Football is ultimately a game about seizing your moment. In a team full of European champions and Premier League veterans first-team opportunities are usually limited.
Jurgen Klopp named his 23-man squad for the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar in December on Thursday.
There were a number of youngsters included for the journey to the Middle East including the likes of Rhian Brewster and Neco Williams, but will this benefit the teenage duo’s chances of breaking into the first team?
Both of Neil Crticheley’s academy graduates are amongst Liverpool most prized assets after making the leap from the youth team. Williams, 18, delivered a man-of-the-match performance against Arsenal in the EFL Cup – assisting the all-important equaliser in the 5-5 thriller back in October.
Critchley, Liverpool’s U23 head coach, will be overseeing the Reds quarter-final bout in the EFL Cup against Aston Villa on December 17. However, the former Crewe Alexandre midfielder has been handed a limited amount of options for the clash – with some of his key players being selected for the FCWC.
Both Williams and Brewster, 19, have only been granted first-team opportunities in the League Cup this season and its difficult to envisage them breaking into Klopp’s first team in Qatar.
This raises the question as to whether the two players would benefit from being left at home for the Carabao Cup clash rather than warming the bench in the Middle East.
The EFL Cup has proven a significant platform for young players to make their mark in Liverpool’s first-team.
The Red’s best young prospect since club-legend Steven Gerrard has been Trent Alexander-Arnold who has established himself as the best right-back in world football – his breakthrough came in the League Cup against Leeds United back in November 2016.
Liverpool’s stock has risen dramatically since that Anfield clash three years ago meaning opportunities for youngsters to break into Klopp’s Champions League-winning side are more limited than ever.
The midweek cup clash against the Villans could be the last real opportunity for the youngsters to get some senior experience – this further complicated by the FA Cup draw with Everton.
Nonetheless, the inclusion of Brewster and Williams in the senior XI is a huge honour for the two players. But should they fail to feature in Qatar and are eliminated from the EFL Cup, it could prove a huge opportunity missed.