The next stage of Liverpool’s pre-season takes them to Germany and Austria for two games and valuable training, and a new face has been added to the fold for the trip.
Unfortunately, the Reds’ week away ended with a handful of injuries, but that has kept the door ajar for several of the club’s youngsters to have the opportunity to impress.
And that chance has now come the way of goalkeeper Liam Hughes, who was part of the travelling squad to Germany on Thursday with a number of injuries in the senior goalkeeping ranks.
But just who is the young ‘keeper?
Who is Liam Hughes?
The 20-year-old joined the Reds from Celtic in January of last year, slotting into the under-23s side before spending the second half of the season on loan at Stalybridge Celtic.
Hughes joined under the guise of a training goalkeeper, a valuable asset who is deemed to have a great mentality and solid ability to help keep sessions running smoothly.
They are not realistically seen as first-team options but the role sees them receive expert-level coaching and training which can open up a number of doors for their future career.
But Hughes’ start to life at Liverpool saw him feature for the U23s before then being named on the bench for the Premier League trip to Sheffield United in February 2021, and then again in the League Cup at Preston back in October.
Two appearances in a senior Liverpool matchday squad made for an unexpected rise which he then took with him to Stalybridge Celtic, and the non-league side provided plenty of opportunities for Hughes to test himself in a senior environment.
Hughes has represented Northern Ireland at U21s level and has earned a call-up to the senior side, but is still awaiting his first cap.
What has been said of him?
Hughes’ profile made him a clear target for Liverpool at the start of 2021 and with another loan move likely for the season ahead, he will be soaking up all he can from this pre-season trip.
He has previously trained with the first team and is close to the likes of fellow academy members Conor Bradley, Owen Beck, Rhys Williams and Leighton Clarkson – three of whom have now secured loan moves.
And U23s goalkeeping coach Mark Morris previously said of Hughes at the start of his Liverpool journey:
“He fits the profile of what we’re looking for in terms of a training ‘keeper – and somebody who if we needed to play, could play.
“The personality we wanted to come in and train is a tricky one; they have to know the reason they’re coming in and not be knocking on our door after two or three months saying, ‘I’m not playing.’
“You’re going to improve because of the calibre of the players you’re training with. And the proof of the pudding is the lads that have come into that sort of position previously.
“There’s four or five kids that have come into that slot, progressed and have gone on and now got professional careers.”