Liverpool’s requirement for a left-back to deputise when Andy Robertson is either injured or in need of a rest has been well documented this summer.
With Alberto Moreno having left the club on a free transfer, despite being offered a new deal to stay put, there is a vacant spot in the Reds’ first-team squad.
Southampton’s Matt Targett was linked last week, but now looks close to a £17 million switch to Aston Villa. Fulham starlet Ryan Sessegnon would fit the bill but would probably cost upwards of £35 million.
Junior Firpo of Villarreal would cost around £45 million, while former target Lloyd Kelly chose to move to Bournemouth where he would get regular game time.
With every option so far problematic, could the solution lie in the Reds’ Academy? Pre-season every year, especially early on, provides a chance for youngsters to shine, and with a glaring hole to fill before August, Adam Lewis and Yasser Larouci will be hoping to impress.
Ex-Red Stephen Warnock, speaking to LiverpoolFC.com, said of the pair: “What Adam has to do is hit the ground running, make the most of pre-season and you have to try and press upon to the manager, so he has a doubt in his mind to think, ‘Do I actually need to go and buy another left-back?’.
“Can the likes of Adam and Yasser put a seed in the manager’s mind of positivity towards the way they play? Adam needs to look at it and think, ‘What is my best opportunity of forcing my way into the manager’s plans?,’ and I think that is at left-back.”
Larouci is slightly behind Lewis in his development and is probably not ready for a first-team role just yet – he was only a regular for Barry Lewtas’ U18s last season, and as much as he impressed, that would be a huge step up.
Lewis, though, impressed at U23 level under Neil Critchley. There is still some developing for him to do and Jurgen Klopp is unsure whether he is ready for first-team action, even as back-up, but pre-season will give Lewis a chance to prove himself.
With the asking price of reported targets higher than the Reds would ideally splash out, and many players looking at the situation wondering how much time they will actually get on the pitch with such a top-class first choice, the ideal solution could well lie in the Academy.
It is now down to both Lewis and Larouci to convince Jurgen Klopp he has an alternative to dipping into the transfer market.