Liverpool midfielder on the ‘extra 10%’ that motivated Blackburn loan choice

Leighton Clarkson has joined Blackburn on a season-long loan for his first taste of regular first-team football, with the 19-year-old able to play for his boyhood club.

Clarkson was one of only 15 players to feature in five of Liverpool’s pre-season friendlies, with the teenager fast becoming a favourite of Jurgen Klopp‘s.

A diminutive midfielder, his range of passing and intelligent, combative approach has allowed him to slot in when required for the Reds, including in his Champions League debut against Midtjylland in December.

Having already surpassed the standard at under-23s level, a loan move was required for Clarkson this summer as he bids to break through into Klopp’s squad on a full-time basis.

For a player born in nearby Clitheroe, who was on the books at Blackburn as a youngster, the move to Ewood Park was a no-brainer, as he told RoversTV.

“At some point in my career I would have always loved to have played for Blackburn,” he said.

“To be fair, I didn’t know it would come quite so soon, but I can’t complain about it at all.

“I’ve got a chance, a season, to prove myself, and to be able to do that in front of the Rovers fans, at this club, is the best outcome I could have had.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 9, 2021: Liverpool's Leighton Clarkson during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético Osasuna at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Having grown up as a Blackburn supporter, Clarkson admits there is an “extra thing” to motivate him as he looks to develop at the Lancashire club, with his family still regulars at games.

“Right through my family, everyone’s a Blackburn fan. My mum, my aunties used to go the games, when they won the league they were all there,” he continued.

“It just bounced down really, obviously I used to go, and it got to a point where I couldn’t go anymore because of football, but even last season I was still watching the games, I was still supporting them from home.”

He added: “Three points is three points in football, there’s nothing bigger than that, but to do it for Blackburn is almost like it’s an extra thing within, like a 10 percent, where you’re like ‘yes, get in!’.

“I just want loads of games, loads of wins and loads of happy moments.”

Blackburn are next in action on Wednesday night with a trip to Nottingham Forest in the Championship, with Clarkson expected to be named in Tony Mowbray’s squad.