Liverpool’s season has very much revolved around the club’s youth, and we have seen manager Brendan Rodgers give a number of youngsters the opportunity to impress on the Premier League stage. Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and Jon Flanagan have been key figures in the Reds unlikely title challenge.
This trend is likely to continue next season, especially with the club requiring added depth as a result of European commitments, and a number of the current youth hopefuls could receive a call-up for first-team action.
Here are five Liverpool youngsters who could break into the senior side next term (The likes of Suso and Andre Wisdom have been disregarded, considering they have already clocked up over 10 first-team appearances).
Joao Carlos Teixeira
Joao Carlos Teixeira is a highly-rated Portuguese youth international who will have caught the attention of Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool fans during his solitary appearance during the 2013-14 season. In February, Rodgers introduced Teixeira for his senior debut as a substitute during the Reds’ Premier League win at Fulham.
The 21-year-old is an exceedingly gifted player who can perform a number of roles across the midfield. He has been compared to Deco, Coutinho and his personal hero Kaka since arriving at Anfield.
18-year-old Jordon Ibe has spent the second half of the season on loan with Championship side Birmingham, where has scored one goal in four starts. The talented youngster, who can play up front or out on the wing has made one appearance for the senior side this season, coming off the bench during Liverpool’s 5-1 rout over Arsenal in February.
Ibe will be hoping to emulate the outstanding development of Raheem Sterling by establishing himself as a regular first-team player in the coming campaign.
Big things are expected of 20-year-old Jack Robinson over the next few years. He has spent the duration of the 2013-14 campaign with Championship side Blackpool, where he has impressed both with his resolute defending and with his efforts in attack.
The Reds’ left-back position could be up for grabs this summer, and Robinson could be one of the candidates who falls into Rodgers' consideration. He has represented England at under-16, under-17 and under-18 level; he is now a regular for the under-19s and occasionally the under-21s.
Ryan McLaughlin joined Championship side Barnsley on an initial one-month youth loan in January, however, having impressed the club’s coaching staff he remained there for the remainder of the 2013-14 campaign.
The 19-year-old could be given the opportunity to impress at right-back over the summer. In the Reds’ 2012 season tour of the USA, he made his unofficial debut against AS Roma and given the task of man-marking Italian legend Francesco Totti he was truly impressive. He will be hoping he is afforded a similar opportunity this time round.
23-year-old goalkeeper Danny Ward could prove the answer to Rodgers' concerns between the sticks. The Welshman could be utilised as the club’s back-up goalkeeper next season, with the view of giving him first-team responsibilities when the time comes.
He made his first appearance for the club when he came off the bench in their pre-season friendly against Preston North End last summer. Ward has been a regular starter for the under-21s this season, impressing with his all-round ability.