All but the most dedicated academy watchers could be forgiven for seeing Ovie Ejaria's name on the team sheet yesterday and asking, "Who?" The 18-year-old came to Liverpool two years ago on a free transfer from Arsenal, and was quick to impress boss Jürgen Klopp last fall. In fact, during Klopp's first visit to the academy he saw Ejaria score the winner for the Liverpool u-18's.
"Obviously first impressions are important and it was a great feeling to be able to play in front of him," Ejaria said, reflecting on that moment. "It's exciting because he's new in and everyone is trying to make a first impression on him and trying to get our way up to Melwood. Knowing that he was watching us was a great feeling."
Fast forward to this summer, and Ejaria found himself as a surprise starter in Liverpool's first pre-season friendly against Tranmere. The youngster acquitted himself well, showing hard work and tenacity in pressing that will surely catch Klopp's bespectacled eyes. Although Ejaria is certainly a tall, imposing figure in the middle of the park, he's no mere destroyer, displaying several smart runs and passes throughout the half.
Ejaria's performance was a tasty appetizer, hinting at more to come from the academy product in the future. It was a good debut from another promising player, one we can expect to see more of in the near future. Enjoy an every touch compilation below: