With Liverpool’s pre-season getting under way in earnest, many supporters will be hoping to get their first insight into the impact the club’s new signings can make.
But, as much as Jurgen Klopp will be equally invested in seeing what Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai can bring to table this term, he will also be keen to cast an eye over a number of players who do not have a hefty price tag attached to them.
If the Reds’ season goes to plan, then they will contest enough games across all competitions to put a huge strain on the biggest squads – even accounting for further additions.
And that is where the club’s youngsters could come in, picking up minutes in the Europa League and domestic cups in order to ease the workload of their more senior colleagues.
Here, we pick out five academy starlets who have the best chance of using the pre-season period to put themselves in contention for such a role this term.
A firm part of the first-team squad last season at the age of just 17, Doak will hope to kick on again this time around in order to earn further senior outings.
The teenager’s five appearances in 2022/23 saw him quickly win over fans with his direct running style, close control and fearlessness.
Competition for a place in attack has perhaps increased with the revelation that Szoboszlai may at times be considered as an option on the wing having played there previously.
However, Liverpool have big hopes for Doak and, should he progress as expected, he will surely be in contention for more minutes regardless.
League One is an uncompromising environment for any 20-year-old centre-back to try and learn their trade, and so the ease with which Quansah took to that task last season bodes incredibly well for his future.
The Warrington-born defender quickly emerged as a fan favourite during a half-season stint with Bristol Rovers last term and returns to Merseyside having learned plenty.
Not all of it was positive, of course, with a last-minute red card against Portsmouth cited by Gas boss Joey Barton as an important moment in the youngster’s career.
But, by the end of Quansah’s loan spell, his manager was left in no doubt that he would take that lesson forward and make it right to the top.
Clark offered up the perfect example of using any brief time with the senior team to catch the manager’s eye during the last season’s break for the World Cup.
The former Newcastle academy midfielder was involved as the Reds warmed up for the campaign restarting by taking part in the Dubai Super Cup.
And he produced a particularly eye-catching assist in victory over AC Milan that merited mention in Klopp’s post-match press engagements.
Clark will hope to do the same again in the coming friendlies so that he might build on the two first-team outings he secured in 2022/23.
If Caoimhin Kelleher ultimately gets a move away from Anfield this summer, then Liverpool may not need to scour the market for a replacement homegrown goalkeeper.
That is because Pitaluga, who joined the Reds from Fluminense in 2020, will count towards that criteria for the 2024/25 season.
Of course, the most important factor is whether or not the Brazilian is ready after a brief taste of first-team football on loan at Macclesfield last season was severely hampered by injury.
But he will be keen to do everything he can in the coming weeks to impress on Klopp that he should be the next cab off the rank should Kelleher depart.
Koumas has earned some early involvement in the senior team’s pre-season this year thanks to his goalscoring exploits at U18 level last term.
The prolific teenager, who signed a first professional contract in January, will hope to show he can make the step up to first-team standards in the weeks ahead.
Koumas’ slight frame may count against him in terms of heavy involvement next season, but his chances won’t be harmed by an ability to play in multiple positions across the frontline.
And, even if he is not ready to make the jump to the senior side just yet, this summer will be an important opportunity to learn.