Liverpool ran out 6-0 winners against Tranmere on Thursday night to start pre-season in a great way, with a host of young talents impressing Jurgen Klopp.
The usual staggered return to training for the senior players after summer means that Academy hopefuls get their opportunity to shine early on.
That was certainly the case at Prenton Park, as Klopp named 23 players in his squad in total—and all featured, including third-choice goalkeeper on the night Dan Atherton, who played up front for the latter stages after an injury to Paul Glatzel.
His departure was the only negative point on the night, with the first run-out of pre-season proving beneficial for confidence, optimism and fitness alike—and the future of the club looks safe, too, if the youngsters on show are anything to go by.
Indeed, Klopp named almost an entire team’s worth of players who are yet to hit 20 years of age: 10 teenagers in total, with two-goal Rhian Brewster the pick of them.
He wasn’t the only one on show, though, and plenty of the rest will hope for further opportunities to impress the boss this summer ahead of another season of progress.
- Vitezslav Jaros, goalkeeper, 17
- Ki-Jana Hoever, defender, 17
- Curtis Jones, midfielder, 18
- Yasser Larouci, defender, 18
- Rhian Brewster, forward, 18
- Bobby Duncan, forward, 18
- Paul Glatzel, forward, 18
- Adam Lewis, defender, 19
- Ben Woodburn, midfielder, 19
- Dan Atherton, goalkeeper, 19
In addition to the talented teens, a further four players were on show who have a key summer ahead with regard to their immediate and longer-term future: George Johnston (20), Ryan Kent, Nat Phillips and Harry Wilson (all 22).
Naturally, the younger crop were delighted to be involved, several of them for the first time at senior level with Liverpool.
Brewster’s emotion was clear to see when he scored his first goal, which doubtless also released plenty of frustration at spending a year on the sidelines through injury.
In the second half, Duncan took his place in the attack, following in the footsteps of his cousin and former Reds captain Steven Gerrard by playing for the first team.
Duncan also took the time to mention Glatzel, who will hopefully not spend too long sidelined after seemingly jarring his knee closing down the goalkeeper.
Impressive once again, this time from right-back, was Hoever; the Dutch defender has already debuted in competitive action and fans will hope to see more of him this term.
And while Brewster was a high-profile injury absentee, Nat Phillips had his own injury frustrations last year—after impressing hugely in pre-season one year ago. This step forward will hopefully see him begin to establish himself as a senior option, though he may well head out on loan.
Of course, a few of the senior players were involved too and took to social media to voice their pleasure at being back out on the pitch after the off-season.
It won’t be the most memorable or difficult fixture they’ll play in all season, but it’s good to see that James Milner‘s hashtag game hasn’t gotten rusty over the summer all the same!
— James Milner (@JamesMilner) July 11, 2019
— Simon Mignolet (@SMignolet) July 12, 2019
We're back! So good to be here again. ??? pic.twitter.com/u9ul7m4zod
— Fabinho (@_fabinhotavares) July 11, 2019