After some mid week European action, the Premier League was back in action and as usual there’s plenty to talk about.
Liverpool’s future is bright with Curtis Jones, Neco Williams and Harvey Elliott expected to have larger roles next season.
World football is currently under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic that storms the planet. There are huge questions it leaves for football fans: when will the season resume? Will the season resume? What will happen to the transfer window? What will happen to financial fair play?
Well, the financial implications COVID has had on many clubs have been huge. Many clubs are looking at operating cost losses, low cash flow and heavy wages still to pay.
There are loads of football clubs that have already slashed their budgets for the forthcoming season. They have put many of their non-playing staff on leave and encouraged high wage-earning players to take cuts or payment deferrals.
These measures could ensure that we as fans start seeing a reduction in crazy wages and transfer fees in the future. Spending in the transfer window may never be the same.
However, we need to ensure that we keep an eye out for silver linings wherever possible. Looking for a silver lining for the Liverpool Football Club in the transfer window is something we have done.
Liverpool currently finds itself in a position as strong as ever. Jurgen Klopp boasts an elite Champions League-winning squad that was running away with the English Premier League title (until the campaign was indefinitely suspended) will have one eye on the future.
Like always, multiple transfer rumours loom around Liverpool, but those stories usually hit a dead end. However, let us look at a few players from the Liverpool Academy that may help save the club millions of pounds in transfer fees.
Also, the Reds have never been huge spenders unless they are sure to be recovering a large chunk in player sales. They are unlikely to spend heavily in the following window, given that they have plenty of options in each position.
This lockdown may encourage managers and coaches to take a peek at academy players and propel a few talents into the first team.
Given Klopp’s managing style and the Liverpool board’s buying policy, there are three players who will make more appearances in the Liverpool first team in the next season.
Let’s get into it.
Neco Williams – full-back prospect
Williams has the best chance of all the youngsters to break into the first team next season. Given the evident lack of depth in the club’s full-back positions, Trent Alexander-Arnold plays almost every game and will require rotation going forward.
We have seen how promising the youngster is. He made his senior debut against Arsenal in October 2019. Since then, the Welshman has made a few impressive appearances for the first team.
His confidence, distribution and ability to maintain a high press has signalled that he is ready to provide back-up to TAA in the right-back position.
However, when you look at it through a microscope, Williams is more of a traditional right-back than most of his fellow academy players. That does not take away his ability to create goal-scoring opportunities from wide positions.
However, compared to Trent or even other clubs’ and academy players, Williams is perhaps more of a natural defender while defending in his own box – something that Trent is quite often criticised about.
Klopp is a massive fan of giving young talent a chance. He’s shown that with his previous managerial stint at Dortmund and here at Liverpool as well.
I’m sure Klopp has no plans of restricting the 19-year-old’s development. We might see him play more often in the remainder of the season.
Curtis Jones – central midfield prospect
Local lad Jones announced his arrival into the first team in the most cinematic way possible. During the early part of the season, he’s had multiple chances to prove himself.
Many will shay he has rightly made his way into the first team already but he has a long way to go before he becomes a regular once the whole team is fully fit.
The young midfielder curled a 25-yard winner against Everton in the Cup and dumped Everton, Liverpool’s arch-rivals, out of the competition. It happens only in dreams.
The young Scouser has shown great ability and talent with the ball at his feet. He possesses quick feet and has an eye for a through-pass (similar to a certain scouser called Steven Gerrard), and those skills have improved since he has started training regularly with the first team.
The one thing that does not work in his favour is that he wants to play in the CAM role. Most managers do not like throwing kids into that role, however, Klopp is known to try out different things and hence it will undoubtedly be an exciting season for Jones.
Jones has proved himself capable of deputising on the left side during his early appearances for the first-team. I’m sure he will save Liverpool millions if he continues his development the way we all expect him to!
Harvey Elliott – wide option prospect
Elliott is touted as one of the best young talents in the league. When he is playing, movement across the front line seems to come naturally to him. He does not seem phased by the occasion that he will be playing for one of the best teams ever.
The fact that Klopp has given senior playing minutes to a 16-year-old kid means that the club is pleased with his talent and the way he is progressing. We can certainly expect to see him get more minutes this season, as well.
After all, besides the wide men Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, Liverpool do not have great depth, and hence that is an opportunity for the youngster.
The Surrey-born winger looks like a future Anfield star. He probably is playing for the best football manager possible who has shown trust in him.
The German is known to make big decisions, and we could look at him not purchasing another player who could slow down his development. Hopefully, we see him get a regular first-team role in the next season.
There is a chance that Xherdan Shaqiri may leave Liverpool, which could see Elliott get a chance. That move could open up a place on the bench for a left-footed creative player who can cut in from the right-wing.
We are all aware of how well he is doing on loan at Blackburn. We can expect him to train with the first team next season and deputise for Salah next season.
Other than these three stars, multiple other players are doing well in the Liverpool Academy.
Liverpool is in a strong position, maybe the strongest that they have been in the last ten years.