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Klopp Hints at Academy Shakeup

Klopp's comments on the heels of his contract extension include uniting Kirby and Melwood.

Nick Taylor for Getty Images

Jürgen's one-club mentality is something that excites many a Red, including this writer. While cynics might deem it lip-service, Klopp's focus on developing young talent and clear commitment to the training ground, evidenced by the current three-a-days, suggests that the five miles separating the Academy and Melwood would irk Klopp. Reviving rumors dormant since 2013, Klopp stressed that we need to develop the club, a lot of things. We're building a new stand, we think about building a new Academy or bringing Academy and Melwood together, and things like this - it's much longer term than my contract.

Brendan Rodgers also stressed the need to incorporate the youth team with the senior squad, and back in 2013 the club conducted a feasibility study, but plans never moved farther than that. Liverpool only spun the Academy off in 1998, and while it has produced some bright talents in that time, one might be forgiven for wondering whether the insular nature of the Academy reduces the bond between young talents and the club itself. Perhaps not, of course, but it would seem to this writer than being in the same building as your co-workers usually increases the chances of camaraderie and loyalty, unless your boss is Lumberg (in which case, feel free to burn down the building).

Martin Skrtel's comments notwithstanding, Jürgen seems like a pretty ideal man-manager, and currently, he has the young'uns brought over every Tuesday for a look. A hand-picked "Talent Group" (I know, I know) are driven over to Melwood by Pep Lijnders for Klopp's personal evaluation and train with the first team. Speaking on same, Lijnders stressed this should be your development; it shouldn't be the Academy bringing you the best players[,] it should be first-team staff showing interest and creating plans for each single individual to put them on a high level. That's how I try to create a bridge and hopefully that bridge is getting smaller and smaller.

It is that explicit stress on "every single individual" that one hopes drives the initiative forward. Let us be clear: the meat grinder that is professional football means that clubs are purchasing the rights to children. Most of those will never collect a paycheck for kicking a ball for our consumption. Commitment to the betterment of these young dreamers should include demonstrating that they are part of the club, not some vein of talent to be mined by the first team. Having the youngsters on hand and as close to the staff, manager, and first team as possible is at least a visible commitment to doing everything possible for each youth on the books. One would assume some first team members would benefit from being around the young players, as well, if only to be reminded where they came from.

Exciting times to be a Red, as Jürgen seeks to claim our proper perch.

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