Woodburn, Brewster and the top five teenage stars to watch at Liverpool

Sporting News

Arguably Liverpool’s greatest-ever player, a Balon d’Or recipient, a goalscoring 'God' and a two-time Champions League winner were all products of the club’s Academy.

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Who are the next young prospects hoping to record the kind of success and reverence enjoyed by the likes of Steven Gerrard. Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Steve McManaman?

Goal selects five talents to keep an eye on...


HD Yan Dhanda
HD Yan Dhanda

Using Adam Lallana as a reference point to improve his own game, the 18-year-old was invited to Liverpool’s training camps in La Manga and Tenerife- a sign that he is part of the next group to cross over from the Academy to the first-team.

A skilful No.10, who can also play out wide and as the centre-forward, the England youth international joined the Reds from West Bromwich Albion for £200,000 in July 2013.

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Dhanda won a trial at Chelsea at Under-11 level, but was away with the Baggies so surrenderedthat opportunity.

Their loss eventually ended up beingLiverpool’s gain and in December 2015, he became the first player of Indian heritage to sign professional terms with the Anfield side.


HD Liam Coyle
HD Liam Coyle

The deep-lying midfielder, who lives a 10-minute walk away from Melwood, is a benefactor of one-to-one coaching with his idol, Gerrard.

Having played for his father’s Sunday league team, Rail Vikings, he was in Liverpool’s development squad for six months. A six-week trial period followed and at 10, hesigned for the club.

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Five years later, Coyle leaped age groups to make his debut for the Under-18s - a team he now captains after already earning the armband at U15 and U16 level.

Part of the Talent Group, who trainat the first-team complex under the guidance of Pep Lijnders once a week, the Scouser has enjoyed the opportunity of watching how Jordan Henderson, carrying out the same duties he is tasked with, prepares for the role.


HD Rhian Brewster
HD Rhian Brewster

The 16-year-old is already representing Liverpool’s Under-23s, stamping out any fears that it may be too big of an elevation by scoring on his debut against Ipswich Town in January.

Speedy, tricky, possessing great awareness and capable of executing any type of finish, Brewster was at Chelsea from the age of seven to 14, but realised a breakthrough was unlikely at Stamford Bridge. Given the Reds’ belief in youth development, he swapped London for Merseyside and has been dazzling for club and country ever since.

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He netted a hat-trick as England’s U17s annihilated Croatia 5-0 and added a brace in the 8-1 scorching of Germany duringthe Croatia Cup last year. Brewster also greatly impressed Jurgen Klopp during a behind-closed-doors friendly at Melwood, in which he again tormented the rearguard, scoring thrice.

“That was a great experience,” he told Liverpool’s official website. “I didn’t think I was going to start and to then score the first goal after a great team move was a fantastic feeling.

"I got a second goal and then luckily for me I managed to get a hat-trick. I got a ‘well done’ from the boss which was amazing. My confidence was sky high.”


HD Trent Alexander-Arnold
HD Trent Alexander-Arnold

Like Coyle, the 18-year-old passed Melwood daily, reinforcing his desire to enter and exit the complex as a Liverpool first-teamer.

Part of the Academy since the age of six, Alexander-Arnold has captained the Under-16s and U18s, with Gerrard personally highlighting him as a player with a big future. Acting as a very able and exciting deputy to Nathaniel Clyne at right-back, the local lad has also operated to excellent effect as a No.6.

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Lijnders, Liverpool’s first-team development coach, described himas a "guiding light"and “one of the most all-round talents in Europe with a ‘team first’ attitude."

Alexander-Arnold made his Premier League bow in the 1-1 draw at Manchester United in January, marking Anthony Martial. Herecordedthree tackles, two interceptions and eight clearances at Old Trafford.


Ben Woodburn Liverpool EFL Cup
Ben Woodburn Liverpool EFL Cup

The youngest goalscorer in Liverpool’s history, who bettered previous record-holder Michael Owen’s achievement by 98 days, is expected to continue tattooing his brilliance on the club as he develops.

At just 17, he has already been named in the senior squad 16 times by Klopp, with three starts and four substitute appearances included in that tally.

The defining moment of his breakthrough season came in front of the Kop, when he blastedGini Wijnaldum’s lay-off into the roof of the net in a 2-0 League Cup victory over Leedsbefore running off - with both arms outstretched - screaming as he headed towards the supporters and into the history books.

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Perhaps more telling than that special moment, though, was Klopp’s decision to replace an off-colour Philippe Coutinho with Woodburn on 60 minutes against Burnley, with the scores level at 1-1.

Liverpool went ahead shortly after the forward’s introduction, and he provided more evidence that he has the intelligence and tactical understanding to thrive in the top-flight as he advances.

A “creative machine” in the words of the club’s backroom team, the Wales Under-19 international is being tipped for a senior call-up for his country, having already skippered the U17s.

Images courtesy of Liverpool FC

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