Liverpool’s warm-weather training camp in Dubai gave the opportunity for a group of youngsters to catch the eye, and four impressed against AC Milan.
Jurgen Klopp brought a 33-man squad to the United Arab Emirates for training sessions and friendlies against Lyon and Milan in the Dubai Super Cup.
Primarily, it served as a warmup to the second half of the season, which begins at Man City in the Carabao Cup on Thursday night, but it also gave a number of academy players a chance.
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“And the whole performance from Stefan, the performance from Mel as a right full-back and then Ben Doak comes on, 16 years old, and is this kind of natural force, it’s really cool to see.
“In these 10, 11 days, the kids especially, everybody made a real step forward.
“That’s why these things are so important, that we can involve them.
“And in general, tonight was the result of the last 10 days what we saw in training and tonight we could bring it on the pitch, which is obviously nice.”
The reality for some of those youngsters breaking through is that their long-term future may not lie at Liverpool, but as Klopp explained, it remains a vital process.
“It’s absolutely cool. I’m not sure the academy could watch the game tonight but when you see these boys and performing in a game like this, it’s cool,” he said.
“It’s a real physical game, adult football is a physical game and the boys need to make these steps [so] they can get ready for it step by step.
“How I said, the physical part will come but [when] you are not that strong, you can create a lot of ideas, you can do things a bit smarter.”
With the City game less than a week away, it would be no surprise now to see the likes of Bajcetic and Clark feature at the Etihad, having stepped up in Dubai.