LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, November 30, 2023: Liverpool's Conor Bradley during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 5 game between Liverpool FC and LASK at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We really count on him” – Jurgen Klopp explains “pure joy” over Conor Bradley

Jurgen Klopp was elated with the return of Conor Bradley after a four-month injury, with the Liverpool manager insisting “we really count on” the right-back.

Bradley made a big impression in the early weeks of pre-season before, in Klopp’s words, “all of a sudden he was out for a long, long time.”

A stress fracture in the 20-year-old’s back saw him miss four months of action, only returning for an eight-minute cameo in Thursday’s 4-0 victory over LASK.

He made his game time count, with Klopp telling TNT Sports afterwards that: “With just a few moments in the game, you can see he’s a real talent.”

“A real prospect for us. We really count on him,” he continued.

In his post-match press conference, the manager elaborated further: “The boys in that age group, we have super talents, I have to say.

“You saw it tonight again, really smart, brave, good footballer, and after that long time…”

Like many other youngsters of late, Bradley’s layoff can be attributed to growing pains, with Klopp explaining it as when “you are ready footballing-wise, but the body still needs to grow into the intensity.”

Curtis Jones suffered in a similar way, as have the likes of Stefan Bajcetic, Calvin Ramsay and Kaide Gordon this season.

“For Conor tonight, I told him after the game, ‘enjoyed it?’, he said ‘I missed it, I missed it so much!’,” Klopp told TNT Sports.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 19, 2023: Liverpool's substitute Stefan Bajcetic warms-up during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“It’s harsh for these boys, the body sometimes when you’re a real talent, like Conor is for example or Stefan Bajcetic is, then you are ready footballing-wise, but the body still needs to grow into the intensity.

“These two boys probably have now had that spell, one has it still, the other one is out of it, now we have to make sure we don’t overdo it.

“We really try, we are really careful with the boys, but sometimes it happens anyway. So now he’s back and now he can help us. That will help him.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 29, 2023: Liverpool's Kaide Gordon during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Liverpool FC and LASK. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Speaking to the assembled press, he added: “Luke Chambers came back after a long injury, needed time to get rhythm, now he’s getting better and better and better, top talent as well.

Kaide Gordon is back after a long, long injury spell, incredibly long, looks super in training.

“So if we can do things like this, we will do things like that.

“Because that’s our job, giving the boys, not only with words but with actions, opportunities to make the next step.

“It’s a pure joy to see [Conor] back in training. He had a top pre-season with us, then all of a sudden he was out for a long, long time. Good to have him back.”

With Liverpool clinching a place in the last 16 of the Europa League, Klopp is likely to hand the likes of Bradley, Chambers and Gordon more minutes against Union SG on December 14.