For 19-year-old left-back Owen Beck, stepping out in front of 40,000 fans at Anfield on Sunday was a big achievement – and great-uncle Ian Rush was on hand to savour it.
It came in frustrating circumstances for Liverpool, but Beck played the second half of the 1-1 draw with Athletic Club at Anfield, which saw its biggest crowd since March 2020.
With Andy Robertson forced off with an ankle injury, the Wales under-21 international was able to build on a promising pre-season with a 45-minute showing against LaLiga opposition.
Beck, whose rise through the academy ranks has been steady rather than spectacular, has taken everything in his stride this summer – which may have something to do with his legendary relative.
The youngster is great-nephew to Rush, the club’s all-time top goalscorer and one of the most revered ex-players on Merseyside, and no doubt the former Liverpool striker is eager to give advice whenever possible.
That extended to his reaction to Beck’s fourth appearance of pre-season, after which the left-back took to Twitter to revel in a “proud moment”:
In response, Rush echoed his well-wishes towards the stricken Robertson, but went on to congratulate his young relative for an “incredible achievement”:
— Ian Rush MBE (@Ian_Rush9) August 8, 2021
While Beck is likely to spend the majority of this season playing with the under-23s at Kirkby, with Neco Williams able to deputise at left-back along with Kostas Tsimikas, this pre-season was a big step forward.
Jurgen Klopp has clearly been impressed with his attitude and application, and it would be no surprise if he stayed to train with the first team on a full-time basis.
“Owen’s a super talent,” the manager told LFCTV.
“I told him that this morning – without knowing that he has to play 45 minutes in such a difficult game, against such a strong opponent – that he had an incredible pre-season so far.
“I’m really excited about him.”
“He’s still growing, he’s still maturing as a lad, he’s got a lot to learn. But the signs are there that he’s going to be a top player.
“He’s obviously got Robbo and Kostas ahead of him, hopefully he’ll be in and around them and be able to pick up things from them. Today he got the opportunity and took it.”
There could be more opportunities in the matchday squad throughout 2021/22, and potentially outings in the cups depending on Robertson’s layoff, which would give Beck more chance to catch the eye.
As Alexander-Arnold notes, the ability to soak everything in alongside Robertson and Tsimikas – along with the lessons from Rush himself – can only help Beck in his progress.