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11 academy players that could feature in Liverpool’s pre-season

It is nearly time for Liverpool’s pre-season to get underway and with each summer seeing an academy member come to the fore, who will get a chance this year?

Jurgen Klopp is a firm believer in the adage that ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’ and Liverpool have reaped the rewards of that mentality in recent years.

One only needs to look at current first-team members Trent Alexander-Arnold, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott to see that come to life, while others can attest to the same.

Last year, the likes of Tyler Morton, Conor Bradley, Owen Beck and Kaide Gordon used their summer experiences as a springboard with each having gone on to make their first-team debut.

And it begs the question as to who will be the next to follow in their footsteps this summer, with the Reds not short on talent across the academy.

 

Stefan Bajcetic

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Tuesday, November 9, 2021: Liverpool's Stefan Bajcetic during the pre-match warm-up before the English Football League Trophy match between Port Vale FC and Liverpool FC Under-21's at Vale Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Stefan Bajcetic was the final overseas player under the age of 18 to join the club before Brexit restrictions were introduced and offers versatility as a centre-back and defensive midfielder.

He is primarily the former and has already been involved in first-team training previously, with assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders namechecking the 17-year-old as a player he hoped to see in pre-season.

A dominant defender with eyecatching ability on the ball, both passing and dribbling, Bajcetic is an exciting prospect and looks to be one to watch out for this summer.

 

Bobby Clark

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 15, 2022: Liverpool's Bobby Clark during the Under-18 Premier League match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Manchester City FC Under-18's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bobby Clark, 17, is another that was named by Lijnders as a player Liverpool were eager to see up close and ensure they are each to “know exactly how we want to do things.”

Formerly of Newcastle, Clark is a creative midfielder who was a regular for Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s under-18s side last season, scoring 12 goals and contributing five assists.

Has shown encouraging signs in his development to date, in his first season with the club, and, obviously, is already on the radar of Klopp and co.

 

Isaac Mabaya

TORINO, ITALY - Tuesday, March 15, 2022: Liverpool's Isaac Mabaya during the UEFA Youth League Quarter-Final between Juventus Under-19's and Liverpool FC Under-19's at the Juventus Training Centre. Juventus won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Isaac Mabaya was named in Liverpool’s matchday squad against Shrewsbury in the FA Cup last season, involved in the senior side for the first time after making his mark with the U18s.

The 17-year-old is a midfielder by nature but has been readily utilised at right-back, consistently highlighting his versatility alongside his impressive forward forays where his pace and power are shown off.

Highly rated by many, Mabaya, who scored two goals and provided seven assists last season, could make the step up to the under-21s this coming campaign and could utilise lessons from a pre-season with Klopp and co. to aid him.

 

Oakley Cannonier

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 29, 2022: Liverpool's Oakley Cannonier celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Youth Cup 5th Round match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Chelsea FC Under-18's at the Liverpool Academy. Chelsea won 4-3. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

To say Oakley Cannonier’s 2021/22 season was a productive one would be an understatement after 41 goals in all competitions.

The 18-year-old forward has earned his chance to impress but still has plenty of development to do and knows the competition is fierce in his position.

A player you can see spending time alongside the first team rather than the entire pre-season.

 

Melkamu Frauendorf

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 18, 2021: Liverpool's Melkamu Frauendorf celebrates after scoring the third goal during the Under-18 Premier League match between Burnley FC Under-18's and Liverpool FC Under-18's at The Barnfield Training Centre. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A debut in the FA Cup match against Shrewsbury made for a memorable season for Melkamu Frauendorf and it would come as no surprise to see him rub shoulders with senior figures this summer.

The teenager is a midfielder by trade but can also occupy positions in attack, but it is likely the former where he can look to impress and make his mark for Klopp.

 

Harvey Blair

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 3, 2021: Liverpool's substitute Harvey Blair during the UEFA Youth League Group B Matchday 4 game between Liverpool FC Under19's and Club Atlético de Madrid Under-19's at the Liverpool Academy. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

One of the seven academy debutants last season, another close look at Harvey Blair, who debuted in the forward line at Preston, looks a possibility.

The 18-year-old’s outing in the League Cup did come as a surprise but he has notably developed his physicality over the course of the year and will be stronger with another pre-season under his belt.

 

Anyone else?

NORWICH, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 21, 2021: Liverpool's Tyler Morton (L) and Kaide Gordon (R) applaud the travelling supporters after 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)

You can expect the likes of Morton, Gordon, and Beck – if not sent out on loan – to be present for Klopp throughout the summer having seen their status elevated last season.

They are the leading talents in the academy and you feel Morton, in particular, will be eager to hit the ground running and put his hand up to be considered for any midfield spot.

The 19-year-old made nine appearances for the first team last season and with a midfield addition not expected this summer, he can look to impress.

Mateusz Musialowski is another who could be considered but did experience a stop-start 2021/22 campaign and striker Layton Stewart has a fan in Klopp but much will rest on how he continues to progress in his comeback following his lengthy injury layoff.

The trio of Jarell Quansah, Luke Chambers and Harvey Davies, meanwhile, will have certainly been considered but for their place in the U19s Euro final with England this summer.

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