With 18-year-old Joe Gomez having played every minute this season, anyone in need of reminding will have got the note: Brendan Rodgers is willing to give the kids a chance. For the similarly youthful Jordan Rossiter, that meant he always knew if he put in the work on the training ground, he would get his chance. He just didn’t expect it to be against Arsenal.
"It was a great experience," Rossiter told the Liverpool Echo following the match. "To make my Premier League debut at the Emirates in front of 60,000, I’m over the moon and I can’t believe it. I didn’t expect it. I found out on Sunday that I was in the squad to travel down to London and then about three hours before kick-off I was told at the team meeting that I was on the bench."
Rossiter was introduced late in the second half for Lucas Leiva. The Brazilian had played a key role in keeping Liverpool’s midfield solid on the road against a title favourite, but having not played a minute of football in the early going this season, it was clear he was exhausted. And with Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen out injured, Rossiter’s was the only name Rodgers could call on.
The youngster put in a solid performance, and given the pressure of the situation—and the pace of the game, which had left the more experienced Jordon Ibe looking lost when he came on—it’s hard not to see that as a major positive. Rossiter might not have turned the match, but he didn’t do anything to lose it for Liverpool and helped to re-settle a midfield that had begun to look shaky.
"There were nerves but I was excited, too," added the midfielder. "I knew I had to be patient. This is Liverpool Football Club, with brilliant players competing for every position. But we all know that with Brendan, if you are good enough you will get chances because of the faith he shows in young players. He’s done that throughout his time at the club and that gives the young lads hope."