The Redmen TV bring you the latest Liverpool summer transfer news, views and speculation… With The Times reporting that Pepe Reina is heading back to Barca the lads discuss the impact his loss could have on the side…
Hungarian midfielder Krisztian Adorjan looks set for great things next season after a breakout year in Liverpool’s Under 21s side. The 20-year-old was prolific playing in either the No.10 role behind the striker or on any flank in a front three, meaning he could be a perfect fit for Brendan Rodgers’s system.
Adorjan was the second top goal scorer in the Under 21s this season, netting 12 times and laying on several assists for his teammates. He’s incredibly versatile, however is yet to break through into the first-team. Stunting his momentum has been the likes of Suso and Raheem Sterling breaking into the senior side ahead of Adorjan, while the acquisition of Philippe Coutinho has made first-team chances all the more harder to come by.
Regardless, Adorjan is a fantastic prospect and could excel in the senior team if given his opportunity next season.
Liverpool’s Academy system has had a recent habit of churning out fantastic right-back prospects, and Ryan McLaughlin is no exception. However the Northern Irishman is in a different mould to recent Academy graduates such as Andre Wisdom and Jon Flanagan, as in he is a superb wing-back who is often more talented going forward than he is when defending.
The 18-year-old loves to overlap down the right hand side and is incredibly dangerous once he reaches the final third. His ability to relentlessly carry the ball down the wings and into the area, as well as his tricky feet and nice array of skills, resulted in McLaughlin winning several penalties for the team throughout the season.
If the likes of Wisdom and Martin Kelly are preferred at centre back in 2013/14, expect McLaughlin to be first in line to replace Glen Johnson when the England international is in need of a rest.
Liverpool came across Portuguese starlet Joao Teixeira after he tore the Reds apart at Anfield in the 2011/12 NextGen Series. Soon after he was a Liverpool player, and now he looks one of the Reds’ brightest prospects in midfield.
Like a number of Academy prospects, the 20-year-old is versatile and can play in a number of different positions across midfield. While he prefers to play as a central midfielder, he is able to adequately operate in the hole behind the strikers. Arguably the most impressive aspect of Teixeira’s play is his ability to get stuck in with a hard tackle. He is by no means a luxury player.
Teixeira scored twice in the Under 21s side throughout the year, and if he can build on an impressive first full season at Liverpool, he’ll be sure to come across first-team opportunities in the future.
Liverpool’s Under 21s captain Conor Coady made huge strides throughout the season, none bigger than when he made his first-team debut in the Europa League back in November. The local lad then made his Premier League debut as the Reds beat Fulham in the penultimate game of the season and should add to his list of first-team appearances over the next few years.
Coady is a typically robust central midfielder built like and modelled on Steven Gerrard, however he can also revert into a centre back if required. He has a fantastic array of passing abilities and has an eye for goal when pressing forward. His leadership abilities are also outstanding, as were demonstrated when he captained England’s Under 17s side to the European Championship in 2010.
The 20-year-old has been touted as the next Stevie G, so watch out for the youngster in the coming seasons.
After a hugely successful start to the season, American Marc Pelosi suffered a gigantic setback in February when he broke his leg in a horrible incident for the Under 21s side. However the left-sided utility has made excellent progress in his comeback and could press for a first-team debut when he returns to football later in 2013.
Prior to his injury, the 18-year-old had cemented his spot in Alex Inglethorpe’s side, initially playing as a left-back but more frequently moving to the left side of attack or as a central midfielder. It’s this versatility that makes Pelosi a handy player to have in a team, and this was recognised by Brendan Rodgers, who called Pelosi into his Europa League squad for the final stages of the competition prior to his injury.
All at the Liverpool Football Club are hopeful that Pelosi can soon return to full fitness, as lots is expected of the talented youngster.
Every time you tune into a Liverpool match, the midfield of the Mighty Reds tells you two stories, two very distinct stories that come together to form a sort of magic – a Brazilian magic. These two stories are so far apart that you could separate them with a bridge, and that’s what I’ve done.
On one side of the bridge you have Lucas Leiva, a defensive midfielder who signed from Gremio and who at the time was the captain of the u21 Brazilian side. The youngster was one of the hottest prospects on the market and the Liverpool faithful were excited to see flair and flamboyance, but it wasn’t to come. Instead, it seemed Liverpool had signed a player with little attacking ability and a dud of a Brazilian. With Alonso, Gerrard and Mascherano in the midfield, it was hard for Lucas to prove his doubters wrong.
The fans were not pleased.
Then Alonso and Mascherano were gone, and with each passing match the dedication and commitment that Lucas showed to the club became more and more evident. He started winning fans over, and once everyone’s eyes had been opened from their premature judgment, it was clear to see that this Brazilian was unique – and before you knew it, his role as an enforcer in our midfield and his support of our defence had seen him become one of most valuable players – and leaders.
