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Jurgen Klopp planning position change for Liverpool’s new young right-back

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Liverpool youngster Conor Bradley made his first-team debut as a right-back, but Jurgen Klopp is considering a change of position for the 18-year-old in the future.

Bradley was one of three players to make his senior bow for the Reds in the 3-0 win over Norwich in the League Cup third round, along with Kaide Gordon and Tyler Morton.

Klopp was full of praise for the trio after the game, but all three have returned to duty with the under-23s, along with sporadic appearances with the first team in training.

Liverpool will take a cautious approach to their development, with Bradley overlooked in recent games despite injury to Trent Alexander-Arnold seeing James Milner fill in at right-back.

The youngster is currently behind Alexander-Arnold, Milner and Neco Williams in the pecking order, and it may be that when he does eventually break through as a regular option, it is further forward.

Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough has revealed conversations with Klopp in which they agreed Bradley’s future could be in midfield, rather than right-back.

“Jurgen thinks – and I agree, who am I not to agree with him actually? – that Conor could play in a midfield role as he gets older,” he told BelfastLive.

“He has the skill set to be a conventional full-back or a wing-back, but he can also play in midfield. A little bit higher up.

“He’s got a great understanding of football and different areas, so that’s a great string to his bow.”

PORTO, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, September 28, 2021: Liverpool's Conor Bradley 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)

Given the difficulty in shifting Alexander-Arnold as first-choice right-back, a role the No. 66 is expected to hold for at least another decade, it makes sense to play on Bradley’s versatility.

The youngster was originally a striker, and joined Liverpool in 2019 as a wide midfielder, with his attacking qualities allowing him to fill the role of full-back in the Reds’ system.

It will certainly aid his development to hone his craft in such a focal role, particularly if he is given more opportunities by Klopp, with Baraclough remarking on his recent progress.

“I think we are giving Conor a pathway and we’re giving him chances,” he continued.

“We’re helping bring him on and he was a different player in September.

“It seemed like he had grown a couple of inches, was stronger, more confident and he was great around the group.”

The teenager already has three caps for his country, including a competitive debut against Switzerland in September, and is part of the squad to play Switzerland and Bulgaria in World Cup qualifiers this month.

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