Liverpool midfielder Jake Cain has departed for his first taste of senior football, with the 19-year-old joining League Two side Newport County on a season-long loan.
Cain has been on the fringes of the first team over the past two seasons but has been unable to make an outing at senior level under Jurgen Klopp so far.
His performances in training and pre-season have caught Klopp’s eye, though, and the German once described Cain as a “very modern No. 8,” which he proved by scoring seven goals and laying on five assists in 20 games for the under-23s last term.
While close friend and long-time team-mate Leighton Clarkson has joined Blackburn in the Championship, Cain’s development will take its next step two rungs below in League Two.
The youngster, who turns 20 on Thursday, has agreed a season-long deal with Newport, who currently sit 15th in the fourth tier ahead of their clash with Leyton Orient on Saturday.
It is reported that Liverpool can recall Cain in the January transfer window if they desire, which is a clause they have exercised with a number of their loanees in recent years.
But unless he is brought back to take up a first-team role at Anfield or perhaps move on loan to a club higher up the Football League pyramid, the hope will be that he stays and shines at Newport.
Newport are managed by Michael Flynn, who earned his coaching badges alongside Liverpool assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders, with their relationship seeing him meet Klopp at Melwood in 2019.
Flynn will liaise with Lijnders throughout Cain’s loan spell – along with director of loan management David Woodfine and elite development coach Vitor Matos – as he hopefully presides over a first-choice starting role.