With Paul Glatzel now back in first-team training with Liverpool following 10 months out injured, U23s coach Barry Lewtas believes it can be a “kick-start” for the striker.
The 39-year-old oversaw a landmark campaign for Glatzel in 2018/19, in which the striker scored 29 goals and laid on a further 10 in 34 games for the academy, catching the eye of Jurgen Klopp.
Glatzel is now likely to spend next term between the first team and the U23s, with the combining of facilities at Kirkby allowing a smoother process, and provided there are no setbacks in terms of his fitness it could be a big step forward for the teenager.
A delayed end to the current season is a bonus for Glatzel in this regard, allowing him to regain sharpness for the start of 2020/21.
Lewtas certainly believes this can be the case, telling the club’s official website that Glatzel now has a “head start.”
“I’ve known Paul for quite a while now and he’s been in my kind of small group over this period of time,” he explained.
“So I’ve been speaking with him quite a lot over these 10/11 weeks.
“I spoke with him on Thursday actually and it’s great to see all his hard work in terms of he’s had a number of setbacks, but mentally he has shown unbelievable strength in how to cope with these situations and has bounced back.
“It’s really good to see those photos of him running around at Melwood, he’s got the boots back on and he’s playing football again.
“So in this real tough time I suppose for Paul to get the boots back on and play that will put him in a really good situation for the rest of this season in terms of his rehabilitation and where he is at the moment.
“It will give him that head start if you like, that kick-start for the start of next season.”
In the current situation, the additional time for the likes of Glatzel and, elsewhere in the first team, Alisson to find fitness is a rare positive.
For the 19-year-old in particular, this period with the senior squad will allow him to become more comfortable among his new team-mates, and more familiar with the demands of Klopp’s training sessions.
If he is to make his debut for the first team next season this time could be hugely beneficial, as Lewtas attests, though it should be recognised that this is still technically classed as rehabilitation.
It is a big signal of Klopp’s faith that he has stayed at Melwood throughout his recovery process, and Lewtas is right to highlight how important the timing of Glatzel’s comeback can be.