LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2019: Liverpool's Jack Cain (C) celebrates scoring the fourth goal with team-mates during the Under-18 FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC at Finch Farm. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s next young centre-back leader among raft of new contracts

Liverpool under-18s centre-back Remi Savage has signed his first professional contract with the Reds, as the club takes care of housekeeping in the academy off-season.

The campaign is already over at youth level, with the decision made to curtail 2019/20 in light of the coronavirus pandemic and the suspension of football.

That has left many games unplayed, and final league standings yet to be determined, with Liverpool likely to finish the U18 Premier League in second, behind Man City.

Manager Barry Lewtas has stepped up to take over as under-23s coach, and is expected to bring many of his regulars from this season with him as the club’s best youngsters make a natural progression through the age groups.

Savage could be among those, having stood out as the leader of the young Reds’ back line in the absence of regular centre-back partner Billy Koumetio through injury.

And having impressed throughout the season, the curly-haired local lad has now agreed his first professional contract, as the latest in a long line of teenagers to do so this summer.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 22, 2020: Liverpool's Remi Savage during the Under-18 FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

An imposing left-sided centre-back with a strong passing range, Savage made 24 outings throughout 2019/20, including three appearances for the U23s, one for the under-21s in the EFL Cup and one for the under-19s in Europe.

His ability to lead has been honed throughout the season, and he is likely to be given more opportunities to impress in the new season.

Savage’s contract follows on from first professional deals for Fidel O’Rourke, James Norris and Conor Bradley in the past weeks, along with an extension for Abdi Sharif.

More could come in the near future, too, as Liverpool move to secure their brightest prospects after another productive season under Lewtas.

ST HELENS, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 2, 2019: Former Liverpool players Steve McManaman (L) and Rob Jones during the UEFA Youth League Group E match between Liverpool FC Under-19's and FC Salzburg Under-19's at Langtree Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It remains to be seen when the new academy season will get underway, but speaking to This Is Anfield, ex-Reds right-back Rob Jones—who now works at Kirkby as a part-time coach—expressed his hope for a late-September start date.

“They’re young lads who want to play football and they can’t,” he explained.

“I think they’re going to be stuck for a while. I could see the academy season starting at the end of September.

“All the lads seem fine, but they’re bored with the whole situation and are itching to get back.”

For those youngsters struggling without football, these signs of commitment from the club will be a big boost, and should steel them for another step forward in 2020/21.