Michael Baddeley explains why Sheyi Ojo will be Liverpool’s surprise package this season.
The start of the season is finally here! And with the new season comes renewed expectations, new players to the club and a surprise package that shines and takes everyone by surprise at their rise to first team status.
For me there is nothing more pleasing than seeing a youngster that your club has trained up through the youth levels, making it on the big stage and getting praised by media all around the country for the progress they’ve made. It’s always nice seeing one of the new lads or even one of the squad players becoming a first team regular, but nothing beats a youngster doing it.
But the burning question is, which Liverpool player will actually break out and be labelled as our surprise package this season?
I think it’s blindingly obvious who the players are that could be good for Liverpool this season. Young Sheyi Ojo, the mammoth of a man Marko Grujic and new boy Ragnar Klavan are the three that stand out for me.
Obviously, as Liverpool fans, we wouldn’t be surprised if these three were to shine this season as we’ve had pre-season to watch them, but other fans across the country or maybe even the world would be shocked to see these guys shining.
But for me there’s only one lad that’s going to come up to the first team, make that position his own and fight off other players for the position and for me it is Sheyi Ojo.
I love Marko Grujic as a player and I am fully confident he will shine in centre midfield, he will also probably be a first team regular by the end of the season and he’s evidently got a massive future at the club. But I think his position was already cemented when joining, Klopp made him his first signing for a reason and I firmly believe Grujic was that signing because he is going to be key in the Klopp era.
Ojo is a player that has caught the eye of many Liverpool fans over the past few years. His performances in the different youth levels throughout the years have been nothing short of brilliant. He has such swagger about him when he’s on the ball and even when playing for the first team he didn’t seem fazed about it. He just seems to have such confidence in his ability and with an attitude like that it was only a matter of time before he broke through.
We’re yet to really see him this season due to international commitments and a recent injury that’s kept him out of the last few friendlies. But in his appearances last season, as well as the two he made this preseason, he’s looked the real deal.
When it was announced he was making his league debut against Stoke last season I was so excited to see how he fared. I remember telling some of my friends who are Stoke fans that he was going to tear them apart, obviously they laughed at me but how right was I?
All the way through the game he looked like he was going to cause trouble for the experienced Potters defence. He would press high just like Klopp likes and he would make threatening off-the-ball runs in behind the full back. Time and time again he would pick up the ball and run at the defenders, turning them inside out with his speed and skill, just ask Shaqiri about that one!
Pushing the ball one side and then running round the other side of the Swiss international, who may I add has played for some top European sides, he then got to the by-line and delivered an inch perfect cross for Sturridge to convert. Magnificent, he truly stole the show for me.
He ended the season having started five league games and managing to knick three assists, a good stat for a 19 year old lad if you ask me. He then carried his rich vein of form into the summer where he represented England at the u19 Euro Championships. He assisted twice against France and then got another one against Croatia in the final game of the group stages.
After being knocked out by Italy in the championships he flew straight out to America to join his team mates instead of taking a holiday. He just furthered my reasoning to why he will be the Liverpool’s breakthrough player this season. A very good first preseason performance in the win over AC Milan was followed up by a goal in the defeat to Roma.
Another player who I think could really surprise Liverpool fans as well as football fans in general is Ben Woodburn. He’s had a phenomenal pre-season and at the age of 16 many have said lets not get to far ahead of ourselves with the lad. But as the saying goes, ‘if you’re good enough, then you’re old enough’ and he’s shown this pre season that he is definitely good enough!
But for me its going to be Sheyi and there’s going to be nothing that will stop the lad. Like I said earlier, the kid oozes confidence. If he can stay grounded and not let his mind run away with the fairies then there is no questioning that he will be the one who’s name will make the long list of the academy graduates. I am certain that will be this season, but for now lets just hope that this is the year where it all starts for him.