playing the full 90 minutes in Liverpool’s four FA Cup clashes as well as every minute of Liverpool’s Carabao Cup win over Arsenal in October.

Neco Williams is one of the most promising starlets at the Premier League champions

That was his professional debut and he supplied the assist for Divock Origi’s last-minute equaliser in the 5-5 draw at Anfield. Williams was also part of the Liverpool team that travelled to Qatar for the Club World Cup in December.

In his senior matches he has impressed, shown confidence and that he is ready for the step up. He plays in the same position as Trent Alexander-Arnold but it is a good headache for Klopp to have. 

According to the club’s academy director Alex Inglethorpe Williams will put pressure on the England international. 

Likelihood of breaking into the first team next season: 6/10 

Curtis Jones – 19

The central midfielder has already announced himself to Liverpool fans by scoring a sensational winner against Merseyside rivals Everton in the FA Cup third round earlier in the season.

He has featured for Klopp’s first team on eight occasions this campaign and was the club’s youngest skipper in their FA Cup tie against Shrewsbury aged just 19 years and five days.

Curtis Jones joined Liverpool’s youth ranks at age of nine and the teenager oozes confidence

Jones joined Liverpool’s youth ranks at the age of nine and the teenager oozes confidence.  

After arriving at the club five years ago manager Klopp was made aware of Jones’s potential and he has monitored his development. Jones was included in the pre-season tour of the United States in 2018 – an indication that Klopp thought highly of him.

Adam Lallana will leave Liverpool at the end of the season and Jones could be the man to replace him. 

Likelihood of breaking into the first team next season: 8/10

Harvey Elliott – 17

The English winger made the move from Fulham to the Premier League giants last summer and he has been described as an ‘unbelievable talent’ by his boss.

Elliott has made eight first-team appearances for the Reds this season and he impressed in the victory over Arsenal in the League Cup and the FA Cup win over Everton.

Despite his tender age 17-year-old Harvey Elliott has not looked out of place at Anfield

In Liverpool’s FA Cup fourth-round replay against Shrewsbury the Football Association sent a delegation to cast an eye over the 17-year-old, as well as Jones, and Elliott was in the running for a call-up to the England Under 21s prior to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Liverpool’s James Milner previously stated that the youngster is that good he simply ‘needs to play’.

Despite his tender age Elliott has not looked out of place at Anfield but gaining greater experience with more minutes off the bench is more likely.

Likelihood of breaking into the first team next season: 6/10

Ki-Jana Hoever – 18

The Dutch defender has made just three appearances for Klopp’s side this season but is rated highly by both club and country.

Hoever was actually thrust into the spotlight last campaign after Dejan Lovren picked up an injury against Wolves in the FA Cup.

Ki-Jana Hoever is capable of playing across the back line or in a defensive midfield position

The 18-year-old is capable of playing across the back line or in defensive midfield and he has aspects of his game similar to star centre-half Virgil van Dijk including composure on the ball.

With Van Dijk and Joe Gomez forming a strong partnership at the back the youngster is unlikely to play meaningful games during the 2020-21 season.

However he should get the chance to develop by getting more minutes under his belt in the cup competitions.

Likelihood of breaking into the first team next season: 4/10

Sepp van den Berg – 18

Van den Berg was the first player in the door at Anfield in a £4.4million deal following their Champions League triumph last season.

The 6ft 2in centre-half has a calm, big presence at the back but needs time to develop into a first-team player.

He played the full 90 minutes in the Carabao Cup success over Arsenal but showed naivety in the 5-0 defeat by Aston Villa at the quarter-final stage of the competition.

Defender Sepp van den Berg has a calm, big presence at the back but needs time to develop

He has made just four first-team appearances this season and needs greater experience before making the jump into the senior fold.

Training alongside the likes of Van Dijk will be hugely beneficial and he could prove to be a bargain eventually. 

Likelihood of breaking into the first team next season: 4/10 

Yasser Larouci – 19

Like Williams, Larouci has the problem of being behind an exceptional full-back in Andy Robertson but at just 19 he can learn a lot from the Scotland captain.

The Algerian made the switch from Le Havre to Liverpool three years ago and the one-time winger has transitioned into a left-back.

Yasser Larouci needs greater experience and he may only get that by being sent out on loan

He has made just two first-team appearances as injuries have curtailed his involvement in the senior set-up this campaign.

With little cover at left-back Larouci has the chance to show Klopp what he can do next season, although James Milner is likely to continue to provide back-up for Robertson.

Larouci needs greater experience and he may only get that by being sent out on loan. 

Likelihood of breaking into the first team next season: 5/10 

Leighton Clarkson – 18

The midfielder has played just 103 minutes for the Liverpool first team during the 2019-20 campaign but he scored in the warm-up match against Blackburn before the restart.

Clarkson played a nice one-two in the box before showing the composure of a player well beyond his years to coolly slot the ball home. 

Leighton Clarkson has played just 103 minutes for the Liverpool first team this season

‘It is just so nice,’ Klopp told the club’s official website following the 6-0 friendly win. ‘Not only the goal, but when you see the situations when he came on, I think the first pass was between the two strikers, he got it in the No 6 position where he is calm, turns and passes the ball out.’

Clarkson is a defensive midfielder but Liverpool have plenty of options so he will need to continue to improve before breaking into Klopp’s side.

Likelihood of breaking into the first team next season: 3/10 

Jake Cain – 18

The attacking midfielder appeared alongside Clarkson against Shrewsbury in the FA Cup back in February but that was his only senior appearance this season.

But the 18-year-old was mentioned by Klopp when he reeled off a list of youngsters coming through when asked about adding to his squad for next season – so he is on his radar.

Jake Cain appeared alongside Clarkson against Shrewsbury in the FA Cup back in February

Cain also appeared in the match against Blackburn a few weeks ago and Klopp was pleased with what he saw.

‘We can teach the boys a lot, but they have to bring a lot. Obviously the basis for Leighton is not too bad and Jake [Cain] did really well, as well.’

Like Clarkson, Cain needs the time to enhance his game but where better to be able to do that than at the Premier League champions. 

Likelihood of breaking into the first team next season: 3/10 

NOTABLE LIVERPOOL PROSPECTS

To return from loan spells:

Ben Woodburn – 20

Rhian Brewster – 20  

Herbie Kane – 21 

Ovie Ejaria – 22 

Taiwo Awoniyi – 22  

Isaac Christie-Davies – 22 

Sheyi Ojo – 23 

Harry Wilson – 23

Marko Grujic – 23

Featured in Carabao Cup defeat at Aston Villa:  

Tom Hill – 17 

James Norris – 17 

Jack Bearne – 18 

Morgan Boyes – 19

Luis Longstaff – 19 

Tony Gallacher – 20    

Caoimhin Kelleher – 21 

 




Share this article

Source: Read Full Article