The Class of ’17: Liverpool’s lively lads on the rise
Liverpool have a rich history of producing gifted youngsters and guiding these mercurial talents towards the first team.
Hark back to the early nineties and the likes of Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman rising to stardom. They were then followed by Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.
The conveyor belt at Melwood never stops for too long. And this Class of 2017 are certainly packed with some frighteningly talented prospects.
Tonight’s Carabao Cup clash with Leicester City hands Reds’ boss Jurgen Klopp the opportunity to give some prodigious youngsters game-time.
Ahead of tonight’s televised third round tie against the Foxes, we’ve put together a list of the top five young Anfield talents.
Having become the club’s youngest ever goalscorer last season, Woodburn is now a sensation at international level with Wales.
At just 17-years-old, the Chester-born star scored the winner against Austria and assisted the vital opener in the follow-up game in Moldova.
An assured first touch for one so young, Woodburn’s finishing is also unerringly accurate.
Comfortable across the midfield and attack, his versatility could eventually become a problem. But at this juncture, the world is his oyster.
The 18-year-old is arguably the most developed of Liverpool’s recent crop of gems.
Having made his debut in last season’s EFL Cup win over Tottenham Hotspur, the Liverpudlian has already made 10 senior appearances.
He also scored in this season’s Champions League play-off win against Hoffenheim with a beautiful free-kick.
With England international right-back Nathaniel Clyne out injured for a number of months, expect the youngster to make the slot his own.
The 20-year-old has long been touted as a huge star, but intermittent injuries have stalled his progress.
There’s little doubt the Wrexham-born ace has huge potential, though. Chris Coleman saw fit to hand him his international bow for Wales in a World Cup Qualifier against Belgium back in 2013.
With 28 league goals and over 20 assists from the right wing for the under-23s last season, the left-footed wing wizard has all the attributes to be a massive hit at Anfield.
One player who won’t be available to Jurgen Klopp tonight is Ryan Kent. That’s because the 20-year-old is currently on a season-long loan to the Bundesliga’s Freiburg.
Having previously had spells at Coventry and Barnsley, Liverpool were reticent to let the Oldham-born talent out on loan again.
The Merseyside club handed Kent a new long-term deal recently after he impressed hugely in pre-season.
A whole host of Championship clubs enquired about the right winger, but Klopp decided a stint in Germany would best aid his development.
Another formidable attacking addition to this top five, Sheyi Ojo should have a very bright future in the game.
Currently on loan at Championship side Fulham, the 20-year-old has completed three full games for the Cottagers. He notched his first assist in the recent win against Hull City.
Quick and powerful, and comfortable with both feet, the winger-cum-forward must work on his decision-making and final ball.
But if he can develop sufficiently at Craven Cottage in a side full of talented youngsters, Liverpool should have a star on their hands.
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