Pepijn Lijnders says Liverpool’s academy system has ‘so many talents’ capable of making the step up into the senior side.
The Reds’ assistant manager has been discussing the next generation of talent emerging from within the club’s academy ranks, with a number of players having made the step into Jurgen Klopp’s plans in recent seasons.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott are amongst the most recent players to progress from youth level to the senior side, and Lijnders believes there are many ‘diamonds’ capable of following in those footsteps.
Klopp could choose to hand minutes to his best young players tomorrow evening as Liverpool face Norwich in the Carabao Cup, with Lijnders confident that the club boast a collection of youngsters who can handle first-team football.
“I’m excited about our Academy, that’s first,” Lijnders said, during his pre-match press conference ahead of the clash with Norwich.
“There are so many talents, diamonds, so many special players who just can’t wait to make the step so it’s so important that we keep doing this because with one player we push we inspire the whole Academy.
“So we have to keep this logic of the inside pathway: One, because we win players and second, because we become a better team because young players will never let you down – never, never. They never did and they never will.”
One player who could be handed an opportunity is 17-year-old Kaide Gordon, who impressed after spending pre-season with Jurgen Klopp’s senior side this summer.
“So we take all these young players to the pre-season and when do you know you have a good player around you? It’s when the senior players start taking care of this young player,” Lijnders added.
“So when you see James Milner speaking with Kaide, when you see Trent becoming like a proper mentor, when you see that they invite him to sit on the table. All our boys invited him in our group and that made it, not easier, but it made it good for him, how to adapt to our team, to our style.
“He is what you see a lot with these kind of wingers – they can outplay, they can combine – but he has a goal in him and he has this natural ability to be in the box between the goalposts to score, even when the cross comes from the opposite side, for example. Not many talents have that.
“They have maybe dribbling skills but they don’t have this desire to shoot, to come in the box, to score. So he is a typical Liverpool Football Club winger, in my opinion, because he has goals, he has speed. We really like him and we are really happy he is with us.”
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Author: Harry Diamond