Jamie Carragher has named the next three Liverpool prospects those within the club have “high hopes for,” including the Reds’ fourth-youngest debutant.
The Reds have a blossoming group of talents within their academy setup, and with Jurgen Klopp eager to promote youth whenever possible, their chances of a breakthrough are increased.
Given the club are reluctant to spend amid the coronavirus pandemic, too, there could be even more opportunities for those impressing in the under-18s and under-23s in the months to come.
The likes of Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Neco Williams are the most likely to benefit, but there could be more game time for Ki-Jana Hoever, Sepp van den Berg, Yasser Larouci, Leighton Clarkson and Jake Cain, too.
Caoimhin Kelleher and Paul Glatzel are also on the fringes, with a clearer pathway made for these promising youngsters as Liverpool establish themselves as champions-elect.
If that continues, Carragher believes James Norris, Tom Hill and Layton Stewart could be the next to make the step up, having highlighted Williams and Elliott as their example to follow.
“There’s other lads coming through, like James Norris, who I know Liverpool rate highly,” he said, according to the Evening Standard.
“Tom Hill is also in that category and a striker called Layton Stewart, who I have watched a lot because he’s in the same age group as my son.
“There is a group of players Liverpool have high hopes for and while it’s difficult to break into one of the best teams in the world, I think there are some talents in there who will make a name for themselves.”
Whether any of Norris, Hill or Stewart settle as long-term options for the first team remains to be seen, and with all three yet to celebrate their 18th birthdays there should be no pressure on them to do so yet.
But the chances afforded to Jones, Williams, Elliott and Co. should be encouraging, and perhaps most straightforwardly for Norris.
Norris and Hill were among those to make their debut for the senior side in the League Cup defeat to Aston Villa in December, and coming off the bench to replace Hoever in the second half, the Scouser became the fourth-youngest player in the club’s history.
A natural left-back with great delivery from out wide, Norris has already played six times for the U23s along with 25 more outings in the age groups below this season, with his ability to also play in midfield boosting his game time.
Elsewhere, Hill is a versatile winger who can also play in midfield and full-back, while Stewart is the ‘next big thing’ up front, having scored 16 in 23 games before injury ended his season.
Stewart has already noted the need to develop his off-ball game to follow in the footsteps of Roberto Firmino, telling the club’s official website he must “help the team defensively as well and not just in attacking ways.”
There are a number of cautionary tales for this young trio when it comes to the club’s “high hopes,” and there is a measure of luck required when it comes to their breakthrough.
But as academy director Alex Inglethorpe told The Athletic‘s James Pearce this weekend, “they couldn’t be in better hands than with Jurgen.”