Klopp believes the children are the future.

Where are they now? The first 10 Liverpool academy kids handed debuts by Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp is not afraid to play the kids. His squads and first XIs are regularly littered with academy graduates and youth players, many of whom have gone on to forge successful careers in the game, at Liverpool or elsewhere.

These days, you’ll find Jarrell Quansah, Connor Bradley, Ben Doak and Curtis Jones are gracing Liverpool’s first team.

We’re taking a look at the first ten academy graduates handed a first-team debut by the big German, and what they’re up to in 2024.

Connor Randall

Randall made his debut in a League Cup match with Bournemouth in 2015. He went on to make only seven more appearances for The Reds, but he’ll never forget that feeling. In his own words:

“I remember scrambling around, trying to get as many tickets as I could for my family and friends. Standing in the tunnel, it felt surreal, especially when You’ll Never Walk Alone started playing. It’s a moment I will always remember.”

That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? The right-back plays for Ross County, these days, having landed in Scotland via a season in Bulgaria, because why not?

Klopp has used over 100 players at Liverpool.

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Ryan Kent

Kent made his debut against Exeter City in the FA Cup in January 2016, but that proved to be his only first-team appearance for Liverpool.

After loan spells at Barnsley, Freiburg, Bristol City and Rangers, he joined the latter on a permanent deal in 2019, where he won the Scottish Premiership and Scottish Cup.

The English winger has now hopped over to Turkey to play for Fenerbahce in the Super Lig.

Sheyi Ojo

Ojo also made his senior debut against Exeter and scored his first goal for Liverpool against the same opponents in the replay victory.

The winger made another nine first-team appearances in 2015-16 the last of them coming in 2017. Ojo is currently on the eighth loan spell of his career, with Belgian side Kortrijk, having joined Cardiff City on a permanent in 2022. Somebody find this man a home.

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Joe Maguire

Maguire’s Liverpool career amounted to 13 minutes in a cameo appearance against Exeter before the defender was sold to Fleetwood Town in January 2017.

After leaving Tranmere Rovers in 2023, the left-back focused on being a painter/pilot. Not sure how that works. Perhaps he’s painting the sky — that’s a lovely thought. 

Anyway, he’s not painting the sky anymore, he came out of retirement to play for Bury in the North West Counties Premier Division.

Sergi Canos

Canos made only one first-team appearance, against West Brom in May 2016, and he left Liverpool a few weeks later.

“They didn’t offer me the opportunity to try and train and play for the first team,” Canos told The Guardian in 2018. “I made my debut, but it wasn’t a good thing, I don’t think. It was a good thing [for Liverpool] because then they could sell me for £2.5million to Norwich.”

Damn. Get ’em, Sergi! He’s at Valencia now, presumably filled with hatred for his former employers and hellbent on revenge (we don’t know that — pure speculation).

Ovie Ejaria

Ejaria joined Liverpool’s academy from Arsenal in 2014 and made his debut against Derby County in the EFL Cup in September 2016.

The midfielder made a further seven appearances in all competitions during the 2016-17 season, and that was all she wrote. Three loan spells culminated in a permanent move to Reading, where he played out three years of his four-year contract, but left by mutual consent last year.

Ejaria is reported to have been on trial with Plymouth Argyle at some point last year, but then the trail goes cold.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Alexander-Arnold made his senior debut in an EFL Cup match against Tottenham in October 2016 and hasn’t looked back since.

He developed into one of the world’s leading right-backs, but it’s going to be interesting to see what happens with TAA when Arne Slot replaces Jurgen Klopp in the Liverpool driving seat.

Conor Bradley broke through emphatically, this season, and there’s every chance Slot will choose to play Trent a little further up the pitch, or perhaps in midfield.

If not, you’d think two right-backs of such quality can’t co-exist in the same team without being frustrated by playing time. We shall see…

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates

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Ben Woodburn

Woodburn made his senior debut at just 17 years of age, replacing Georginio Wijnaldum in the final stages of Liverpool’s 2-0 win against Sunderland in November 2016.

The forward then became their youngest ever goalscorer after coming off the bench to score against Leeds United in the EFL Cup just three days later.

The Welshman is at Preston North End, now, fighting to get out of The Championship.

Harry Wilson

Wilson played 25 minutes in an FA Cup win over Plymouth in 2017, replacing Philippe Coutinho, but never quite made it to appearance number two.

After loan spells at Hull City, Derby County and Bournemouth, Cardiff, and Wolves, the Wales international joined the latter on a permanent deal in 2022.

Curtis Jones

Jones made his first-team debut in an FA Cup third-round defeat to Wolves in January 2019. The midfielder made 12 appearances in all competitions in 2019-20 and won the FA Cup Goal of the Season for his stunning strike against Everton.

The Englishman is now a first team regular for The Reds and there are many who think he should be on the plane to Germany in the summer.