Rhian Brewster and Ben Woodburn among five Liverpool youngsters eyeing first team action

Alex Broun 1/08/2018
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Rhian Bewster in action against Sydney FC in 2017

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have grabbed all the headlines with the big name signings they have brought in over the last few months.

But underneath that layer of headline acts there is a talented bunch of youngsters just itching to grab their chance in the spotlight.

Here are the top five talents who will be hoping to break into the first team squad this season.

Rhian Brewster

Still just 18, the young striker is one of the hottest properties not just in England but throughout Europe. The London-raised teenager has already tasted success winning the Under-17 World Cup with England last year and scooping up the Golden Boot with eight goals in the process.

Such is his growing reputation that Tottenham and Arsenal came knocking in June to try and lure him away from Liverpool, who he joined from Chelsea in 2014. The Reds managed to lock him down on a long-term deal early in July but only once he was given the assurance that he would see some first team action this season so expect to see a lot more of the youngster very soon.

Curtis Jones with Jurgen Klopp

Jones with Jurgen Klopp

Curtis Jones

Only 17, the Liverpool born and raised Jones has impressed all with his performances in the pre-season campaign. Whether it’s against Chester at the humble Deva Stadium or Manchester United in front of over 100,000, the proud Scouser has remained cool and calm.

A very talented midfield player with known for his passing and keen eye for goal, netting 18 for the U-18 and U-19 teams in 2017-18. Versatility is another one of his attributes as he can play anywhere across midfield. Jones has been with Liverpool since U-9 level and is an England U-17 international. After making his U-23 debut in January 2018, he signed his first professional deal with the Reds on February 1.

Nathaniel Phillips against Blackburn

Phillips against Blackburn

Nathaniel Phillips

Centre half has long been one of Liverpool’s problem areas but in the 21-year-old Phillips the Reds look like they have one in the making. A towering defender, Nat (as he is known) was previously with Bolton Wanderers where he spent many years with their academy. He arrived at Melwood just before the start of the 2016-17 season following a successful trial.

He has already shown in pre-season he is a brave defender who will put his body on the line for the team cause, one block on Alexis Sanchez perfectly displaying his commitment. Awarded the captain’s armband at U-23 level last season, he also found himself regularly training with the first-team squad at Melwood.

Rafael Camacho against Bury

Camacho against Bury

Rafael Camacho

Remember the name. Another of the Reds talented teenagers, at just 18 Camacho can play anywhere across the forward line – or as he has proven in pre-season even in midfield or defence as required. Being a speedy full-back raiding down the touchline might be his true calling, in the mould of another terrific teenager, 19-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Born in Portugal and a Portuguese U-17 international, Camacho joined the Reds academy at the end of 2015-16 following a successful trial. After an impressive 2017-18 campaign, he featured for the U-18 and made his debut at U23 level.

Camacho then found himself training regularly at Melwood towards the end of the campaign and was named on the first-team bench for the Merseyside derby with Everton at Goodison Park, along with Curtis Jones. He netted some spectacular strikes in 2017-18 including a hat-trick against Blackburn Rovers and finished with 14 goals at U-18 and U-19 level.

Ben Woodburn coming on for Mohamed Salah

Woodburn coming on for Mohamed Salah

Ben Woodburn

With an incredibly talented group of youngsters emerging this pre-season at Liverpool, it’s almost possible to forget that Woodburn is still just 18. The Welsh international became the youngest goalscorer in Liverpool history when he scored against Leeds in an EFL Cup quarter-final in November 2016 aged just 17 years, one month and 14 days.

Born 20 miles away from Liverpool in nearby Chester, Woodburn initially joined the club’s academy as an U-7 player and is capable of playing anywhere across the front line and, as he has shown during preseason, the midfield as well. In September 2017 he made his stunning debut for Wales as a substitute in a World Cup qualifier with Austria in Cardiff, coming off the bench to score a sublime 25-yard winner.

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Alisson has 'great day' as record-breaking keeper links up with Liverpool

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Alisson has trained with his new Liverpool team-mates for the first time.

The Reds shelled out a world-record fee for a goalkeeper in capturing the Brazil international from Roma for £65million earlier in July.

He has now joined Jurgen Klopp’s men at their training base in France following a post-World Cup break.

Alisson said on liverpoolfc.com: “It has been a great day which I had been looking forward to.

“I’ve had a good few resting days with my family but we all couldn’t wait to get the new season under way soon. It’s only my first day and I feel at home already.”

Alisson’s Brazil team-mate Roberto Firmino also reported back for training, and the pair could play a part in Liverpool’s two remaining pre-season matches, against Napoli on Saturday and Torino next Tuesday.

The Reds then begin their Premier League campaign against West Ham on August 12, and Alisson said: “Although these two weeks don’t seem like a long time, it’s enough for us to be ready for our first game against West Ham.

“We’ll play two friendlies before this game and I’m sure the hard work the squad have put in so far is going to help me become a member of the squad as quickly as possible so that I am 100 per cent ready for our first game to kick off the Premier League in a good way.

“My first impression tells me it won’t be difficult for me here – it’s a great squad formed by great players and brilliant professionals. I’m sure it’s going to be a great season for us all.”

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Charlie Adam warns Liverpool of new signing Xherdan Shaqiri's attitude

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Xherdan Shaqiri

Xherdan Shaqiri’s former team-mate Charlie Adam has warned Liverpool over the Switzerland international’s attitude.

Shaqiri, who played alongside Adam for Stoke last season as they were relegated from the Premier League, joined Liverpool this summer and marked his debut by scoring a superb overhead kick in a 4-1 pre-season victory over Manchester United.

Adam described Shaqiri as a “top player”, who deserved to be at a club of Liverpool’s stature, but questioned his commitment at crucial times in Stoke’s relegation fight.

“He’s a big player, at times he did well for us,” Adam said on the BBC Sport website.

“But in critical situations, I felt tracking back and what we needed for the team in a relegation battle just wasn’t there.

“He has got it in him, but he probably knew we were going to get relegated, he was going to the World Cup and had this big move – this move was probably done three, four months ago.

“He is a match-winner, but at times it was difficult to play in the same team. The manager would let him get away with certain things.”

Adam said Shaqiri could soon start to grow impatient if he struggled to hold down a first-team place.

“He might get frustrated at not playing as much as he wants – it’s how long he waits and what (manager Jurgen) Klopp does with him,” the Scot added.

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