MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

“It’s what England is famous for” – How Liverpool are using loans effectively

Using Owen Beck and Conor Bradley as examples, Pep Lijnders has explained how Liverpool are using the loan system to their advantage.

Fish and chips, rainy weather and red telephone boxes – you would think these are what spring to mind when foreigners think of England.

Not Liverpool’s assistant manager, Lijnders, though. When explaining why Bradley has had such an impact on the first team, the Dutchman referred back to the loan system, saying: “It’s what England is famous for.”

Expanding on Bradley’s time at Bolton last season, Lijnders said: “[At] the right moment, the right loan makes a big difference. It’s what England is famous for, finding the right timings to play in the lower league.

“But, it’s really important that he goes to the right manager who did an unbelievable job, the right style of play.”

The manager Lijnders is referring to is Ian Evatt. Under his watch, Bradley won the EFL Trophy at Wembley and became the Trotters’ player of the season, such was his influence at the club.

Liverpool’s coach went on to talk about Bradley and teammate Beck’s progression from the academy, and the club’s belief in the pair.

“Two years ago, Owen Beck and Conor Bradley in the second team – the right side, the left side – they dominated the complete channel, offensively and defensively,” Lijnders reflected.

“So we knew, it’s not a surprise how he’s training now, it’s not a surprise what he’s doing. We always believed it. It’s part of our project, to bring these young players.”

With multiple absentees in recent weeks, that “project” of bringing through young players has become evident. Against Bournemouth, Liverpool fielded six under-21s, the most in a league game since 1965.

READ HERE: Klopp made Liverpool team selection call not seen in almost 59 years

Lijnders continued: “We always believed, he (Bradley) wasn’t a player who went on loan to create a market [for], he went on loan to come back to play.

“He was really unlucky with the injury, because you guys saw pre-season – that was impressive, no?

2PJG2H9 Bolton Wanderers? James Trafford (left) and Bolton Wanderers? Conor Bradley celebrate with the trophy following their victory in the Papa Johns Trophy final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday April 2, 2023.

“That’s what I said the other day to Jurgen (Klopp): the young players, our players, the work the academy is doing, the work Vitor Matos is doing with the young players, the belief we have as management to bring them.

“How they do it is just so impressive.”

This development of the academy hasn’t happened overnight, but it has been a long-term plan to integrate the youth and first teams. Moving from Melwood to Kirkby was a big part of that.

“I’m really happy that everybody in the outside world [sees it], but we see it already for six, seven years, that all these young players make such an impact,” Lijnders added.

“That’s a sign for a healthy club.”

In the near future, Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s reintroduction will likely see Bradley drop out of the starting XI, but his performances will have given Klopp hope that he could be a long-term option at right-back.