Jurgen Klopp opted not to pick Rhian Brewster for his squad against Leeds United on Saturday. It doesn’t bode well for the 20-year-old forward.
We had this down as a tough decision ahead of the game. Does Klopp opt for experience and the known quantity of Divock Origi? Or does he take a gamble on Brewster?
As it turned out, he went for Origi. Brewster wasn’t in the squad and Klopp instead had the Belgian on the bench. Not that he called on him, however. And that appears to be a clear sign that Brewster isn’t needed this season.
No room left
Liverpool do have a large squad right now. It’s six or seven players larger than this time last season, in fact, and probably needs trimming.
Brewster is one of those players at the front of that queue. It may be on a loan deal or permanently but it certainly seems that Klopp has him down the list of options.
Origi is quite clearly ahead of him, given the selection against Leeds. But the fact that Origi is ahead of Brewster and not even guaranteed minutes means Brewster is actually quite far down the list.
And at that stage, it doesn’t even make sense to keep him about.
Brewster is still only 20 but is at a point in his development where he needs games. His 22 for Swansea City last season produced 11 goals, so we can clearly see the benefit of him playing.
But he needs more. And if he’s behind a player who’s not even guaranteed to play himself, then it’s difficult to see how he gets them at Liverpool.
Brewster is a ‘potential’ first-team player, after all. He’s not there yet and his value is entirely in what he could become one day. And if Liverpool can’t give him what he needs to get there, he’s just not a useful player.
Loaning him out – or selling with a buyback clause – has to happen, then. Liverpool need to get Brewster somewhere where he can become that top player and, hopefully, they’ll reap the rewards down the line.
But as we saw with the game against Leeds, Brewster won’t become that player at Liverpool.