Liverpool have handed Paul Glatzel an opportunity to prove his fitness after a tough four years, with the long-serving striker signing a new deal.
Glatzel, who has been with the club since under-9s level, has endured a nightmare spell since sustaining an ACL injury in a pre-season friendly in 2019.
He spent over a year on the sidelines followed that blow on his first outing for the senior side, and subsequent issues saw his game time managed in the academy.
There were high hopes as he spent 2021/22 on loan at Tranmere – named Man of the Match more times than any player at the League Two club – but his first campaign at Prenton Park ended early due to a serious hamstring injury.
He rejoined the club for the following season, but 14 minutes into his first game back he suffered a recurrence and spent the entire term on the treatment table.
With his contract with Liverpool due to expire this summer, and having turned 22 in February, it was expected that he would be released.
But in June, the club confirmed an offer was on the table, and This Is Anfield later learned Glatzel had put pen to paper.
Glatzel reported to the AXA Training Centre for day one of pre-season with Barry Lewtas‘ U21s, and has since featured in both of their warmup friendlies so far.
The hardworking striker clocked 45 minutes in a 2-2 draw with Peterborough and then started a 1-0 victory over Kidderminster Harriers.
Another opportunity should come in Saturday’s clash at Colwyn Bay, with Glatzel gradually reintroduced as he works his way to full fitness.
It remains to be seen where he fits in for the campaign proper, though he would be an over-age player at U21s level – with five able to be fielded in any matchday squad.
While it would be far from what Glatzel would have hoped for in a season that will mark his 23rd birthday, this new contract serves as a show of support from Liverpool.
The aim is likely to be to rebuild his fitness and sharpness before seeking a move elsewhere, with the club removing the uncertainty of heading into the summer as a free agent.
Glatzel remains one of the most talented strikers to emerged from Liverpool’s academy in recent years, and his time at Tranmere showed he is capable of translating that to the Football League.