Liverpool saw one academy player become a fixture at first-team level this season while a handful showed potential – so who could follow next time?
In Stefan Bajcetic, the Reds have unearthed a gem ready to be polished; the Serbian-born Spaniard now looks primed for a long-term role under Jurgen Klopp.
Though Bajcetic’s campaign was brought to an early end due to injury, in his 19 appearances he showed he can be relied upon from next season and long into the future.
He joins Trent Alexander-Arnold, Curtis Jones and Caoimhin Kelleher in breaking through from the academy to establish himself in the senior squad.
There are other examples, too, in Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams, vindicating the club’s focus on youth development as a source for the first team.
So who could be options for Klopp next season?
With Kelleher deserving of a starting role and Adrian into the final weeks of his contract, this summer could bring big change in Liverpool’s goalkeeping ranks.
If Kelleher pushes for a move and Adrian‘s terms aren’t extended, then John Achterberg and his staff will be on the lookout for at least one new signing to support Alisson.
However, as with the current second choice, there is a likelihood Liverpool turn to their academy for one of the backup roles.
Pitaluga saw his time on loan at Macclesfield blighted by an ankle ligament injury, but he has spent the season training with the first team and travelling to Anfield on matchdays, with the Brazilian potentially next in line.
There is a chance Pitaluga is overtaken by a Scouser, though, with Davies making headway with the under-21s and under-19s throughout the campaign.
A Liverpool player since under-9s level, Davies has developed rapidly in recent years and has been a regular in training and travelling on matchdays like Pitaluga.
The teenager kept seven clean sheets in 16 games, conceding only 19 times, as the U21s ended their runners-up season with the league’s best defensive record, while he has also been on the first-team bench seven times this term.
In all likelihood, one of Pitaluga and Davies will stay as No. 3 and the other will head out on loan, with Alisson backed up by vast potential.
Position: Left-back, centre-back
With Klopp shifting to a 3-4-3 system as part of his “new LFC” – as he called it in a recent interview with LFCTV – there are new demands on the manager’s back line.
Trent Alexander-Arnold steps into midfield from right-back while Andy Robertson operates as a hybrid of left-back and left-sided centre-back.
The jury is out on Kostas Tsimikas as backup in that role, but in Chambers, the club may have the perfect solution coming through the ranks.
Chambers is a natural left-back but has experience at centre-back both with the U21s and on loan at Kilmarnock – and Klopp even deployed him there in the friendly defeat to Lyon in December.
“Our plans are to bring him back, go into pre-season, enjoy the steps he made and then we will decide together what we will be doing from that moment on,” Klopp said of Bradley in April.
“The plans are, in the moment, bring him back and keep him – but we will see.”
The manager described Bradley’s loan spell at Bolton as a “win-win,” and it is no surprise why: the Northern Irishman has helped fire his club into the League One playoffs, with seven goals and six assists in 51 games in all competitions.
Whether his rampaging right-back play fits into the new system at Liverpool remains to be seen, but he has potentially leapfrogged Calvin Ramsay in the pecking order.
Another player who has impressed out on loan – albeit less brightly than Bradley – Morton played 46 times for Blackburn, assisting four goals, before foot surgery ended his campaign early.
While he has not torn the Championship apart like Harvey Elliott did at Ewood Park, there were signs in the 20-year-old’s time away from Liverpool that he is developing into a handy senior player.
Morton has already made nine appearances for the Reds at first-team level, and in January the club made a big show of faith in handing him a new long-term contract.
Where he fits into Klopp’s midfield rebuild is unclear, but Morton certainly has a chance of becoming an option.
Position: Right winger
During this crazy mess of a season, one of the feel-good stories for Liverpool has been the emergence of Doak as a future star in the first team.
His opportunity came, partly, by necessity, with Klopp making wholesale changes for the Carabao Cup clash with Derby in November, but he definitely made the most of it.
A relentless presence on the right flank, Doak did not look out of place on or off the ball, and though he is yet to add to his five appearances, he has remained a staple in first-team training.
There is a convincing theory that Liverpool have sought youth as backup to the undroppable Mohamed Salah – with Kaide Gordon also a candidate – and it would be no surprise to see Doak step in for him more often next season.