The next Anfield starboy?

Liverpool’s latest young baller is taking the reigns of the revolution one trick at a time

Liverpool are clinging onto every last second of the Jurgen Klopp era before it ends and the tears flow, but the future that awaits them after the German’s departure is a bright one, involving one particularly outrageous young baller.

Saying goodbye to someone you love is always difficult and the Reds have been going through a long, drawn out and very public with the man who finally restored the feeling at Anfield.

But, as difficult as it is, change is a good thing. Change is an extremely good thing when you boast an academy as stacked as Liverpool’s is right now, with budding superstars desperate to take the bull by the horns in a new era under fresh leadership.

We’re not pinning all of the club’s hopes on a teenager here, but what we are doing is elevating a talent who deserves his flowers and – more importantly – his chance in the limelight in the imminent post-Klopp era, as Liverpool look to rebuild their identity and go again as juggernauts in the future.

It’s time for a new era, and that new era belongs to Trent Kone-Doherty, Liverpool’s 17-year-old Irish winger whose talent and potential is enough to make even the Big Show look miniscule.

Born in 2006, Kone-Doherty was barely walking and talking as Steven Gerrard and Fernando Alonso began running riot for the Reds, white sock-taped up to the gills and fuelled on pure Barclays. But that hasn’t stopped him from blossoming into a forward with all the attributes and potential to restore such a blockbuster feeling in that iconic crimson shirt.

Kone-Doherty left his country of birth to sign for Liverpool at the age of 16, having already sat on the bench in the League of Ireland for Derry City as a teenager.

Since moving to Merseyside, it’s only been positive for the explosive winger, capped six times already for Northern Ireland’s under-19s.

Seriously, there aren’t superlatives that truly do the kid justice. Not until you’ve seen with your own eyes what he’s capable of.

He possesses wicked balance and a frightening eye for goal, while the only thing quicker than his feet might be his brain – and that’s so quick that even Max Verstappen has been caught checking his rear-view mirrors.

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What an absolute gem this kid looks to be.

The dazzling flair and sound technical work is what catches the eye, but what really makes the 17-year-old stand out is how he reads the game in the attacking third, allowing him to be an asset on the flank or down the middle.

A shrewd, poacher’s finish against Manchester United’s under-21s at Old Trafford was the recent icing on the cake and the perfect showcase of his versatility, proving he can get ugly when it’s time to get down to business against bitter rivals.

It’s exceptionally bittersweet that Kone-Doherty is just coming into his own and knocking on the door of the seniors as Klopp draws the curtain on his legendary spell at the helm.

But in a period of change, football’s one constant is a young baller stepping up and taking the reigns for revolution. Kone-Doherty can be the next example of that.

He signed his first professional contract with Liverpool in October 2023 and has put together an excellent season on the numbers front, too, with eight goals and two assists from nine games in the under-18 Premier League and 12 appearances for the under-21s in Premier League 2.

Whether or not we get a glimpse of his talent before the 2023-24 season ends, we predict a big future for the Irish winger ready to rip it up for the Reds next season.

By Mitch Wilks