Dave Davis takes a look at Liverpool’s youth ranks and wonders who will be at the club once the summer recruitment is over.
Xherdan Shaqiri, Moses Simon, Christian Pulisic and Gonçalo Guedes. Just four of the attackers Liverpool have been linked with in recent weeks.
Aside from Shaqiri, the other three, as well as additionally linked targets, are all young players with real potential.
Their arrivals would naturally be seen as a positive by the majority of Reds, however it may be bad news for some who report back to Melwood this summer.
Liverpool already have a number of youngsters who can play in a wide position at the club and they’ll no doubt be watching developments carefully.
Many spent last season away from the club, but the likes of Kent, Ojo, Wilson and Woodburn will be looking to see if they have a future at Liverpool.
Harry Wilson is the youngster that many have the greatest hope for, after such an impressive loan at Hull City. The Wales international netted on his full international debut against China and completed a spell that yielded seven goals, three assists and a Championship Player of the Month award.
Whilst unlikely to displace one of the front three, there’s a belief that the 21-year-old winger possesses the ability to provide quality back-up and make a real contribution. Rumours of an interest from the likes of Huddersfield and Fulham are more than understandable.
Others are looking less likely to figure, based on recent performances. Ryan Kent endured a miserable time on loan in Germany, which was subsequently cut short.
It was telling that his loan spell at Bristol City saw the Championship club reportedly have to pay Liverpool £500,000 due to his lack of game time. It’s difficult to see what a further loan spell would ultimately achieve for the 21-year-old Oldham born youngster.
Sheyi Ojo enjoyed a positive start to his time at Craven Cottage as he looked like becoming a key part of their side. However, a shoulder injury hampered his season and further injuries at the turn of 2018 meant further stuttering in his development.
As the Londoner’s campaign began to gain traction, it was telling that Ojo found himself out of the squad and featured once in their last eight games. Similar to Kent, whilst the 20-year-old isn’t without talent, it’s difficult to see him getting the minutes he needs at Anfield.
Ben Woodburn’s appearances in a Wales shirt excited Liverpool fans and there was a feeling that this would be a breakthrough season for the eighteen-year-old at Anfield.
However, in a campaign where the first team squad often found themselves decimated by injury, Woodburn managed a lowly six minutes in the Premier League.
The Chester native clearly has more time on his side than the others and has shone at a higher level. His long-term future may be at Anfield, but it’s difficult to see how a loan spell wouldn’t be beneficial for all concerned.
Tough decisions need to be made as for all the talk of talented youngsters in the academy, the first team standard is as high as it’s been in a long time.
When players like Simon and Shaqiri are being linked as suggested squad players, it’s difficult to see how young attackers will get the minutes they need.
There’ll likely be a cull. Not all will remain.