SINGAPORE - Friday, July 15, 2022: Liverpool's Isaac Mabaya during the Standard Chartered Singapore Trophy pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at the Singapore National Stadium. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Honestly, I loved it” – 17-year-old wants more after Liverpool first-team chance

Teenage right-back Isaac Mabaya has been one of the standout academy talents for Liverpool throughout pre-season, and the youngster is now eager for more.

Mabaya was a surprise call-up to the first-team squad during the first week of pre-season, and has benefited from injury to Calvin Ramsay to enjoy a consistent role.

The 17-year-old made his second start of the summer in Wednesday night’s 1-0 defeat to Salzburg, playing an hour at the Red Bull Arena after previous outings against Man United and Crystal Palace.

There has been an enthusiasm over his contributions in training from both Jurgen Klopp and Pepijn Lijnders, though Mabaya will be well aware he is behind both Ramsay and Trent Alexander-Arnold in the pecking order.

But the experience throughout pre-season so far has been an inspiring one for the versatile youth, as he told LFCTV in Austria.

“Honestly, I loved it,” he said of his second senior start.

“I always love stepping out on the pitch for Liverpool, so I just want to keep getting my opportunities to do that, hopefully in the future.”

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - Wednesday, July 27, 2022: Liverpool players line-up for a team group photograph before a pre-season friendly between FC Red Bull Salzburg and Liverpool FC at the Red Bull Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On Wednesday, Mabaya lined up alongside Ibrahima Konate, Joe Gomez, James Milner and, later, Andy Robertson in defence, while in training he comes up against the likes of Luis Diaz and Fabio Carvalho.

It is a vital learning experience for a player of his age, and he will be looking to take that into the new campaign – which will likely begin with the under-21s.

“It’s been brilliant, honestly, playing and training with some of the best players in the world,” he continued.

“There’s a lot to learn from all the players there.”

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - Wednesday, July 27, 2022: Liverpool's Isaac Mabaya (L) and RB Salzburg's Strahinja Pavlovi? during a pre-season friendly between FC Red Bull Salzburg and Liverpool FC at the Red Bull Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

First up, though, is the double-header of the Community Shield against Man City and the final friendly of pre-season at home to Strasbourg.

With Ramsay still out, there is a chance Mabaya makes the bench on Saturday, and there is a strong likelihood that he will then start at Anfield on Sunday.

“All the players are up for it,” he said of the meeting with City.

“There’s only one thing we want to do at the weekend, which is bring it home.”