Jürgen Klopp has set his young academy prospects the challenge of building on the steps they took towards first team football last campaign.
Jürgen Klopp has set his young, academy prospects the challenge of taking the “next step” when they return for pre-season training in July. The German is a known advocate of promoting and nurturing youth and the 2016/17 season was a perfect example as he brought through the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ovie Ejaria and Ben Woodburn.
Alexander-Arnold was the pick of the bunch, making his full debut at Old Trafford and winning the Liverpool Young Player of the Year award for his performances at Under-23 level. Klopp was evidently impressed with the composure he showed when called upon to play a part in the first team and speaks fondly of the versatile 18 year old.
Ben Woodburn meanwhile made headlines last November when his FA Cup goal against Leeds saw him become the club’s youngest ever goalscorer.
However, with new signings set to come in and bolster Klopp’s squad, the need for filling the gaps with youth prospects could be far slimmer – despite the extra football afforded by competing in four competitions – and their chances for game time will lessen.
While they may have impressed last campaign, the young talents will have to be at their very best to prove to Klopp that they deserve to play a bigger part across 2017/18.
“The boys did really well but they all have to improve,” Klopp said.
“They have to go from being really skilled kids to being players that you have to use. That’s the next step. Look at Rhian Brewster, everyone knows about his talent. It’s fantastic. Ben is a step ahead and someone like Trent is already another step ahead. It’s all cool and good for the future.”