With a new year about to begin, here is a look at the younger players at Liverpool who could either catch the eye, or have a defining 12 months.
Liverpool have not been afraid to use youngsters in and around the first team under Brendan Rodgers so there is a good chance that some others will be used again in the near future.
Raheem Sterling and Jon Flanagan have heavily featured for the Reds first team this season – whilst others have had their opportunity under Rodgers predecessor Kenny Dalglish. Some of these youngsters will have featured once a twice in and round the first team but there are different reasons to look out for these youngsters – so here are the five we feature.
Rossiter is only 16 but he seems to be progressing very quickly and has featured for Liverpool’s under-21’s this season. He is a central midfielder that can arrive late into the penalty area and provide a serious goal threat, even if he may not have fully grown yet. If he can keep up this progression, don’t be surprised if he gets some minutes at the end of a couple of league games, or is perhaps earmarked for a loan move in 2014 where we will see more of the youngster.
Another promising midfield player. At 17-years-old, he is a player who likes to play in the middle of the park. He made his Liverpool Under-21 bow last season and has impressed so far at that level, and can score the odd eye-catching goal. Expect 2014 to be a big year for him.
For those who pay close attention to the Liverpool team sheet, they will have seen that Jones has already been part of the first team setup, as he was on the bench for the Reds during their 3-1 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage in May. He’s a commanding presence at the back at under 21 level, and given that he turns 19 in July, he will be hoping to make a massive impression in 2014.
Another promising defender who has spent some time up at Melwood, and has been described as ‘outstanding’ by Brendan Rodgers. He’s a very quick left-back who can get up and down the flank very well. With the left-back position currently filled by an academy graduate in Jon Flanagan, Smith will be hoping to challenge him, and will feel that at 19, he is close to at least being considered for first team action, either at Anfield or elsewhere.
The most famous of the five. He may have been someone to watch out for in 2013, and 2014 is no different. Having made his first team bow against QPR in May, followed by a League Cup appearance against Notts County, Ibe is looking to make the step that fellow youngster Raheem Sterling has made, to get some decent game time. Brendan Rodgers has said he may go out on loan, so it is worth keeping an eye on how the pacey winger develops.
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