There was an irritating sense of familiarity this week as news broke of the injury Daniel Sturridge suffered in training this week. Reports have suggested that the in-form striker could be out for anywhere between a month and six weeks, leaving Liverpool in the not so unfamiliar position of being robbed of an important player through injury. Sturridge has been in fine form this season and the England international sits joint-top scorer in the league alongside teammate Luis Suarez, meaning his absence is likely to be sorely felt.
Now, I have had my fair share of complaints about Sturridge in the past (most of which have been horribly unfounded) but not even I can deny his importance to the team, however, with the fixtures we have lined up it may not actually be the end of the world. In fact, as one door closes (albeit temporarily) another door opens, and I believe the circumstances provide the perfect opportunity for that to happen.
With the form of Suarez and Sturridge, and Fernando Torres before them, the strikers from our youth academy have had very little (if any) exposure to the first team and have as a result never been able to fulfill their potential. Adam Morgan is the prime example. The young striker was labeled by Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler as being “one of the best finishers I’ve seen in a long time” but never made the step up to the big league. The young Englishman had many suitors when he burst onto the scene but faded into the shadows of the academy and recently had his young career at the club come to an end. Sadly, he is not the only one to fall short after promising so much and he probably won’t be the last either.
The good news is that there is another star in the academy who has shown all the qualities to be the exception to the norm. In fact, the striker has all the attributes to be a regular first-teamer and shows the potential that could see him become a world class superstar. The man in question – Samed Yesil.
Samed Yesil, who is of Turkish-German descent, joined Liverpool’s academy in 2012 from Bayer Leverkusen and brought with him a reputation of being one of the hottest young strikers around – a reputation well-earned after the starlet scored 57 goals in 71 appearances for the German outfits youth academy. To add to this, Yesil has scored 31 goals in 33 international youth appearances for Germany.
His Liverpool career is yet to take off though but the 19 year old does have two senior appearances for the club – both at cup level. He would surely have featured on a more regular basis but was cruelly shot down by serious injury last season while on international duty. The wonder kid is back to full fitness now though and with Sturridge missing it could be the time to give him his shot.
Yesil is a natural-born striker with a conversion rate well beyond his years and his undeniable talent has seen him being touted as the next Gerd Müller. With incredible awareness and confidence, his head is in the right place too and this, coupled with his sheer ability, means he could become one of the most prolific strikers around.
However, with Victor Moses, Raheem Sterling, Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto all fighting it out for a spot in Liverpool’s attack, the chances of Yesil making into the squad are very slim indeed. But, despite it being highly unlikely, I feel that with the ‘easy’ fixtures we having coming up it would be the perfect timing for Brendan Rodgers to throw the young hitman in and watch how announces himself on the big stage.
By making a straight swap between him and Sturridge, Rodgers would be able to keep a winning formation and at the same time introduce Yesil into an otherwise full strength team against lesser opposition. This would both lower the pressure on him and allow him to play with confidence in his natural position. If ever there was a time for Rodgers to say yes to Yesil, it would be now.