The five Liverpool loan stars who are making progress this season

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Loans aren’t as important to clubs as they used to be, with many teams preferring to use the Premier League 2 to blood youngsters. 

Yet, every now and then, a youngster benefits from regular first-team football to come back to Liverpool as a more well-rounded player. Some even challenge for a first-team place, as in the case of Harvey Elliott following a successful spell at Blackburn a couple of years ago. 

But who could follow in the teenager’s footsteps this year? Here are five loanees who are making progress outside of Anfield. 

Sepp Van Den Berg 

Van Den Berg shone in the Championship after a successful 18-month stint at Preston, which led to Bundesliga side Schalke 4 swoop in for a season-long loan deal in the summer. 

Life in the Bundesliga has been tougher for the 20-year-old who tore his ankle ligaments in a home defeat to Augsburg in October. It was a huge pity for the young Dutch Under 21 international who had put in a solid handful of performances as he started the season as first choice alongside Japanese veteran Maya Yoshida. 

Schalke are hopeful to get Van Den Berg back in early 2023 as they look to shore up their back line ahead of what could turn into a relegation battle. Should the youngster keep up his form of the past two years, then he could prove to be a useful weapon. 

Rhys Williams 

After a frustrating season at Swansea, young Rhys Williams joined Blackpool in July with a view of establishing a permanent place in the first team. The good news is that he’s done that, forming partnerships with James Husband and Marvin Ekpiteta.  

The bad news is that the team has struggled. Blackpool may have once been known as the British Vegas, but its betting venues are being replaced by the popularity of online casinos and their lists of ‘best no deposit bonuses UK’ to attract gamblers instead. Their football team are mirroring this decline, languishing near the foot of the Championship.  

Williams has put in a number of steady performances, though, with manager Michael Appleton singing his praises back in August. If he keeps it up, then he may just be the difference between the Seasiders staying up or heading to the third tier. 

Tyler Morton (Blackburn Rovers) 

Blackburn’s title charge may have fallen away last season, but they’ve returned with renewed vigour in 2022-23. Tyler Morton has been central to this, showing his versatility in both attacking and defensive midfield. 

Morton didn’t miss a minute in Rovers’ 10 league games between mid-October and mid-December and picked up his first assist for the club in a 2-1 win over Birmingham City. Manager Jon Dahl Tomasson has hailed Morton as a vital cog in his team, whose possession-based approach suits the youngster’s passing game. 

Should Rovers keep up their momentum, then a title charge would be hugely beneficial for a youngster who wants to win many trophies at his beloved Liverpool. 

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Connor Bradley (Bolton Wanderers) 

Conor Bradley’s impact on Bolton has been so strong that Whites’ manager Ian Evatt had to stress to the local media that the lad is likely to stay at The Reebok for the rest of the season. The 19-year-old has attracted attention from Preston and even Premier League outfit Wolves as he’s taken League One by storm. 

Able to play both on the right wing or at the right back, Bradley brings an attacking flair to go along with his defensive grit. This has been exemplified by four league goals and seven bookings so far this campaign. 

Evatt has been impressed with Bradley’s drive, which he sees as a key part of the team as they battle for promotion. He’s no doubt been helped by the presence of fellow Anfield youngster Owen Beck, who has failed to make a similar impact, but still has time to make his mark.  

Leighton Clarkson (Aberdeen) 

Unlike Tyler Morton, Clarkson found it tough to get his season going at Blackburn last season, but that was under a different manager in Tony Mowbray. 

Instead, the youngster’s headed to the SPL where he’s settled into Aberdeen’s midfield and put in several sterling displays. His highlight, although his team still lost, was a goal against Rangers where he fired in a spectacular volley for the opener.  

It’s touches of classes like this that The Dons are looking for as they look to climb the SPL table, and it will also please Clarkson’s parent club as they look on from afar. 

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