KLOPP’S LAST GAME SOUVENIR

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Liverpool's Isaac Mabaya celebrates after the UEFA Youth League Group A Matchday 1 game between SSC Napoli Under-19's and Liverpool FC Under-19's at Giuseppe Piccolo. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool right-back signs new contract after injury interrupts first-team chance

Liverpool youngster Isaac Mabaya is the latest to sign a new contract with the club, ahead of a renewed opportunity with the first team this summer.

Mabaya was among the young standouts during pre-season last year, making four appearances throughout the Reds’ warmup friendlies as he caught the eye.

The 18-year-old academy player was deployed at right-back, but is also capable of excelling in midfield, and earned his first call-up to the England under-19s in September.

However, a long-term ankle injury has ruled Mabaya out since October, derailing his promising form with Liverpool under-21s and any further senior exposure.

This week, though, the club have signalled their faith in the Preston-born youngster, who has signed a new long-term contract.

Liverpool confirmed the news on Saturday, following similar extensions for both Luke Chambers and Jarell Quansah earlier this month.

Mabaya, who made seven appearances for the U21s and three for the under-19s prior to his injury, will be seen as part of a new core of homegrown talent on the fringes of Jurgen Klopp‘s squad.

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 1, 2023: Liverpool's James Balagizi (L) and Isaac Mabaya train before the Under-18 Premier League match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC Under-18's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

His ability to operate as both a right-back and a midfielder could be interesting, of course, given Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s recent shift into a hybrid role.

The teenager undoubtedly has a long way to go until he could challenge Alexander-Arnold, however, with Calvin Ramsay and Conor Bradley also convincing options at this stage.

For now, Mabaya’s priority will be returning to full fitness and potentially rejoining the senior squad for another chance in the next pre-season.

He is nearing that return, having joined another long-term absentee, James Balagizi, for sessions at the AXA Training Centre in April.