With Joe Allen out indefinitely due to a hamstring injury, and Lucas Leiva seemingly frozen out of the squad and on his way to Turkey before the transfer window closes, news of Jordan Henderson's foot injury has given fans cause for concern. A midfield that once looked packed with talent is suddenly depleted, and less than a month into the season. It seems that Brendan Rodgers has been feeling the strain of this as well.
In Saturday's pre-Arsenal press conference, when asked which of the youth players will be going out on loan, Rodgers praised the talented Scouse academy player, Jordan Rossiter.
"I’m sure one or two of them will probably go out, but we have got the Europa League and cup games," said the manager. "Jordan Rossiter is a young boy who has moved up here now to be in the first-team changing room. He’s a really valuable player for our squad. At such a young age he’s got great maturity and I can see him as being one that will be staying here."
Rossiter, who was born in 1997 and thus turned 18 years old in March (yes, you're old), joined the first team this summer on their Asian pre-season tour. He made his first team debut on September 2014 in a league cup game against Middlesbrough, where he grabbed an impressive goal in the 10th minute and became the club's second-youngest goalscorer, after Michael Owen.
Rossiter is undoubtedly a talented kid, and he'll be able to give James Milner or Jordan Henderson a night off during cup games, but he is not the defensive midfield specialist Liverpool need, and he won't replace Lucas Leiva's experience or specific skillset. While he will provide some extra coverage in the midfield in case of future injury situations like the one Liverpool currently face, he's in no way a like-for-like change. His inclusion does, on the other hand, put Liverpool one step closer to my secret wish of fielding an all Jorda(o)n dream team starting XI.
For his faults, Rodgers has always excelled at giving Liverpool's youth players a chance to shine. It will be up to Rossiter to seize these opportunities like his recent predecessors Raheem Sterling, Jordon Ibe, and Joe Gomez. It's exciting to see a local lad get the step up, and fans will be crossing their fingers that he turns out more like his favorite player, Steven Gerrard, and less like the hardworking, but underachieving Jay Spearing. Having only just signed his first professional contract with the club on his 17th birthday, he's got plenty of years to mature and prove himself.
With Henderson likely missing out on the Arsenal game, it wouldn't be surprising to see Rossiter on the bench. It would, however, be a surprise if the young player got a run out at the Emirates. Whatever the case on Monday, it appears that this may be a big season for the young player.