Six Liverpool academy stars set for a big breakthrough in 2022

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Liverpool academy striker Max Woltman celebrating, Kirkby, November 24, 2021.

From Curtis Jones to Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool have seen a number of youngsters establish themselves in the first-team over recent seasons – and that trend looks set to continue in 2022.

With Jurgen Klopp taking a laid-back approach to the domestic cups and an ageing first-team squad that’ll soon be in need of regeneration, a number of youngsters in the Liverpool academy will fancy their chances of making an impact for the senior side.

We’ve taken a look at six of them who can begin to make a name for themselves in 2022.

Mateusz Musialowski

The most-hyped Kirkby prospect yet to make their senior debut, Musialowski has been dubbed Liverpool’s ‘Polish Messi’ and has even scored a few goals like the Argentinian in youth competitions.

The left-winger, 18, has been steadily developing since arriving on Merseyside after his transfer from SMS Lodz in August 2020.

Having seamlessly made the step up from the Under-18s to the Under-23s this season, Musialowski has caught the eye with three goals in nine appearances in the Premier League 2 and a hat-trick in the young Reds’ 4-0 FA Youth Cup victory over Fleetwood Town’s Under-18s.

You’d imagine that he’ll make his senior debut at some point in 2022, whether for Jurgen Klopp’s side or out on loan.

Bobby Clark

Poached from Newcastle last summer, Clark had previously been given the moniker of the ‘new Gazza’ by the excitable Tyneside press.

“Bobby was Newcastle’s most promising youngster,” wrote the Evening Chronicle’s Lee Ryder after the move to Anfield was confirmed.

“He is a really exciting player with bags of skill and talent. He could have lit up the stage at St James’ Park but now he has gone to Liverpool and that is a real kick in the teeth.

“You have always go to be very careful with comparisons but for me – and I don’t talk about this lightly – but at the same sort of age, you had a young Paul Gascoigne at Newcastle.”

He was invited to train with the first team in November and scored a fine free-kick for Liverpool U18s in their defeat to Blackburn a few days later.

Clark has scored four times in nine U18 appearances this season and has made his Premier League 2 bow for the Reds. At the current rate of progress, a League Cup or FA Cup appearance can’t be too far away.

Max Woltman

Woltman received effusive praise from Liverpool icon Jamie Carragher on Twitter following his performance in the FA Cup victory over Shrewsbury in January 2022.

Citing Roberto Firmino and Harry Kane as influences, the young striker made his Champions League bow in the San Siro earlier this season and looks set to be included in Klopp’s first-team plans over the coming months.

“I like playing No.9 as I feel it gives you a bit of freedom to run in behind and get the ball to feet,” Woltman has said previously. “That’s where you get all the chances too.”

He scored 13 goals for the U18s last season and helped Liverpool reach the final of the FA Youth Cup. Such is the esteem he is held by coaches at Liverpool, there’s every chance of Woltman scoring regularly for the first-team if given a run of games.

James Balagizi

Hopes are high at Liverpool for Balagizi, who signed his first professional contract at Anfield in September 2020.

The youngster is knocking on the door of Klopp’s first-team squad after a number of impressive performances for the club’s youth teams.

An attacking midfielder of some promise, Balagizi made the bench for the match against Norwich in September and Liverpool fans will be eager for another glimpse of him over the coming year.

Kaide Gordon

Gordon is the closest of the lot to Jurgen Klopp’s first team, having already made a couple of senior appearances and scored an exceptionally well-taken effort in Liverpool’s 4-1 FA Cup victory over Shrewsbury Town.

It wasn’t a bad way to kick things off in 2022 for the 17-year-old winger, and it’s starting to look obvious why Wayne Rooney was so gutted to lose him at Derby. Klopp already loves him too.

“I will not say that for the rest of career he’ll always score in these situations, but I’m pretty sure [he will] more often than not!” the Liverpool manager said after his goal against Shrewsbury.

“Because that’s just him, when a cross comes from the left side, you will find him in the box. He’s good there as well – he has a nose for that, that’s really helpful.

“I know he’s the second-youngest goalscorer for Liverpool, which is absolutely exceptional, but there’s a way to go.

“No problem, Kaide has time, we will give him time, he will have his minutes here and there, and if he’s working as hard as he has so far…”

READ: Liverpool’s kids are alright – Kaide Gordon’s goal was made in Kirkby

Layton Stewart

The 19-year-old Stewart is another player that Liverpool fans anticipate will make their breakthrough sooner rather than later.

The striker notched 17 goals for various Reds youth levels last season before his campaign was ended by injury.

He signed a long-term deal in May 2021 and, with the likes of Tyler Morton and Conor Bradley already making the step up, Stewart’s own first-team chance may not be too far away. 

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