New blood makes Jurgen Klopp’s Reds rosy and they have an incredible array of young talent
At the end of last July, as preparations for the new season were in full swing, Jurgen Klopp expressed his excitement for the future.
Klopp has always been committed to giving young people a chance and the club will never forget how one of his first acts as manager, in October 2015, was to spend a Saturday morning watching a game under 18 years old at the academy.
Clubs only move forward if they keep planning and Klopp has never wavered in his search for new blood for the Liverpool squad, so what he saw on the training grounds in pre-season l left purring.
Future looks bright for Liverpool as quartet of young stars impress in final
Harvey Elliott – 18 and full of promise – had progressed enough after a season on loan at Blackburn that Klopp was only too happy to let Xherdan Shaqiri move to Lyon. France Under-21 defender Ibrahima Konate looked good following his move from RB Leipzig.
Caoimhin Keheller had taken so many steps under goalkeeper coach John Achterberg that Klopp was adamant he had to be Alisson’s assistant, not the much more experienced Adrian.
There were others. Owen Beck – a left-back linked with the club’s top scorer Ian Rush – was improving, as were midfielders Tyler Morton and Kaide Gordon, who were signed from Derby County seven months earlier.
Jurgen Klopp has always been committed to giving young people a chance and he is now delivering results – new signing Luis Diaz, 25, also impressed at Wembley on Sunday
“We have a group of players that we are really passionate about,” Klopp (right) said at the time. “It’s a win-win situation.”
Sunday was simply a “win” situation.
The way Liverpool worked their way through the Carabao Cup, giving opportunities to Gordon and Morton and Beck, along with others such as Conor Bradley and Harvey Blair – who played Preston in the fourth round – proved that the academy was thriving.
One of the German’s first acts when he first joined the club was to watch an Under-18 game.
“We have used the whole team since the start of the competition,” said captain Jordan Henderson after the final victory against Chelsea. “The first team and the academy all contributed which makes it even more special.”
What was particularly significant in extra time, however, was how Klopp turned to Konate and Elliott as two of his replacements and gave Kelleher the platform to show why he ranks him as the ” best No. 2 in the world”.
You might consider how the team will develop. That’s not to say the end of the line has been reached for the men who brought back the good times, but it’s clear the planning won’t stop.
Elliott, who caught the eye of England manager Gareth Southgate, is held in high regard at the club – a young man who seizes the opportunities presented to him.
As the youngest player to appear in the Premier League, talent has never been in question for Elliott, but what he has shown – particularly in coming back so quickly from a broken ankle last September – is the mindset needed to thrive.
His approach is no different to that of Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has been around for years but is only 23 and it’s inconceivable he won’t continue to improve. His childhood ambition was to captain Liverpool and one day the armband will surely be his.
Taking into account Luis Diaz, the 25-year-old Colombian winger who was signed from Porto in January, Diogo Jota (25), Joe Gomez (24) and Kostas Tsimikas (25), the frame is in place for Liverpool to enjoy. a smooth transition.
It will be a source of great satisfaction for Klopp, who questioned last season that the team he took to the top of English football in 2020 was in danger of aging at the same time.
The manager’s appetite to build another great team is huge. There will be more changes this summer and big decisions to be made, with Divock Origi – whose professionalism has been exemplary – certain to leave when his contract expires.
Needing to strengthen in midfield, young star Jude Bellingham would be on Klopp’s radar
Midfield is an area Klopp will tackle at some point.
One player who would be a perfect fit for Liverpool’s project is Jude Bellingham, but whether they have the money to complete a deal for the £100million-rated Borussia Dortmund 18-year-old is another question.
What is certain is that the future looks exciting and the pursuit of more trophies is the best education these young men could receive.
Liverpool brought in a German company called neuro11 last summer to work with players on dealing with high-pressure situations, such as penalty kicks and set pieces.
“We worked with them,” Klopp said. “In pre-season you should have seen the boys at training camp. Compliments to the boys, they did an amazing job. I’m really happy that we were able to win the cup like this.
And really happy, above all, that the future looks bright.