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10 Liverpool academy players to watch in 2021/22

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It is a promising time for Liverpool’s academy, with a host of players given first-team exposure and others making big steps in the youth ranks. But who is worth watching?

Under the guidance of academy director Alex Inglethorpe and the attention of Jurgen Klopp, Pepijn Lijnders and Vitor Matos, youth is thriving on Merseyside.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has set the benchmark for those looking to break through, but the likes of Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, Caoimhin Kelleher and Neco Williams are all role models for the next generation.

There are a number from the under-23s and under-18s squads who stand a strong chance of stepping up to the senior stage, with three having already made their debuts this season.

Here are 10 Liverpool academy players to watch out for in 2021/22.

 

Tyler Morton

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 15, 2021: Liverpool's captain Tyler Morton during the UEFA Youth League Group B Matchday 1 game between Liverpool FC Under19's and AC Milan Under 19's at the Liverpool Academy. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 18
Position: Midfielder


One of three youngsters to debut for the first team in the 3-0 victory over Norwich in the League Cup, Morton is the least experienced when it comes to the senior stage.

But the versatile, combative midfielder seems primed for a bright future under Klopp, and at 18 is already a first-choice starter for the U23s and captain for the under-19s in the UEFA Youth League.

There is a fearlessness to his play that allowed him to slot in so effectively at Carrow Road, while his quality on the ball is a real outlet for the young Reds – as shown with his assist for Melkamu Frauendorf against Porto.

 

Luke Chambers

ROCHDALE, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 31, 2021: Liverpool's Luke Chambers during the English Football League Trophy match between Rochdale AFC and Liverpool FC Under-21's at Spotland Stadium. Rochdale won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 17
Position: Left-back, centre-back


Chambers only made 12 appearances for the U18s last season, as backup to James Norris, but a first professional contract over the summer has paved the way for a prominent role this time out.

The teenager looks to have grown dramatically in stature and strength, and has proved his versatility already this term with a stint at centre-back in the UEFA Youth League.

Naturally, though, he is a left-back, who has shown intelligence and creativity to his aggressive play down the wing, including a powerful effort that set up Harvey Blair’s goal for the U18s against Sunderland.

 

Melkamu Frauendorf

PORTO, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, September 28, 2021: Liverpool's substitute Melkamu Frauendorf celebrates after scoring the equalising goal during the UEFA Youth League Group B Matchday 2 game between FC Porto Under-19's and Liverpool FC Under-19's at the Vila Nova de Gaia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 17
Position: Midfielder


After an immediate impact in his first season with Liverpool – following up a move from Hoffenheim with seven goals and four assists in 23 games for the U18s – Frauendorf has kept it up this campaign, with three goals and three assists in seven outings so far.

A flexible midfielder who still has work to do in his concentration and physicality, Frauendorf has clearly earned patience among coaches due to his finesse and work rate.

With a balance of finishing and creative prowess, matched with an ability to play a number of roles, the young German could step up to the U23s before the end of the season.

 

Oakley Cannonier

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 15, 2021: Liverpool's substitute Oakley Cannonier during the UEFA Youth League Group B Matchday 1 game between Liverpool FC Under19's and AC Milan Under 19's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 17
Position: Striker


With Layton Stewart out with a long-term injury and Max Woltman now a full-time member of the U23s squad, Cannonier has stepped up in style as the U18s’ first-choice striker.

The artist formerly known as Alexander-Arnold’s ball-boy is carving out a reputation as a deadly finisher at Kirkby, with 11 goals in six games in the U18 Premier League so far.

Wearing the No. 9, the diminutive striker leads the line like many of his famous predecessors, pairing a predatory instinct with the high-pressing attitude required in Liverpool’s system.

 

Kaide Gordon

NORWICH, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 21, 2021: Liverpool's Kaide Gordon during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Norwich City FC and Liverpool FC at Carrow Road. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 17
Position: Right winger


Gordon is widely considered the jewel in Liverpool’s academy, having caught the eye of Klopp’s assistant Lijnders during the first week of academy pre-season before stepping up to the first-team stage.

