Jurgen Klopp singled out one of Liverpool’s young players for praise after the 4-0 win over Leicester on Sunday, describing him as ‘a joy to watch’.
As has been the trend during pre-season, the manager made wholesale changes at half-time to get a good look at as many players as possible, with James McConnell among those introduced at the interval in Singapore as he took up an unfamiliar defensive midfield role.
The 18-year-old featured in each of the Reds’ three July friendlies, and the manager was delighted with his impact after coming on against the Foxes.
As per The Athletic, Klopp said after yesterday’s win: “It was clear that although we scored three goals in the first half, Cody, Dom Luis, Ben and Harvey really showed up in the second half.
“And the boy James on the No 6 is just a joy to watch. He had never played the position before but he throws his heart on to the pitch. I am really happy the high press looked better in the second half.”
His 45-minute display against Leicester was very much worthy of the praise bestowed upon him by Klopp. As per Sofascore, he won both of his duels, made one tackle and recorded one shot on Sunday.
Most impressively of all, he ended the evening with a 100% passing accuracy, picking out a teammate with all 31 passes that he attempted – a hugely promising sign as he works towards a genuine breakthrough at Anfield.
Having never played competitively at senior level (Transfermarkt), McConnell probably won’t get too many minutes for Liverpool during the upcoming campaign.
However, the same could’ve been said for fellow 18-year-old Stefan Bajcetic this time last year (Transfermarkt), so it’s not wholly unthinkable that the Morpeth lad could get a few chances in the Reds’ first team over the next few months.
Having wowed Klopp yesterday, he’s certainly going the right way about trying to emulate his Spanish teammate on Merseyside.