Liverpool are preparing for a new era and with that comes a lot of unsettling changes, but one constant they can lean on in that time is their stellar academy setup.
The Reds’ academy has quietly been one of the most efficient in world football in recent times when it comes to producing talents ready for senior football at a variety of levels.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has gone from a promising young full-back to a complete footballing anomaly with a right foot that NASA would struggle to explain, Curtis Jones is blossoming into a box-to-box beast at the highest level and now Conor Bradley has emerged to push Trent into midfield.
No matter what happens between now and the end of the season when Jurgen Klopp departs Anfield, the one thing that can’t be denied is that his successor is picking up a brilliantly built squad which is championing the best of its homegrown foundations.
That doesn’t quite tell the entire story, though.
There remains a bit of a dilemma in attack, with Mohamed Salah’s cycle coming to an end and Darwin Nunez still struggling to find a vein of consistent, world class form.
It gives Liverpool a potentially expensive headache in attack, especially if Salah leaves, but it doesn’t have to be as costly as it sounds.
Not when the academy has done it again and produced a hometown hero with a frightening firing rate and a goal catalogue that could put life on Mars.
Jayden Danns hasn’t had much of a taste of senior football yet, but at 18, already has legacy and – crucially – a story to finish.
The son of Neil Danns, a midfielder with well over 500 senior appearances who enjoyed a career throughout England’s various professional divisions, and an international with Guyana, Jayden was picked up by Liverpool at just eight years old.
His father also played for Liverpool at youth level, but the story ended for him at 16. Not Jayden, though. Now 18, the versatile forward has found a home up at the top of the pitch and is forcing his name into headlines due to a sickening addiction to rifling in goals.
Not just any goals, either. Absolute worldies. Freakishly often.
Don’t just take our word for it, though. The teenager’s brace against Arsenal in the FA Youth Cup speaks for itself.
Both of Jayden Danns goals VS Arsenal in the FA Youth Cup nominated for #LFC goal of the month.
Academy goals also nominated:
Kieran Morrison vs Manchester United
Cody Pennington vs Stoke City pic.twitter.com/MiUboXtuM8
— Lewis Bower (@LewisBower2021) February 6, 2024
Liverpool’s second-generation star is also an England under-18 international and has managed 19 goals from his last 17 games at the time of writing, and watching him feels like living proof that the professional footballer gene is exactly that – something you’re born with.
His eye for a goal and instincts around the opposition penalty area are second nature. Combine that with a glorious pair of feet and a desire to strike the ball with enough venom to scare off a cobra and you’re looking at Danns.
With Salah’s future up in the air and Nunez still as chaotic as ever, now is the perfect time for Liverpool to integrate another constant from their illustrious academy to propel the team forward.
Danns is already showing a fearlessness that both frightens and impresses you in equal proportions alongside an extremely high ceiling ability-wise.
Having seen how rising ballers have taken the bull by the horns in recent months, giving the 18-year-old a chance to stake his claim in Klopp’s final months seems fitting.
He could end up being the perfect leaving present to the fans from the German.
By Mitch Wilks