The 17-year-old’s debut against Norwich was natural progression, while his status as the club’s fifth-youngest player ever is testament to his ability, potential and esteem.

While the club are cautious not to overexpose the £3 million signing from Derby, he has already impressed in outings with the U23s and U19s this season, and that is only likely to continue.

 

James Balagizi

PORTO, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, September 28, 2021: Liverpool's James Balagizi during the UEFA Youth League Group B Matchday 2 game between FC Porto Under-19's and Liverpool FC Under-19's at the Vila Nova de Gaia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 18
Position: Attacking midfielder


A late addition to the bench at Norwich due to James Milner‘s illness, Balagizi was a surprise inclusion given he had yet to make his debut for the U23s, let alone the first team.

If it hadn’t been for an unfortunate arm injury, however, the silky, never-say-die midfielder may have already joined the likes of Gordon and Morton on Klopp’s radar in pre-season.

For now, Balagizi is focused on making the step up from U18s to U23s on a permanent basis, with his relentless, fluid style of midfield play making him a rare asset for Liverpool.

 

Stefan Bajcetic

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 15, 2021: Liverpool's substitute Stefan Bajcetic Maquieira warms-up during the UEFA Youth League Group B Matchday 1 game between Liverpool FC Under19's and AC Milan Under 19's at the Liverpool Academy. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 16
Position: Centre-back


It may not be a prime generation for Spain at senior level, but there is a goldmine of talent coming through in their youth ranks, with Pedri, Gavi and Ansu Fati the new poster boys.

When their under-18s won the Lafarge Foot Avenir tournament in France last month, then, it was telling that manager Pablo Amo included Liverpool centre-back Bajcetic as one of only five overseas players in his squad.

Not yet 17, Bajcetic is already a first-choice starter for Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s U18s, with his long forays up the middle of the pitch becoming a trademark just like Joel Matip.

 

Owen Beck

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 19, 2021: Liverpool's Owen Beck during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-23's and Leeds United AFC Under-23's at the Liverpool Academy. Leeds United won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 19
Position: Left-back


Even the coaches working on a daily basis with Beck must be surprised with how much, and how quickly, he has come on since his first taste of U18s football in 2019.

When he arrived from Stoke, the young Welshman will have been one of the smallest players in the academy, but he has grown both physically and mentally to find himself on the cusp of the first team.

He and Conor Bradley are a well-tuned pair on either side of the defence, and their blend of defensive strength and attacking thrust will make them attractive options for the senior staff.

 

Harvey Davies

ROCHDALE, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 31, 2021: Liverpool's goalkeeper Harvey Davies during the pre-match warm-up before the English Football League Trophy match between Rochdale AFC and Liverpool FC Under-21's at Spotland Stadium. Rochdale won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 18
Position: Goalkeeper


Davies is something of a surprise success story for the academy, having risen from training goalkeeper status to impress Klopp and his coaches in a rare opportunity last season.

With Liverpool unable to include either Marcelo Pitaluga or Jakub Ojrzynski in their Champions League squad, the young Scouser ended up making the bench against RB Leipzig and in both meetings with Real Madrid.

Now, he is starting for the U18s, U19s and against senior opposition in the EFL Trophy, with Davies vying with Pitaluga as the next young goalkeeper to make the grade.

 

Bobby Clark

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 15, 2021: Liverpool's substitute Bobby Clark warms-up during the UEFA Youth League Group B Matchday 1 game between Liverpool FC Under19's and AC Milan Under 19's at the Liverpool Academy. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Age: 16
Position: Attacking midfielder


The last spot in this list could have gone to any number of youngsters, including Luca Stephenson, Terence Miles, Mateusz Musialowski, Isaac Mabaya and Billy Koumetio.

But Clark is worthy of a mention as the player most likely to be fast-tracked through the ranks, following his summer move from Newcastle that could be worth up to £1.5 million.

A sharp, well-rounded attacking midfielder, the 16-year-old scored on his debut and recently laid on his first assist, too, with the challenge now to find consistency and keep progressing after a strong start.

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