Liverpool youngster Paul Glatzel has returned to first-team training at Melwood, 10 months after rupturing his ACL in the 6-0 win over Tranmere in pre-season.
Glatzel followed up an excellent campaign as captain of the under-18s in 2018/19—in which he scored 29 goals and assisted 10 more in 34 games and lifted the FA Youth Cup—with a stint with the senior squad.
But 27 minutes into his debut at Prenton Park he was helped off the field wincing in pain, with it later revealed that he had suffered a ruptured ACL.
Having undergone his rehabilitation throughout the season so far, Glatzel has benefited from football’s pause as he reported back to Melwood last week to join Klopp’s squad for non-contact training.
Glatzel was clearly delighted to be able to return to training after a long 10 months on the sidelines, having described his injury as a “tough one to take” after such a productive spell.
Taking inspiration from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the 19-year-old outlined the importance of allowing his knee to “heal properly” so “the risk of me getting injured again is much, much lower and I can just focus on my football again.”
His inclusion at Melwood has seen the manager deliver on a promise made soon after Glatzel was dealt the blow, having praised the teenager as an “unbelievable” player.
“When he is back he will be one of my boys because I really like what I saw,” Klopp said in July.
Whether he will feature in Klopp’s plans for the final nine games of the Premier League is unlikely, though sealing the title early could increase the chances for him and the likes of Harvey Elliott and Neco Williams.
Larouci has also been included in the senior squad at Melwood, and will be hoping for further exposure in the coming weeks, while Caoimhin Kelleher is back from injury too.
With academy football not set to return until the start of next season, Glatzel could be left to wait for his comeback, possibly spending time with the under-23s.
Making up for lost time will be key, and he could bolster a youth squad that struggled for goals until the signing of Joe Hardy in January, while also gaining experience training with the first team.
Either way, this should be considered a big step forward for the local lad, who seems to have a bright future at Liverpool.