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Liverpool lose legendary talent-spotter who discovered Trent Alexander-Arnold

Liverpool’s head of pre-academy recruitment Ian Barrigan is set to leave the club after 25 years, having built a legacy as the man who discovered Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Barrigan initially joined the club as a local scout in 1997, before stepping up the role of head of local recruitment in 2010.

He is credited with spotting the likes of Conor Coady, Jon Flanagan, Jordan Rossiter and, more recently, Neco Williams, James Balagizi and Tyler Morton.

The jewel in his crown, though, is Alexander-Arnold, who joined at pre-academy level having caught Barrigan’s eye playing for Country Park, a junior side based in Croxteth.

Having watched the right-back grow from “just a baby,” as he recalled in an interview with the club’s official website in 2020, to the best in the world in his position brings the 56-year-old immense pride.

But he will now be taken that with him into a new venture, with The Athletic‘s James Pearce reporting that Barrigan will leave the club at the end of January.

Taking his place will be Steve Gorst, who has served as Barrigan’s assistant since 2016, having been with the club on a part-time basis for 12 years previous.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 15, 2021: A general view 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)

Gorst was a former Liverpool youth player himself, with Pearce reporting that the club expects a “smooth transition” after an “amicable” parting of ways with Barrigan.

It will be a big task filling Barrigan’s shoes, with the youth figurehead a revered character at Kirkby who has had a big impact on the Reds’ success over the years.

Beyond nurturing players for the first team, like Alexander-Arnold, his work has helped Liverpool generate big-money transfer fees with the sales of players like Brad Smith, who joined Bournemouth for £6 million in 2016.

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