MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 7, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp prepares to bring on substitute Bobby Clark during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. Liverpool won 2-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Looks like a man now!” – Jurgen Klopp on Liverpool midfielder’s development

After progressing past Fulham, Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for his young Liverpool players, saying one in particular “looks like a man now.”

Against Fulham, four of Liverpool’s starting XI were under-22s, as well as two more players who came off the bench.

While Conor Bradley and Jarell Quansah stole the headlines, Klopp spoke glowingly of another talent, too.

Bobby Clark came on for Ryan Gravenberch in the 84th minute to help see the game out, and provided another cameo that excited supporters.

While his work was mostly done defensively, he was calm on the ball under pressure and gave Klopp more reason to start him against Norwich in the FA Cup.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk (R) speaks with Bobby Clark during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Clark was born on February 7, 2005, making him just 18 years old and us feel very old!

Klopp emphasised how inexperienced he is, calling him “really young, really really young” in an interview with LFCTV.

Despite that, the manager also said “he looks like a man now,” suggesting that he could see more first-team action in the near future.

While it isn’t the the be-all and end-all, physicality is a big part of what Klopp needs in his midfielders.

It helps when winning the ball back and maintaining aggression across 90 minutes, something Dominik Szoboszlai has shown plenty of this season. A lack of this energy held Liverpool back at times last season.

If Clark can add this kind of vigour to his game at such a young age, he could be a serious option for Klopp.

He is just one of several academy players who are stating their claim to be involved in senior matches at the moment.

As well as saying he was “pretty happy with the performances” of Bradley and Quansah, Klopp made sure to mention the other youth players who made the squad against Fulham.

“We have Trey [Nyoni] outside, we have James [McConnell] outside, Owen [Beck] outside and hopefully I didn’t forget anybody, but they are all incredible talents.

“Tonight again, we saw in the last few weeks that they are ready, why we should bring them. It was super intense for all the others.”