Liverpool Football Club is synonymous with young talent coming into the first team with devastating effect, as Trent Alexander-Arnold has proven this season. But those around the club know that there is even more to come from their impressive youth setup.

By 90Min
May 12, 2018

Liverpool Football Club is synonymous with blooding young talent into the first team with devastating effect. Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard are the obvious examples of the success of the club's academy over the last 20 years.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is on his way to etching his name next to those legends after taking a stranglehold on the right back position following a stunning campaign which has amassed 29 appearances - a remarkable return considering he is only 19. 

But those around Liverpool know that Alexander-Arnold's success is just the start and we have barely scratched the surface of the youth prospects available to the club.

However, while a new golden generation awaits, chances this term have been hard to come by for the plethora of young talent who are patiently awaiting their opportunity to write their first chapter with Liverpool's first team.

The likes of Curtis Jones, Ovie Ejaria, Harry Wilson, Sheyi Ojo, Ben Woodburn and Rhian Brewster are the stars of the future, and Liverpool must ensure the pathway blazed by Alexander-Arnold is kept open for a new generation to stand alongside him. 

The consequences of failing to utilise the burgeoning talent is already starting to rear its ugly head after news of Brewster - an 18-year-old striker and England Under-17 World Cup winner - emerged linking him with a switch to the Bundesliga in search of senior football which has been made readily available to young English talent in recent years. 

Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund has been the standout example after leaving Manchester City last year, whilst Everton's Ademola Lookman reaped the immediate benefits of a loan move to RB Leipzig this term. 

Liverpool, however, cannot afford to fall into the same trap as Chelsea and watch idly as talent walks out the door, and as such they must make use of their position to offer a similar pathway to that available in Germany - and they have the perfect manager at the helm in Jurgen Klopp to do so.

The Liverpool boss is a known advocate of using those already within the club's ranks and as he is not one to splurge in the transfer market on a consistent basis, the inexpensive route through the club's Kirkby Academy is paramount for the club's future success. 

But the German is never to be rushed in handing a youngster an opportunity in the first team.

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Klopp enjoys keeping a close eye on his academy prospects by inviting a handful of players to join the first team training sessions at Melwood, and he told the Liverpool Echo in February: "We know the boys and giving them the opportunity is always nice. If we were to have injuries then we would need them for a proper training session.

"You can only use them if they are ready for that and the level doesn't drop when they are in. It's good for all of us."

The question now is, when? 

How long before they deemed good enough? And will they all hang around long enough to see it through?

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Alexander-Arnold was handed his debut in a baptism of fire at Old Trafford last season after Nathaniel Clyne succumbed to a late injury, an opportunity he seized and has yet to look back on - where he now has a Champions League final firmly on the horizon. 

The 19-year-old is assured, composed and exudes passion for the football club he has supported his entire life, and the faith placed in him has to be replicated with others next season if Liverpool are to ensure their list of successful academy stars continues to prosper - and remain on the books. 

However, the Reds have seen a handful of senior players ruled out with season-ending injuries this term, yet no academy prospect has been given the opportunity to try their luck and fill their shoes beyond the substitute bench.

Early exists from the League and FA Cup this season have limited opportunities which may have presented themselves for those remaining on Merseyside, but those on loan spells: Ejaria (Sunderland), Ojo (Fulham) and Wilson (Hull) have not had the chance to put their hand up this season.

Wilson, has remarkably been overlooked by Klopp on several occasions in the past, but after continuing his stunning Under-23 form into the Championship with the Tigers this term - after notching seven goals and three assists in his 13 appearances for the club - the expectation is that Wilson should be pushing for a more regular role in the match day squad in August.

With the Reds expected to compete on four fronts once again next season, rotation will be key and the talent and the future of Liverpool Football Club lies within their academy ranks. 

And now it is up to Klopp to guide the next generation into his first team plans as he did Alexander-Arnold, or risk losing the stars of the future to both domestic and European rivals. 

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