Kop Kids: 5 Liverpool Academy Players Who Could Break Through to the First Team in the Near Future

Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Jamie Carragher. These are just a few names from what is a long list of top class players to break through from Liverpool’s academy. After something of a drought in recent years, the Reds' youth team seems to have had something of a resurgence with the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn both making big strides towards regular first team action. The flood of homegrown talent looks set to continue with even more youngsters tipped to make...

Rhian Brewster

Age: 17 

Position: Striker

Rhian Brewster is a name hot on everybody’s lips at Anfield, and it’s easy to see why. 

The 17-year-old switched Chelsea for Liverpool when he was just 14, in search of a pathway into first team football, and he is currently making strides with Liverpool’s Under-23s. 

Brewster is described as a talented striker with an eye for goal, which he showed by netting on his Under-23s debut in a 3-0 win over Ipswich. 

Prior to that, Brewster managed to bag himself a hat-trick in a behind-closed-doors first team friendly at Melwood, where Jurgen Klopp was keenly watching. 

He told Liverpool’s website: "I got a ‘well done’ from the boss which was amazing. My confidence was sky high.” 

The young striker is currently preparing for England Under-17s World Cup campaign in India, and he bagged a brace in England’s 3-2 win against New Zealand on Sunday. 

Bobby Adekanye

Age: 18 

Position: Winger 

Bobby Adekanye has already had quite the career at the tender age of 18, playing for four of Europe’s biggest clubs already.  

After leaving his native country of Nigeria at the age of four, Adekanye and his family moved to Amsterdam, where he was soon spotted by Ajax. 

At the age of 12, Adekanye would swap Ajax for an equally prestigious youth academy in La Masia with Barcelona. However, following a FIFA investigation over Barcelona which saw them not being able to make any signings in 2016, Adekanye was not permitted to play even at youth level for the club, which saw him make a loan switch to PSV Eindhoven in the 2014/15 campaign. 

In 2015, Liverpool fought off competition from PSV and Ajax for Adekanye’s signature, where he has now played at both Under-18 and Under-23 level.

Already drawing comparisons to fellow countryman Arjen Robben, Adekanye is a left-footer who arguably operates better on the right, with speed, trickery and distance-shooting all part of his arsenal. His pace and agility make him a menace for defenders, allowing him to pass them by with ease, while also picking up a number of fouls.  

His Liverpool career has so far been blighted by injury, but first team development coach, Pep Lijnders, has already noticed the Dutchman’s quality, which has seen him train with the first-team on a number of occasions at Melwood.   

Yan Dhanda

Age: 17 

Position: Attacking Midfielder 

Dhanda arrived at Liverpool as an Under-15 player, making the brave move from his home town of Birmingham where he played in the West Brom academy.  

Already an England youth international, Dhanda likes to operate just off the striker in the number 10 role, but is adaptable enough to play on either flank or even up front.  

With talent in abundance, Dhanda is a very creative player with skill, quick feet and a keen eye for goal.  

Though Dhanda has taken some time to adapt to the physical demands of the game, he made 19 appearances for the Under-18s last season, playing 90 minutes on 12 occasions while also notching seven goals.

After catching Klopp’s eye in a mid-season training camp back in February, Dhanda is now a regular for the Under-23 side.  

Toni Gomes

Age: 18 

Position: Forward 

Already a Portugal youth international, Gomes is a striker with bags of pace and a devastating ability to score goals.  

Labelled by German publication Bild as one of Liverpool’s “great hopes”, the striker’s catalogue of skill and end product have made him a key asset for Liverpool’s U18’s.  

A player who can operate as a striker or a number 10, Gomes’ high energy and explosiveness make him ideal for the high press, and therefore a natural fit for Klopp and his favoured style of play. 

The 18-year-old is currently enjoying a loan spell with Football League debutants Forest Green Rovers down in League 2, where Liverpool say he will aim to build up his first-team experience. 

Harry Wilson

Age: 20 

Position: Winger

Harry Wilson already made his first-team debut in Liverpool’s FA Cup Third Round Replay against Plymouth Argyle back in January. 

The youngster, who captain the club's Under-23 side last season, has been with Liverpool since 2005, where he has made a steady rise with the academy.

He has also made strides on the international circuit with Wales. After impressing Chris Coleman at youth level, he decided to hand him his full debut in 2013 at the age of 16 years and 208 days, the country’s youngest international - beating Gareth Bale’s previous record by 108 days. 

The Wales international is a typical winger with bags of pace and an eye for both an assist and goal. Last season he notched a remarkable 28 goals from out wide.

With Wilson already breaking club and international records, it’s surely only a matter of time before he gets a consistent chance with the first-team.   

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