An Xl of Liverpool academy graduates still playing elsewhere: Suso, Sterling…

Quick Reads

Liverpool have always given young players a chance to prove themselves in the first team, producing some world-class talents along the way.

The likes of Steven Gerrard and Trent Alexander-Arnold have come through the ranks at Anfield, but some players have had to forge their careers elsewhere.

We’ve compiled an XI of the best Liverpool academy graduates still playing elsewhere today, arranged in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Admittedly, some have been more successful than others.

Peter Gulacsi

Gulasci was signed from Hungarian side MTK Budapest in 2007 as a teenager but never made a first-team appearance for the club, spending his time on Merseyside in the youth and reserve teams as well as loan spells at Hereford United, Tranmere Rovers and Hull City.

The goalkeeper was picked up by Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg in 2013 and has since moved to their sister club RB Leipzig.

He has established himself as one of the most reliable shot-stoppers in the Bundesliga while helping Leipzig challenge for the title this season.

Martin Kelly

Kelly was tipped for a bright future at Liverpool and became a regular in the first team, making 62 appearances for the club.

But the defender eventually fell behind Jon Flanagan in the pecking order at Anfield and was sold to Crystal Palace for around £2million in 2014.

He has gone on to make nearly 150 appearances for the Eagles and is currently playing under his former Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson.

Conor Coady

The boyhood Liverpool fan joined their academy at the age of 12 but only made two first-team appearances for the club.

With his opportunities limited, Coady decided to move on and dropped down a division to sign for Huddersfield Town in 2014 before going to Wolves a year later.

Since leaving Merseyside, he has grown into a top defender and his impressive performances in the Premier League have prompted calls in some quarters for a place in the England squad.

Daniel Ayala

Ayala joined Liverpool from Sevilla in 2007, but the defender failed to establish himself in the first team, making just five appearances for the club.

After a couple of loan spells at Hull and Derby, he joined Norwich City in 2011 and has spent the last six years at Middlesbrough.

Jack Robinson

Robinson became Liverpool’s youngest ever Premier League player, making his first-team debut against Hull in 2010 at the age of 16 years and 250 days.

But he played just 10 more games for the Reds over the next three seasons and decided to sign for QPR in 2014.

“I had a year left at Liverpool and I had a meeting with Brendan Rodgers,” Robinson told us in 2018. “We agreed that I wasn’t going to get game time and it was probably the right time for me to move on.

“I had been out on loan the two seasons before and I loved playing every week. It was hard, but an easy decision in terms of moving on with my football career.”

After a spell at Nottingham Forest, Robinson has another chance in the Premier League after making a January switch to Sheffield United.

READ: Jack Robinson on leaving Liverpool, Suarez, Sterling and life at QPR

Mikel San Jose

Liverpool signed San Jose from Athletic Bilbao as an 18-year-old in 2007, and the Spaniard was tipped to be the successor to Xabi Alonso while he developed away from the first team.

However, the Basque midfielder failed to make a senior appearance during his two years on Merseyside and decided to return to Bilbao in 2009.

San Jose has established himself as a mainstay for the La Liga side over the last 10 years, racking up close to 400 appearances for the club.

Jay Spearing

Spearing was captain of the Liverpool’s under-18s side that won the FA Youth Cup in 2007 before making 55 appearances for the senior side.

The midfielder sealed a permanent move to Bolton in 2013 and is now being managed by former Liverpool under-23 boss Neil Critchley at Blackpool.

“I don’t have one regret,” Spearing told The Times of his time at Liverpool. “I played in every competition for the club and I did everything I had ever dreamed of doing. I will always look back and think, ‘What a time that was.’”

Jordan Ibe

Liverpool hoped that Ibe would follow in Raheem Sterling’s footsteps, but he failed to nail down a regular role at Anfield and joined Bournemouth for £15million in 2016.

The winger has been unable to live up to his potential so far, scoring five goals in 92 appearances for the Cherries.

Suso 

The Spaniard signed for Liverpool from Cadiz as a 15-year-old and was given his senior debut by Brendan Rodgers in 2012.

Suso eventually found his path into the first team blocked by Philippe Coutinho and completed a permanent move to AC Milan in 2015 after a loan spell at Almeria.

“In a sense I became a man before I became a footballer. It was very hard with the lifestyle and language,” Suso told The Guardian.

“But to this day I remember everything. I did not play that much but I got to know Steven Gerrard and be a team-mate of players such as Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Jamie Carragher. I’ll never forget my experience at Liverpool.

“Premier League football is different, I would call it special: I would like to play for Liverpool again some day. I grew up there and it is a big club.”

The midfielder finally got regular game time in Italy before joining Sevilla on a 18-month loan deal earlier this year.

Raheem Sterling

Sterling was a fan-favourite at Anfield and formed part of a deadly attacking trio alongside Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge in 2013-14.

But he refused to sign a new contract and made an acrimonious exit to Manchester City in 2015 while the Reds pocketed £50million.

The winger has developed into one of the best players in the world under Pep Guardiola, winning two Premier League titles, three League Cups and an FA Cup at City.

Jerome Sinclair

Sinclair became Liverpool’s youngest ever player after coming off the bench in a League Cup tie against West Brom in 2012 at the age of 16 years and 6 days.

He made four further appearances for the club before joining Watford in 2016, but he has been on the fringes at Vicarage Road.

The striker is currently on loan with Dutch outfit VVV Venlo, scoring three goals in 28 appearances this season.


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