Leighton Clarkson is back at Liverpool after a loan spell with Blackburn Rovers. The midfielder could even feature against Shrewsbury Town this weekend.
Leighton Clarkson joined Blackburn Rovers on loan in the summer – and that was a double-edged sword. On the one hand, here was a club he supported as a boy and who had shown a brilliant ability to develop players last season.
On the other, they showed that by letting Harvey Elliott thrive. Comparisons would only pile pressure on Clarkson and that’s not really fair – Elliott is a unique talent.
What also wasn’t fair on Clarkson was the timing of this. Last season’s Blackburn were a midtable Championship side that could afford patience with Elliott. He got opportunities in a team that lacked consistency.
Clarkson didn’t have the same luxury. Blackburn are a different animal this season, competing for the title as the league’s in-form team.
“I’ve had lots of chats with Leighton and I want to put on record that this lad is an amazing footballer, what a talent,” manager Tony Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph.
“He’s come at a time when our team is functioning and he understands.
“He knows football, it’s hurting him because he’s a Rovers fan and I haven’t been able to give him the game-time and he understands that because the team is winning and functioning.”
So with that, Clarkson returns to Liverpool. What’s next?
Leighton Clarkson returns to Liverpool
Clarkson, then, will surely need another loan deal this month. He’s now 20 and certainly ready to step-up into senior football – he just needs a team that will give him that consistently.
We imagine Liverpool are already on that, looking to see who could use a talented young midfielder in the Championship right now. There have to be a few, surely?
As for the immediate future, Clarkson could feature in the FA Cup on Sunday as Liverpool host Shrewsbury Town. There’s actually an outside chance he plays against Arsenal on Thursday in the EFL Cup – but that would be a shock inclusion.
It wasn’t the plan but Clarkson could feature for Liverpool this season. But both club and player will hope this is just a pit-stop ahead of another loan.