Liverpool have confirmed academy goalkeeper Vitezslav Jaros has signed a new long-term contract, after the Czech missed the majority of the season through injury.
Jaros is one of the most outstanding talents in the Reds’ youth ranks, but made just three appearances throughout 2019/20 due to an elbow injury.
That was sustained in pre-season training with the first team, the day after he played 45 minutes in the 6-0 win at Tranmere Rovers, catching Jurgen Klopp‘s eye in those early sessions.
Upon his recovery at the start of the year, Jaros remained part of the senior squad on a part-time basis, and was on the substitutes’ bench for the 1-0 victory over Shrewsbury in the FA Cup in February.
But with the academy season ending prematurely in March, and Liverpool’s goalkeeping group settled for the final months, the 18-year-old’s campaign is not expected to resume until September.
Liverpool have signalled their faith in Jaros, however, with a new long-term deal, as they confirmed on Thursday afternoon.
“More than happy to be able to sign a new long-term contract with this wonderful club,” the youngster wrote on Twitter.
Relaying the news, the Mirror‘s David Maddock described Jaros as being “seen as a genuine prospect in the academy,” and is “rated highly” by Klopp, with the potential to “step up levels next season.”
Though a season effectively spent on the sidelines is a big setback, given he only turns 19 later this month there is plenty of time on his side.
Having joined Liverpool in 2017, Jaros has gone to great lengths to settle on Merseyside, with his accent now showing elements on Scouse, as he speaks in strong English.
He also speaks Spanish, along with his native Czech, which highlights his willingness to learn and adapt as a person as well as a player.
“Being around the first team on a matchday, you just see how things are done at the highest level,” he said in April.
“John [Achterberg] gives you a lot of advice and encouragement.
“You are always learning as a goalkeeper and I will keep working hard and keep listening to the advice.”
Alisson is firmly established as No. 1 at Liverpool, which will limit opportunities for the likes of Jaros, Kelleher, Grabara and Jakub Ojrzynski, but there are few better ‘keepers for a young player to learn from.
This new contract is a reward for Jaros’ progress so far, and hopefully he can make the next step on his return in 2020/21.