LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 4, 2020: Liverpool's Leighton Clarkson celebrates after the FA Cup 4th Round Replay match between Liverpool FC and Shrewsbury Town at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Stuff you dream of” – Midfielder pays tribute on Liverpool exit after 15 years

Having spent the previous 15 years of his life at Liverpool, midfielder Leighton Clarkson bid an emotional farewell as he left for Aberdeen.

Clarkson joined Liverpool as a six-year-old in 2008, and went on to become a staple of the club’s academy sides before progressing into the first team.

The playmaker was part of the sides led by stand-in manager Neil Critchley in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup clashes with Aston Villa and Shrewsbury in 2019/20.

He then started in the 1-1 draw with FC Midtjylland the following season, also making the matchday squad on seven further occasions as he caught the eye of Jurgen Klopp.

But with competition fierce in the middle of the park, Clarkson has now left to join Aberdeen on a permanent deal, after a breakthrough loan last time out.

Upon sealing his exit, the 21-year-old took to Instagram to pay tribute to the club who “made him the person he is today.”

LEEDS, ENGLAND - Monday, February 7, 2022: Liverpool's Leighton Clarkson during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Leeds FC Under-23's and Liverpool FC Under-23's at Elland Road. Leeds United won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Fifteen years at this historic club have come to an end,” the youngster wrote.

“I would like to thank everybody who helped me from the age of six up until now for making me the player and person I am today.

“Liverpool gave me the platform to start my football journey, making friendships for life, and memories that will stay with me forever.

“Making my debut in the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and the Champions League for Liverpool was stuff you dream of.

“I wish everybody the best of luck in the future and You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 25, 2020: Liverpool's substitutes L-R Jake Cain, Billy Koumetio and Leighton Clarkson during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Liverpool FC and Atalanta BC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Clarkson was a popular figure at Liverpool, initially as part of a double act with fellow midfielder Jake Cain in the under-18s and under-21s, before training regularly at senior level.

He can now look to establish himself as a key player in the Aberdeen first team, though, having already scored six goals and assisted nine in 38 games for the club last season.

Next season will see Aberdeen enter the Europa League at the playoff round of qualifiers, with hopes of progressing to the group stage – where they could meet Liverpool.

For Clarkson, it will have been a tough decision to leave Merseyside, where he has spent the majority of his life, but it should prove to be the right one.