The new face in Liverpool’s first-team training at Melwood

15 January 2019

Jurgen Klopp included a new face among his first-team squad for training on Tuesday, ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League meeting with Crystal Palace.


The Reds continued preparations for Saturday’s league clash with a morning session utilising both the indoor and outdoor facilities at the current senior base.

While Trent Alexander-Arnold joined the long list of absentees with a knee injury, and Gini Wijnaldum misses out with a knock that could keep him out at the weekend, a host of key names were involved.

Alisson, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Naby Keita, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Xherdan Shaqiri were all pictured, with all but one likely to start at Anfield.

They were joined by Simon Mignolet, Alberto Moreno, Divock Origi and youngsters Ki-Jana Hoever and Curtis Jones, with spirits high after a 1-0 win at Brighton.

Rhian Brewster was also present, as the 18-year-old undergoes an individual programme to aid him on his imminent return to full training.

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 9, 2017: Liverpool's goalkeeper Viteslav Jaros warms-up before an Under-18 FA Premier League match between Stoke City and Liverpool at the Clayton Wood Training Ground. (Pic by Laura Malkin/Propaganda)

Most interesting, however, was the sight of Liverpool U18s goalkeeper Vitezslav Jaros among the group, with the 17-year-old making a rare appearance at Melwood.

With Caoimhin Kelleher starting for the U23s in their own 1-1 draw with Brighton on Monday night, Jaros was called up to flesh out Klopp’s ranks between the sticks.

This marks a big milestone for the young Czech, who joined Liverpool from Slavia Prague in a £300,000 deal in 2017, after impressing on trial.

Jaros swiftly established himself as bona fide first choice for the U18s, with Dan Atherton and Ben Williams serving as backup, while Oscar Kelly operates as deputy to him at U19 level.

So far this season, he has made 19 appearances across the two youth groups, including an ever-present run in the UEFA Youth League, and also starred for a young side en route to Mercedes-Benz Junior Cup success earlier this month.

LFC Under-18s Mercedes Benz junior cup winners 2019 (Markus Gilliar/DPA/PA Images)

In Germany, he was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament, with U18s manager Barry Lewtas describing it as “a nice reward for the progress he is making under [goalkeeping coach] Neil Edwards.”

He signed his first professional contract with Liverpool shortly after his 17th birthday last July, and along with Kelleher and Kamil Grabara represents a bright future in goal for the club’s academy.

While his shot-stopping ability, command of the penalty area and bright distribution are particularly impressive, Jaros has also caught the eye for his intelligence and willingness to learn off the field.

The teenager showcased this in explaining why he was learning Spanish alongside English following his move to Merseyside, in an interview with CTK in October.

“Spanish boys come to England for trials, and most of the local boys do not speak Spanish,” he said.

“And because I know how difficult it is to go abroad and not speak the local language while everyone is looking at you, I want to know how to help them.”

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson acknowledges the fans after the Premier League match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday September 1, 2018. See PA story SOCCER Leicester. Photo credit should read: Mike Egerton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

He added, then, that when given the chance to train with the first team he would look to Alisson, and “definitely watch him and try to learn something.”

The hope will be that, like their young apprentice, both Alisson and Mignolet will impart some wisdom during Jaros’ time with the first team.

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