The last 13 teenagers signed by Liverpool – and how they have fared
Liverpool have a proud reputation for bringing young players through the academy, as well as developing some of those they pluck from other clubs.
While the club have the big-money signings of the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson have helped Liverpool finally return to their perch, the Reds have also taken a chance on a number of younger prospects in recent years.
We’ve taken a look back at the last 13 teenagers signed by Liverpool to see how they fared at Anfield.
Marcelo Pitaluga – £700k
The most recent teenager to join Liverpool, the 17-year-old Brazilian goalkeeper arrived on Merseyside in September having been assessed by both Reds No.1 Alisson Becker as well as Alisson’s older brother Muriel, who played alongside Pitaluga at Fluminense.
Pitaluga will likely have to bide his time at Anfield. In the meantime, we’ve brought you the lowdown on him here.
Sepp van den Berg – £1.3m
Liverpool signed Van den Berg from Dutch outfit Zwolle in the summer of 2019 for a fee that could rise to £4.4million, with the defender having already made 15 Eredivisie appearances at the age of 17.
Standing at 6ft 2in, Van den Berg made his debut during a League Cup victory over MK Dons. He subsequently appeared in the madcap 5-5 draw with Arsenal and an FA Cup replay victory over Shrewsbury.
Capable of playing both centre-back and right-back, Van den Berg is attracting attention from a host of Football League clubs ahead of a potential loan deal to help the 18-year-old gain more first-team experience.
Harvey Elliott – Tribunal
Another teenager to already have senior top-flight experience by the time he joined Liverpool, Elliott made his Fulham debut in the League Cup aged 15 and became the youngest ever Premier League player at the age of 16.
The winger opted for Liverpool amid interest from a host of Europe’s major clubs and now holds the record as the youngest player to ever start a competitive game for the Reds.
Tony Gallacher – £250k
Gallacher’s performances for Falkirk ensured he was touted as one of the hottest Scottish prospects of 2017. Soon after, reports emerged that clubs such as Manchester United, Stoke and Rangers were scouting the young left-back.
However, Liverpool won the race for his signature in January 2018. Now 21, Gallacher has made one first-team appearance, the 5-0 League Cup defeat to Aston Villa in 2019 and has been loaned out to Toronto FC until New Year 2021.
Perhaps being another Scottish left-back at Liverpool is currently both a blessing and a curse.
Dominic Solanke – Tribunal
As part of the England team that won the Under-20 World Cup in 2017, Solanke’s move from Chelsea to Liverpool seemed like a coup for the Merseyside club.
But Solanke struggled to make an impression at Anfield. The striker scored just one goal in 28 appearances during the 2017-18 season, although in fairness his finish against Brighton was extremely emphatic.
Having induced their officials into some sort of trance, Liverpool sold Solanke to Bournemouth for a reported £19million fee in 2019. The striker has shown glimpses of potential thus far, but nothing to suggest Liverpool regret moving him on.
FT: Liverpool 2-0 Crystal Palace ❤️
What a touch and finish by our new signing!
🎥 Sport TV 3 pic.twitter.com/Gk7y0T5zBB
— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) July 19, 2017
Marko Grujic – £6.3m
It seems remarkable that Grujic has been on Liverpool’s books for four years now.
Signed from Red Star after Jurgen Klopp called Grujic personally to convince him to move to Anfield, the Serbian international recently scored his first goal for the club in a 7-2 League Cup victory at Lincoln.
Having recently joined Porto on a season-long loan, after similar spells with Red Star, Cardiff and Hertha Berlin, it would appear as if Grujic is a talented player who is understandably finding it difficult to break into Liverpool’s all-conquering first team.
Joe Gomez – £4.1m
The overriding success on this list.
Having joined from Charlton in the summer of 2015, Gomez quickly established himself by providing the assist for the winning goal on his debut.
Injuries subsequently stalled his progress, but the England international has not looked back since his return in 2017. Only the recurrence of fitness issues have prevented the defender being an ever-present in the Liverpool starting line-up.
Taiwo Awoniyi – £900k
Another teenager signed by Liverpool and loaned out seemingly every season.
Yet to make an appearance in any competition for the club, Awoniyi has represented *takes breath* FSV Frankfurt, NEC, Royal Excel Mouscron, Gent, Mouscron, Mainz and Union Berlin amid some difficulties in obtaining a UK work permit.
It remains to be seen whether the Nigerian striker will make an appearance at Anfield any time soon.
Divok Origi – £11m
After a frustrating opening to his Anfield career, which included injuries and loans aplenty, Origi won the affection of Reds fans by scoring a last-minute winner in the Merseyside derby in 2018.
Remarkably, Origi further endeared himself with two goals during the amazing comeback win against Barcelona in the 2019 Champions League semi-final, plus the second goal in their final victory over Spurs.
While the big man can undeniably be a frustrating player, and feelings persist that Liverpool could do better, the Belgian striker has written himself into Liverpool history.
— Anything Liverpool (@AnythingLFC_) March 1, 2019
Samed Yesil – £1m
Yes, we had to Google this one too.
After attracting attention in Germany, Brendan Rodgers swooped to recruit Yesil to his Liverpool ‘project’ in the summer of 2012. Bar a handful of League Cup appearances and Europa League bench-sitting duties, his career at Anfield was played out mainly in the youth team.
Yesil was released at the end of his contract in 2016 and is now playing for Regionalliga Sudwest side FC 08 Homburg in Germany.
Danny Ward – £113k
At first glance, Danny Ward appears one of those signings that screams ‘quota filler’.
On second look, this assumption proves to be entirely accurate. Signed from Wrexham in 2012, Ward had to wait four years for his Liverpool debut. Deputising for Simon Mingolet during an injury crisis, Ward made a fantastic injury-time save during a 2-1 win over Bournemouth.
After being loaned to Huddersfield, Ward secured the Yorkshire side’s surprise promotion with match-winning penalty saves in both the semi-final and final of the play-offs.
A semi-constant fixture in the Wales squad, Ward currently provides back-up to Kasper Schmeichel at Leicester.
Jason Banton – Free
A player you’re unlikely to have heard of, Banton spent time in the academies of Arsenal and Blackburn before joining Liverpool in January 2011 after impressing on trial.
The forward failed to break into the first team and was released at the end of the season. Since then, he has embarked on an incredibly nomadic career, playing for 18 different clubs. He is currently with non-league outfit Cray Wanderers.
Suso – Undisclosed
After joining Liverpool’s academy from Cadiz in 2010, Suso had more success at Anfield than many others on this list, making 21 senior appearances in all competitions and scoring one goal.
But the winger failed to fully establish himself in the first team and joined AC Milan in 2015. After a slow start at the San Siro, he began to shine to such an extent he broke into the Spain squad and joined Sevilla in January, where he has already collected one of what will no doubt be 1,000 Europa League crowns.
Yusuf Mersin – Undisclosed
Another player you can be forgiven for not knowing, Liverpool signed Mersin from Millwall in January 2011, but the Turkey youth international failed to make the grade on Merseyside.
The goalkeeper later joined Turkish outfit Kasimpasa before returning to England with Crawley Town and now Dover Athletic.