5 Liverpool youngsters hoping to impress Jurgen Klopp in pre-season
While pre-season is mainly about improving fitness levels for Liverpool, it also offers the club’s rising stars a chance to shine.
Liverpool’s academy has produced some sensational young players in recent years and the 2022 tour could unearth the next big thing.
We’ve taken a look at five youngsters that will be hoping to catch Klopp’s eye.
Son of former Serbia international Srdan Bajcetic, Stefan initially came through Celta Vigo’s academy and joined Liverpool in a £224,000 deal in December 2020 after rejecting Manchester United’s interest.
He initially played for the Under-16s but quickly impressed the coaches and made his Under-23s debut just three days after his 17th birthday in October 2021.
The Spain Under-18 international predominantly plays as a centre-back but has also showcased his versatility by playing as a defensive midfielder, where he sprays passes around and dictates play from deep.
“He is doing really well,” Liverpool Under-19s manager Marc Bridge-Wilkinson said after a 4-0 win over Porto in the UEFA Youth League last season.
“He is playing a little bit different in midfield at the minute but he is good enough to play there. He is good enough to play the game in and out of possession in that position as well as at centre-back.”
His versatility will certainly help boost his first-team chances as Liverpool prepare to battle on four fronts once again in 2022-23.
He he can pass vertically into feet or switch the play. He’s a fantastic passer.
Also to disrupt the opposition shape, Bajcetic is confident enough to carry the ball deep into opposition territory, often successfully.
Here he is doing both: pic.twitter.com/iZGIq4opIi
— Lewis Bower (@LewisBower2021) July 14, 2022
Liverpool are well stocked in the left-back department with Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas both impressing in 2021-22.
But Chambers will still be looking for first-team opportunities after playing regularly for Liverpool’s Under-18s last season before being part of the England squad that won the European Under-19 Championships.
The left-back, who can also play at centre-back, is yet to make his competitive debut for the Reds but started against Manchester United in Liverpool’s first pre-season friendly.
“It drives you for more,” he told Liverpool’s website after the United game. “I think once you do get your first taste of playing in front of a lot of fans, you just want to play in front of them all the time. So, it’s something to strive towards.
“It’s something new with all the fans and putting yourself up against the best is what I wanted. I think it was a really good test for me and I think I took a lot out of the game.
“That’s one of my goals – to try to be in and around the first team as much as I can. And when I do get opportunities, I need to take them as best as I can.”
While Liverpool have a ridiculously strong squad, some fans have been left frustrated by their reluctance to upgrade the midfield this summer.
The Reds reportedly want to sign Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham next summer and that could present a first-team opportunity to young midfielders like Frauendorf.
He arrived from Hoffenheim in August 2020 and has already displayed his eye for goal, scoring 15 goals for Liverpool’s youth teams over the last two seasons.
The Germany Under-18 international initially skipped the Under-23s and made his senior debut in the closing stages of Liverpool’s FA Cup third-round win against Shrewsbury in January 2022.
He then made his Under-23s debut the following day and is now looking to add to his solitary first-team appearance in 2022-23.
A boyhood Liverpool fan, Morton joined their academy at the age of seven and worked his way through the ranks before making his first-team debut in the EFL Cup in September 2021.
The midfielder made another eight appearances during his breakthrough season and impressed in Champions League group stage wins over Porto and AC Milan.
“It was a big pleasure to watch the boy playing,” Klopp said after the 2-1 win at San Siro. “The football knowledge, the football brain he showed tonight was absolutely exceptional.
“If you are technically on that level – and he obviously is – and you then have such good orientation, then sometimes we have enough time to do good stuff. That is what he did tonight. On top of that, he defended incredibly well, together with the other boys.”
While he acted as a back-up to Fabinho in the deep-lying midfield role last season, Morton has been impressing as a box-to-box midfielder in pre-season training.
A host of clubs are reportedly pursuing a loan move for the 19-year-old but Klopp looks set to keep him around the first-team set-up at Anfield.
How about that for a ball?! 👏
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 28, 2021
Son of former Fulham, Sunderland and Newcastle midfielder Lee Clark, Bobby made his Newcastle Under-18s debut aged just 14 but rejected their scholarship offer last summer.
He was linked with Bayern Munich, Tottenham, Manchester United and Manchester City but joined Liverpool after a face-to-face chat with Klopp and cost the Reds an initial £750,000.
The attacking midfielder, who can also play on the wing, showed why he’s so highly rated by registering 12 goals and five assists in 22 Under-18 Premier League appearances in 2021-22.
According to The Athletic, he’s managed to impress both Klopp and Pep Lijnders during first-team training and has received coaching sessions from former Liverpool forwards Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman.
The 17-year-old has only made one cameo appearance for the Under-23s but could benefit from Klopp’s recent switch to the 4-2-3-1 formation.
“He is more of an offensive midfielder. In a 4-2-3-1 system, he would be the midfield player closer to the striker in the No.10 role,” his father told The Athletic back in 2020.
“He is very athletic, has a good change of pace, and he is tall for his age. He has good leadership skills. We have had good feedback from the coaches on how he captains both on and off the field.”