Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits he cannot force the club’s talented youngsters to stay but he wants players who are interested in the club’s future and not a quick pay day.
A number of youngsters will get a run out again in the FA Cup third-round replay at home to Sky Bet League Two Exeter and among them could be wantaway striker Jerome Sinclair.
With Daniel Sturridge still not fit to return, with Klopp revealing he has not yet trained with the full squad since a hamstring injury in early December, and the side struggling for goals, the 19-year-old could have a real chance to make a name for himself.
However, although Liverpool’s youngest ever first-team player – he made his debut at West Brom in September 2012 aged 16 years and six days – scored in the first tie at St James Park, his time on Merseyside is coming to an end.
His contract expires in the summer and he has already been linked with a move to Watford this month and while that is unlikely it seems probable the stand-off in negotiations over a new deal will mean he will leave at the end of the season.
It may not entirely mirror how they lost Raheem Sterling to Manchester City last summer as the England international was much further ahead in his development and a first-team regular, but it is a sign of the times that the best academy prospects are looking elsewhere for football.
“I like Jerome, he is a real talent and if he wants to stay with us no problem. If not, we cannot force it,” said Klopp, who had nothing to say on the Watford link.
“He has skills, he is a very good shooter but physically it is not easy for him in the centre position in a Premier League game against 6ft 4in defenders to survive but he is very young and he can develop.
“As long as he is here he is a LFC player absolutely no problem but I cannot make decisions for them.
“As a club you cannot make younger players happy. That is not possible. It is not the first job.
“Like in normal life if it is not easy for you to be happy then no-one can help you but what we try to do is create a situation where younger players know it is not important to get the highest wages in your life in the first year of your career.
“It is more important to get the real education and that is what we want to try.
“First of all you need young players who want to learn and if we can create a situation where they feel it is the right place to learn then everything is good.
“That is what we will try for next season, we cannot do it now as it is too big a rush.
“First we need to offer education and training and the possibility to work together with the best coaches and the best players we have and then it is up to the players.”
Sturridge’s injury situation continues to frustrate Klopp, who is still waiting for the England international to put together a run of successive days training before he will consider him.
“Absolutely no chance for Daniel,” said the German. “He had, again, a break in his training sessions because of some issues and he is now back on the pitch and training but always in a good way [then] losing time.
“He has not had any team training since Newcastle and that is not a situation where we can think about him.”
On the side he will be able to put out against Exeter he added: “We had a few players in the squad for the last two matches who were injured a couple of weeks ago so we have to think for who it makes sense and for who it is not too dangerous or difficult to start again.
“We have to build a squad with players who are in a situation to win the game and where there is not too much doubt about re-injuries.
“That is the first thing we have to think about, so it will be a similar team to last time.”
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