Jurgen Klopp has detailed a conversation with Sheyi Ojo that the winger hopes will earn him a long-term future under the German at Liverpool.
Ojo has found himself on the periphery on Merseyside this season, having suffered a troubling back injury in the summer and finding himself dropping down the pecking order.
Liverpool U23s captain Harry Wilson has been among those promoted in Ojo’s place, with the Wales international training regularly with the first team at Melwood.
But Ojo, who joined Klopp and his squad in Tenerife for their warm-weather training camp this week, is still eyeing a role with the Reds in the future, and asked his manager what he required.
“The easiest answer was ‘more’, because when you are that skilled, then come on!” Klopp explained.
“[I asked] ‘when was the last time you did a 100 percent sprint?’
“Technical-wise he’s so good that he doesn’t use it, but that makes no sense because at the highest level you need this speed.
“Now at U23 level I can see him running like crazy to show ‘yes, I’m ready’ and that helps him a lot.
“Even in not-perfect games you can see he’s involved in other parts.
“So, it’s a very important moment for him and if he keeps this attitude then everything will be good in the end, 100 percent.”
This is no new situation for Ojo, however, with the 19-year-old already the subject of public scrutiny for Klopp back in January, when the German said he needed to find “sharpness.”
And the following month, U23s manager Mike Garrity also attested that “he has to bring those moments [of quality] on a more consistent basis.”
It is certainly a difficult challenge for Ojo, though his three assists in eight Premier League outings last season suggest he has the quality required to break through under Klopp.
And reflecting on Klopp’s advice, Ojo acknowledged that his application and all-round contribution needed to improve.
“He mentioned that he wanted me show that I wanted it,” the youngster said.
“As a young player there’s always going to be ups and downs and it’s been hard for me getting injured and then coming back and not really getting an opportunity.
“But I’ve had to dig deep with the support of the staff and I feel that I’m getting better in every game.
“My work ethic’s probably been the best it’s ever been since I’ve been playing football, which is obviously a positive.
“I’m more direct when I get the ball like the manager wants me to be. So hopefully I’m heading in the right direction.”
Ojo is likely to get few more opportunities to impress for the first team this season, meaning the summer could be a make-or-break spell for the former MK Dons youth.