Vitor Matos, the man Pep Lijnders calls “the connector”, is not one for the spotlight, though is no less invaluable as part of Liverpool’s incredibly talented backroom setup.
The Elite Development coach, who some of you will no doubt have heard of, is mainly responsible for acting as a link between first-XI hopefuls who train with Jurgen Klopp’s first-team but who also fill in for for the U23s.
“He makes the boys feel comfortable about talking about anything that’s on their mind,” one parent of a Liverpool youth prospect told The Athletic. “He’s like a middle man, because you don’t want to be bothering Jurgen with any questions you’ve got. On the training field, Vitor is great at picking out particular things they need to work on.”
“Off the pitch, when the boys are away from the club, he’s always calling to check that everything is going OK,” the unnamed source added.
The former Porto coach came highly recommended by Lijnders, with the Dutchman making the rather bold claim that Matos was Liverpool’s “signing of the season” last term.
With all the chances Klopp loves to give to the Reds’ young stars, one could imagine that the Portuguese’s hands are always rather full.
We’re delighted to see such roles being filled around the club, which ultimately suits our German’s propensity for delegating and putting his faith in his staff’s perspectives.
It’s a habit that has arguably paid off for the 53-year-old, not just in terms of trophy successes, but also in relation to the host of up-and-coming talent that are busily knocking on the first-team’s door.
Curtis Jones, Neco Williams and Caoimhin Kelleher are just the start, and we’ve Matos to thank in part for those that follow.