‘Keep him!’ – Neil Jones pleads for Liverpool to retain prodigy they were ‘open’ to loaning out

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Neil Jones has urged Liverpool to keep hold of one young player they were apparently ‘open’ to loaning out for the upcoming campaign.

Ben Doak has been one of the Reds’ standout players in pre-season, tormenting opponents with his searing pace and deft dribbling ability.

The journalist was asked about the 17-year-old for his latest Empire of the Kop Substack column and his verdict on the Scottish teenager was emphatic.

Jones said: “Keep him, keep him, keep him! I know there will be a lot of clubs hoping to take Ben Doak on loan, but if I was Liverpool I’d resist them. This kid is 17, but plays without fear and with a mindset that he can make an impact on any game.

“In a long, arduous season, having someone like him on the bench, even for 10 minutes, could be important. Put it this way, if Liverpool are a goal down at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, I’d have no qualms about throwing him on to run at Ben Chilwell.

“I believe Liverpool were open to the prospect of loaning Doak this season, but I’d be amazed if his performances in pre-season – and just as importantly his training levels – haven’t forced a re-think. For me, he’s part of the squad.”

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We’re very much in agreement with Jones on this one – Doak is good enough to make a valuable contribution to Liverpool’s first team in 2023/24.

He’s impressed throughout pre-season, with his performances off the bench against Bayern Munich and Darmstadt over the past week treating fans to hugely exciting cameos and leaving opposition defenders helpless to stop him.

With Mo Salah nailing down the right-sided attacking role in Jurgen Klopp’s side, the Scottish teenager will probably be left relying on substitute appearances for most of the campaign, but the Europa League and domestic cups could offer scope for rotation.

Squad depth will be vital this season considering the regularity of a Thursday-Sunday schedule, and Liverpool have already loaned out a plethora of youngsters this season, so it makes plenty of sense to retain Doak, who should get a decent window of opportunity to feature for the first team.

One thing is for sure – the 17-year-old can’t have done anything more over the last month to prove his worth and show the manager that he’s ready to make his mark at Anfield.

#Ep83 of The Empire of the Kop Podcast: EOTK Insider with Neil Jones

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