From a mass of nothing and all of a sudden back into the morass of fixtures, Liverpool FC have been jarred back into action following the international break. Fresh off the heels of their gritty, “did just to enough knick the win” performance at Huddersfield, the Reds are tasked with hosting Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League this week. Busy. Not wanting to get lost in the shuffle, however, are the many of Liverpool’s youth members out on loan with the hopes of gaining the experience and, hopefully, form to catch the attention of Jurgen Klopp back home.
One such young man seeming to be on fire while on loan is Ryan Kent. Off on duty in Scotland with Rangers (and under the tutelage of a certain former Red by the name of Steven Gerrard), Kent has been doing quite well for himself. This past weekend, the young winger notched another goal - his third in eight appearance for the Glaswegian side - as he helped his team to an easy 4-1 victory. Rangers currently sit fifth in the Scottish Premier League table, 5 points off the pace of pace setters Hearts of Midlothian FC. Fellow Red, Ovie Ejaria, also saw time for Rangers as he played the full 90 minutes in the victory.
Another young lad making the name for himself lately is winger Harry Wilson. While on international duty, the young playmaker dazzled once more by scoring from an audacious free kick:
"Wales are without Gareth Bale so they have nobody to take free-kicks"— Welsh Fan Zone TV (@WelshFanZoneTV) October 16, 2018
Harry Wilson: "Hold my beer"pic.twitter.com/lIERMl28A6
Wilson’s performances for Wales have been drawing rave reviews and in the midst of the mini transfer crisis that wasn’t, his name had been bandied about as one that should not have gone off on loan. Returning from international duty to Championship side Derby, Wilson played the full 90 minutes which saw them gain ground in their chase to be promoted to the Premiership.
One young star whose loan hasn’t seem to have quite panned out is Ben Woodburn, who’s on loan with Sheffield United. It’s early days yet, but the news coming out of late hasn’t been promising. That includes an curious scenario in which Woodburn was allowed to line up with the Liverpool U23s on the weekend as they took on the Derby youth side, and then return to Sheffield in order to prepare with the team. Woodburn has found minutes hard to come by at his loan club and as he was rated among the most promising of the young Reds, this is a minor cause for concern. Still, Liverpool have, according to reports in the Echo, indicated that they are satisfied with the loan as currently structured.
Hopefully, all of our young lads might be able to find some success and eventually make it onto the first team. It is, however, a bit of a tall order: Klopp has shown often that age isn’t quite the defining marker for him as he’s given full backing to young first teamers Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and even Andrew Robertson. If you’re good enough, he’ll use you.
The caveat, of course, is none of those players was actively needing to unseat Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, or Roberto Firmino in their quest to find playing time. As all of the players spoken of in this piece note, the competition (and quality) at the front end of the Liverpool’s set up speaks for itself when the likes of Adam Lallana, Xherdan Shaqiri, Daniel Sturridge, and even Alexander Oxlade-Chamberlain when fit wouldn’t expect to be first choice in every match of the season. The realities of being a Big Club™ always make it hard for youngsters to breakthrough.
And so it goes. We wish our young lads lots of luck and will continue to track their progress throughout the year.