No matter what one thought of Brendan Rodgers' tenure as Liverpool manager, one thing that became clear was that he was willing to give young players a chance to impress. Occasionally that willingness could seem to result in an over-reliance on a youth star after an impressive outing or two, but on the whole, it offered a clear boost to Liverpool's academy and youth recruitment.
With a new manager arriving, then, one of the biggest questions people have is, just what kind of a chance will Liverpool's youngsters get now that it's Jürgen Klopp calling the shots? According to Dortmund's youth team coach, at least, Liverpool fans shouldn't expect a big difference in the chances the club's academy products get under the German, who in the past has made a point of promoting from within.
"He likes to make his own stamp, to say, ‘I brought him from the academy, didn't I?" said Gary Gordon, an ex-British soldier who has taken on a number of rules in the Dortmund academy since first arriving there in 1992. "It gives the whole club a kick. If you just keep buying [senior players], then what does it say to the rest of the youth? That there's no point in trying because nobody is coming through?"
That should be good news for Jordon Ibe and Jordan Rossiter, the club's two academy products who have been working their way into the first team picture this season. It could also be good news for a few other academy prospects who have been on the fringes of the first team like Pedro Chirivella, Jerome Sinclair, and Joao Carlos Teixeira. One change, though, may be in a greatly increased focus on pace.
"He wanted fast players," added Gordon. "They had to be fast. It wasn't worth picking up anyone who was slow, no matter how technically gifted they were. He didn't want a slow player. He also wanted hungry players who didn't have to be pushed. He doesn't need stars—he needs hungry players. Young players in their early 20s and taking them to the next level is his thing. It's what he's good at."