Liverpool are the ideal team to develop Rhian Brewster into an elite talent. Jurgen Klopp knows what he needs to get there.
Brewster has certainly caught the eye in pre-season. Liverpool have only played twice but the 20-year-old scored in their first friendly and then bagged both in a 2-2 with RB Salzburg.
And that all gives Liverpool a problem. What do they do with Brewster this season? They could keep him but risk not using him enough, much like the first half of last season.
Or they could loan him out – but that carries other risks. If he goes to the wrong team, he may not play anyway. Brewster could even end up in a poor side that doesn’t create chances for forwards. In that case, he’s wasting a season.
Fortunately, Klopp can make this decision easier as he says he knows what Brewster needs. The forward needs to learn how to be more involved in games. So where better than Liverpool next season?
Learning from the best
Brewster has a lot of talent. Right now, however, we’re primarily seeing that through the goals he scores. There were 11 over the second half of last season for Swansea City and, of course, his three in pre-season.
Klopp wants more, though.
“He can learn a lot of things but he’s a natural goalscorer – that’s what he is,” the boss said after Brewster’s brace. “He has to be more involved in the game when he’s on the pitch, but I have to say in the decisive moments he’s 100 per cent there.”
There is no better team to learn being involved than with Liverpool. It’s a side that presses hard without the ball, puts a lot of emphasis on shape, and utilises centre-forwards differently.
There’s no room for standing around waiting for the ball, in other words. Roberto Firmino, the current no.9, is possibly the most versatile forward around. He’s always moving, always looking to have an effect on the game – with or without the ball.
That’s what Liverpool need to aim for with Brewster, too. He’ll never be a carbon copy of Firmino, of course, but there are elements and traits he can add to his game.
While Firmino focuses on movement and pressing, Brewster can concentrate on goals – that doesn’t mean he can’t learn the rest.
Liverpool and Klopp can teach him those things better than anyone. As long as he gets time on the pitch, that is. Saturday will be a real test to see what he can do in this side and if he passes it, it’ll be best for everyone if he sticks around this year.