Rafa would be proud.
Cross the bridge and what you find is a whole lot of Samba. Everything you expect from a Brazilian, and then some, is found in Liverpool sensation Coutinho. Unlike Lucas, the young Brazilian won over the Kop immediately with his fancy footwork and magic making abilities and has proven to be one of the most dynamic young players in world football.
Coutinho hit the ground running since signing from Inter with his contribution of goals, assists and all-round brilliance, and it came at a perfect time as Liverpool were needing that inspiration in the final third of the pitch.
Everyone knew he was good, but no one expected him to be so good.
Having two players who play to completely different yet vitally important roles means that when they meet each other on this bridge, it brings about flair and stability, goals and tackles, and sense of excitement that Liverpool have found the perfect balance in our midfield – A Brazilian Balance.
Jordon Ibe Most Liverpool fans would know who Jordon Ibe is by now. The lively 17-year-old winger made his debut in Liverpool’s final game of the season against QPR, starting the match on the left wing. He looked assured in his maiden outing for the first-team, taking on his marker whenever he got the opportunity. His main assets are his pace and strength, and these were highlighted in his assist to Philippe Coutinho for Liverpool’s only goal of the match.Ibe has taken on a similar path to Raheem Sterling, and is a similar type of player. If anything, Ibe could surpass Sterling’s brilliant on-field achievements. He’s well-built for his age and, like Sterling at youth level, has a brilliant eye for goal when cutting inside.The youngster scored three goals at Under 18s level, as well as one when called upon by the Under 21s. Expect to see more of Ibe next season.Jerome Sinclair At just 16 years and six days old, striker Jerome Sinclair burst onto the scene at Liverpool, becoming the youngest ever debutant in the club’s long and rich history. His short cameo may have been the only time we would see him throughout the season at first-team level, but it was a promising sign for the future.
Like the aforementioned Ibe, Sinclair is incredibly strong in stature for his age. He’s also very quick, skilful and is a nice finisher. He has the versatility and smarts to play as either a commanding No.9 or a tricky No.7 and he displayed both of these qualities throughout the year under Steve Cooper. Despite not making a second first-team appearance, Sinclair trained regularly with the senior squad late in the season.
He was the Under 18s’ top scorer with 12 goals, while also chipping in with one at Under 21s level. Watch closely to see if he builds on his impressive debut over the next year or two.
After making the 18-man squad for Liverpool’s penultimate Premier League match against Fulham, defender Lloyd Jones could be the next Academy graduate to debut under Brendan Rodgers next season. Tall, athletic and commanding, the 17-year-old has all of the physical qualities to replicate the recent success of Martin Kelly and Andre Wisdom in the first-team.
Following Jamie Carragher’s retirement, Brendan Rodgers could be after several youth prospects to make the step up to first-team level next season, and considering Liverpool’s vulnerabilities in the air throughout 2012/13, Jones’s height and aerial presence could mean he’s the first cab off the rank.
By the end of the season, Jones had left the Under 18s team and was a first-choice at the back in Liverpool’s Under 21s side. Depending on Liverpool’s transfer activity over the summer, Jones could be rewarded with a first-team debut next season.
Jack Dunn The Under 18s success in the FA Youth Cup unearthed a magnificent midfield talent in Jack Dunn. The Liverpool-born prospect has been well known in Academy circles for a while now, captaining the team in 2011 before suffering from a spout of injuries. However after recovering from those problems, the 18-year-old enjoyed a breakout second-half of the season.
Dunn scored an incredible six goals in the opening four rounds of the FA Youth Cup, driving the team towards a semi-final showdown with Chelsea. His leadership qualities inspired the young Reds throughout the season, and it even earned the youngster a call-up to the Under 21s team, where he scored on debut, late in the campaign.
The midfielder is ineligible to play for the Under 18s next season, so will have to solidify his position at Under 21s level before making the step up to a potential first-team debut.
A sensational and consistent goal-scoring run from attacker Daniel Trickett-Smith put the youngster firmly in Steve Cooper’s plans throughout the season and put his name into the picture for a potential first-team call-up over the next couple of seasons.
The 17-year-old, playing in his first season at Liverpool’s Academy, scored 11 times throughout the year and finished second behind Jerome Sinclair as the Under 18s’ top goal scorer. It was an impressive feat, considering the youngster played the majority of the season in midfield or operating as a No.10, just in behind the centre forward.
If his first season at Liverpool was anything to go by, Trickett-Smith is sure to have a successful future at the club. Whether that holds a first-team debut, it remains to be seen.