10 Liverpool youngsters who would benefit from a loan move

Liverpool are likely to sanction a host of loan moves for their young academy talents again this summer, with at least 10 requiring first-team experience.


The Reds loaned out 20 players in the 2018/19 campaign, 15 of those coming from the club’s academy ranks—removed from the likes of Loris Karius, Marko Grujic and Danny Ings.

Kamil Grabara and Herbie Kane enjoyed particular success in their first forays into senior football, while Liam Millar prospered in a bit-part role and Harry Wilson, Ryan Kent and Taiwo Awoniyi all boosted their value.

While in an ideal world Liverpool would not be forced to resort to Chelsea levels of temporary deals, it is inevitable that a club of their size agrees to a series of loans—starting with Sheyi Ojo‘s move to Rangers.

Whether in search of game time ahead of a promotion to the first team or in order to attract interest for a permanent exit, a sizeable group will leave Merseyside again this summer.

Here are 10 youngsters who would benefit from a loan switch for 2019/20.

 

Caoimhin Kelleher

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 19, 2018: Liverpool's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher during a preseason friendly match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Ewood Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 20
Position: Goalkeeper
Previous loans: N/A


With Grabara joining AGF Aarhus for the second half of the campaign, Kelleher established himself as Jurgen Klopp‘s third-choice goalkeeper.

This didn’t extend to an appearance on the pitch, but the Irishman was named in the matchday squad twice and travelled as part of the first team—picking up a Champions League winner’s medal in Madrid.

Though Simon Mignolet is set to leave, vacating the No. 2 spot behind Alisson, it is highly unlikely Kelleher will move up the pecking order without any experience.

Liverpool appear to be targeting a functional backup with no prospect of usurping the Brazilian, so if he can prove himself elsewhere Kelleher could then take over in the future.

 

Kamil Grabara

BURY, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 14, 2018: Liverpool's goalkeeper Kamil Grabara during a preseason friendly match between Bury FC and Liverpool FC at Gigg Lane. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Age: 20
Position: Goalkeeper
Previous loans: AGF Aarhus (Jan to July 2019)


Grabara finds himself in the same position as Kelleher, albeit with slightly more experience having served as Aarhus’ No. 1 in the Danish Superliga since January.

The Pole endeared himself to the AGF supporters to the extent that there is clamour to bring him back to Ceres Park for another season, but before he can challenge for a place in Klopp’s squad he should test himself further up.

Clubs in Germany and Belgium are credited with an interest in Grabara, and a first-choice role in either in the Belgian First Division A or the lower end of the Bundesliga would be ideal.

 

Nat Phillips

CHARLOTTE, USA - Sunday, July 22, 2018: Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips after a preseason International Champions Cup match between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool FC at the Bank of America Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 22
Position: Centre-back
Previous loans: N/A


After an impressive pre-season which prompted calls for a backup role in the senior squad, Phillips endured a miserable, injury-plagued 2018/19.

Now, it is very difficult to see a way into Klopp’s plans for the upcoming campaign, and at 22, the centre-back is in dire need of his first taste of senior competitive football.

Given Corey Whelan, Conor Masterson, Juanma and possibly George Johnston are all leaving Liverpool this summer, though, the likelihood is Phillips is kept around as a dependable option for the under-23s.

 

Adam Lewis

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Friday, August 24, 2018: Liverpool's Adam Lewis during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 19
Position: Left-back
Previous loans: N/A


After initial reports that Lewis was being nurtured for a promotion to the role of Andy Robertson‘s backup, the left-back now seems set to head out on loan.

Klopp is instead likely to sign a replacement for Alberto Moreno, taking a similar approach to the changing of the guard between the sticks.

Lewis turns 20 in November, and with clubs in the Football League enquiring as to his availability, a season in League One may aid his development more so than a campaign in and out of the first-team squad at Anfield.

 

Tony Gallacher

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 29, 2018: Liverpool's substitute Tony Gallacher during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at The Recreation Ground. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 19
Position: Left-back
Previous loans: N/A


There was considerable expectation surrounding Gallacher’s £200,000 move from Falkirk to the Liverpool academy in 2018, with the versatile defender welcomed to Kirkby by Kenny Dalglish.

But in his first full season with the Reds, the Scot made fewer outings for the U23s (11) than he did for the first team at his former club (26).

With Lewis blocking his path to the starting XI, and Yasser Larouci now primed to step up if the scouser moves on, Gallacher would be best served heading out on loan—perhaps with a view to a permanent move.

 

Liam Coyle

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 29, 2018: Liverpool's substitute Liam Coyle during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at The Recreation Ground. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 19
Position: Central midfielder
Previous loans: N/A


Like Phillips and Gallacher alike, it is easy to envisage Coyle remaining at Kirkby this season to provide Critchley with an assured presence at U23 level, particularly given the dearth of options in the middle of the park.

But, again, the 19-year-old would benefit hugely from a spell away from his native Merseyside, as the route to the first team grows ever foggier.

A League Two club may be the most sensible destination for the combative midfielder at this stage.

 

Herbie Kane

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 18, 2017: Liverpool's Herbie Kane during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool and Everton at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 20
Position: Central midfielder
Previous loans: Doncaster Rovers (2018/2019)


Kane was one of the biggest success stories of Liverpool’s loan system in 2018/19, thriving with his first taste of first-team football.

The Bristolian scored nine goals and laid on 10 assists in 49 games for Doncaster last season, and was named in the League One Team of the Year, in a clear sign he is ready for step up.

Though he signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool in January, Kane may still need to cut his teeth in the Championship before any opportunity comes his way, and Hull, Brentford and Millwall are all interested.

 

Ben Woodburn

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 6, 2019: Liverpool's Ben Woodburn during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool and Chelsea at the Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 19
Position: Attacking midfielder
Previous loans: Sheffield United (July 2018 to Jan 2019)


What a strange season it was for Woodburn.

After joining Sheffield United with high hopes, the Wales international failed to secure a regular place under Chris Wilder, before ending his time at Bramall Lane and concluding the season by winning the Champions League.

But his place among the celebrations in Madrid should not mask the lack of development since his debut in 2016—and while time is still on his side, Woodburn needs a successful loan in 2019/20.

 

Curtis Jones

Curtis Jones of Liverpool during the pre season match at Prenton Park, Birkenhead. Picture date 10th July 2018. Picture credit should read: Matt McNulty/Sportimage via PA Images

Age: 18
Position: Attacking midfielder
Previous loans: N/A


Jones made waves with a stint in the first team during pre-season, with Klopp even trusting the flexible attacking midfielder at full-back, but few chances came his way in the campaign proper.

The teenager did make his senior debut in the FA Cup defeat to Wolves, was on the bench once in the Premier League and League Cup, and trained consistently with the senior squad, but competition is rife.

Like Lewis, Jones is on the radar of sides in the Football League, and though he won’t turn 19 until January, a loan switch could be defining for him.

 

Liam Millar

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Friday, August 24, 2018: Liverpool's Liam Millar looks dejected as his goal is disallowed during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 19
Position: Striker
Previous loans: Kilmarnock (Jan to June 2019)


Millar signed a new contract with the Reds in January before joining Steve Clarke’s impressive Kilmarnock side for the remainder of the season.

While the Canada international only started two of his 14 appearances north of the border, scoring once and assisting once from the bench in the Scottish Premiership, it was a formative experience for Millar.

Now he requires a full season with a side able to provide him with a starting role, in order to realise the potential that has seen him outlast former strike partner Glen McAuley at Liverpool.

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