The Liverpool Youngsters Who Could Stop the Reds Spending Big in the Transfer Market

30 June 2020 03:00

Jurgen Klopp has once again reiterated that Liverpool will not spend big in the summer transfer market, hinting that some of the club's most promising youngsters will instead be given a chance to step up.


The 2019/20 Premier League champions famously pulled out of a deal to sign Timo Werner over financial concerns in the time of COVID, with the German forward instead joining rivals Chelsea for around £50m.


"We cannot spend millions and millions and millions because we want to or we think it is nice to do. We never wanted that," Klopp has said, in comments that will inevitably do little to stop the tide of Twitter talk and transfer gossip.


"You have to be creative and we try to be creative. We try to find solutions internally and there is still a lot to come: we have three or four players who can make big steps."


But just who are the young players ready to step up for the Reds? And with the title already won, could we see more of them before the end of the season?



Defenders


The backline may be an area you would reasonably expect Liverpool to put some investment into in the near future, with Nathaniel Clyne leaving and Dejan Lovren possibly too. Andy Robertson still doesn't have a specialist backup either, with auxiliary option James Milner turning 35 next year.


There is plenty of promise in the academy, however. 18-year-old Dutch starlet, Ki-Jana Hoever is perhaps the most advanced of the lot and has the ability to play centrally, as a right back or even in midfield.


Ki-Jana Hoever was signed from Ajax in 2018

Yet to make his Premier League debut - though that could soon change following the season-ending injury to Joel Matip - Hoever impressed in the EFL and FA Cup this season, as well as scoring and assisting in the pre-restart friendly win over Blackburn.


Sepp van den Berg (whose signing last summer sparked much googling) is another Dutch 18-year-old who could step up as Liverpool's fourth-choice centre back in the near future.


Meanwhile, Wrexham-born Neco Williams (19) - after shining on his Premier League debut against Crystal Palace - looks set to become Trent Alexander-Arnold's understudy, potentially saving the club a few million. The right back's only problem will be getting regular minutes to match his rapid rate of development.


On the other flank meanwhile is 19-year-old Yasser Larouci, held in high regard by the club last year before a serious pre-season injury halted his progress somewhat.


Larouci's only two appearances this season came in the FA Cup

The Algerian played little part in the Reds' domestic cup campaigns this season but could still be tested in the remaining Premier League games as an audition for the role of Robertson's deputy.


From the famed Le Harve academy, Larouci is a 'lightning-quick' converted winger who played a key role in the FA Youth Cup win in 2019.



Midfielders


The most obvious midfielder on the cusp of a serious breakthrough is clearly Liverpool born and raised 19-year-old Curtis Jones, who became the club's youngest-ever captain in the FA Cup victory over Shrewsbury and then scored that winner against Everton.


Capable of playing in the midfield three or as part of the attack, Jones' presence is likely to negate the need to replace the outgoing Adam Lallana.


18-year-old Leighton Clarkson plays as a 'number six'

Lesser-known talents knocking on the first-team door include 18-year-old Jake Cain, another high-pressing creative midfielder who made his debut in the win over Shrewsbury, and Leighton Clarkson (also 18), a deeper-lying talent who has trained with the seniors on occasion as well as impressing in the win over Blackburn.


“Leighton sees with his own eyes the constant runs of Sadio and Mo in behind," Klopp's assistant Pep Lijnders said of Clarkson, via the Echo.


“He has the capacity to play the passes these type of forwards like to receive, he is the type of number six we really like, one who can dictate but dictate with direction, who can speed up the tempo of the positional play, the one who has always time on the ball.”



Attackers


In attack, there is, of course, 17-year-old Harvey Elliott. The Premier League's youngest ever player - and the youngest ever player to start a match at Anfield - already has eight appearances this season and looks set for more as we head into the final weeks - especially with Xherdan Shaqiri out and seemingly exit-bound.


Harvey Elliott and Rhian Brewster are two of the Reds most exciting attacking talents

90min reported back in February that such are Liverpool's hopes for Elliott that they are hesitant to make any signings that would block his pathway to more game time. There is even a belief at Anfield that the former Fulham academy star could become the next young British sensation - a la Jadon Sancho - and save the club tens of millions in transfer fees down the line.


Loaned out Rhian Brewster (19) looked destined for a breakthrough in 2019/20 but his chances got lost amid the relentless brilliance of the first-team regulars.


The London-born darling of Liverpool's academy for so long, Brewster was included in this season's kit launch alongside more senior stars, while his friendship with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain during their rehabilitation from injury is well documented.


The Under-17 World Cup Golden Boot winner won't feature for the Reds this season, but his six goals in 12 starts on loan at Swansea since his January move suggest he can be a natural goalscorer at senior level. The club will face a decision about whether to loan, sell or integrate into the first-team next term. The lack of a move for Werner indicates it may be the latter choice.



Source: 90min