Ronnie Whelan highlights one flaw in young Liverpool star's game

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The former Reds hero says Kevin Stewart is often guilty of holding onto the ball for too long in midfield.

Former Liverpool star Ronnie Whelan has told LFCTV that young midfield talent Kevin Stewart's main flaw is that he often takes too long on the ball, and urged him to get the ball forward to the club's attacking players as quickly as possible.

Stewart has enjoyed his first-team breakthrough at Anfield this season under Jurgen Klopp after a brief loan spell at Swindown Town in the first half of the campaign.

Since making his senior debut in the FA Cup third-round clash with Exeter City in January, he has gone on to make 10 appearances in all competitions, including five Premier League starts as Klopp has made full use of his squad in the face of the dual challenge of late-season domestic and European football.

Stewart has played the full 90 minutes in four of the Reds' last five league fixtures - missing only the Merseyside derby thrashing of Everton - and is generally considered by the club to be a bright star of their next generation.

However, former midfielder Whelan, who scored 73 goals in 493 appearances across 15 years at Liverpool, believes he has identified a flaw in the 22-year-old's game, claiming that he is often too slow to release the ball to an attacking teammate.

Whelan told LFCTV after the win over Watford on Sunday: "I’ve praised Kevin Stewart to the hilt when I’ve seen him play. But today for some reason he starts to want an extra touch in midfield.

"I’ve praised him because he is a defensive midfielder and when the ball comes to him it’s bang, into the centre forward. But today he was having a touch, turning round, flicking it back.

"Do what you’re good at. Read it, get it and give it into the forwards as quickly as possible."

Liverpool's victory took them to within two points of Southampton in sixth place with two matches remaining, and with the games coming thick and fast over the next 10 days Stewart will be hoping for at least one more chance to impress before the season is out.

The Reds host fallen champions Chelsea on Wednesday night in their final home game of the campaign, before travelling to West Bromwich Albion for the final-day clash on Sunday.

Three days after that domestic season curtain-closer,  they face the biggest match of their season, and the one by which the campaign is likely to be defined, when they take on defending champions Sevilla in the Europa League final in Basel.

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