Jürgen Klopp has repeatedly proclaimed training and team-building as his preferred long-term strategy over the all-too-common quick-fix transfer model. After a summer transfer window that resulted in the club actually making money from the net spend, Klopp even joked that no one congratulated him.
Now, Klopp & Co. are putting their money where their mouths are by signing Kevin Stewart, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Ben Woodburn to long term contracts. Klopp commented on the contract extensions on the official Liverpool website:
This is really positive news of course, and it's brilliant we have acted decisively to show our intent with our young players.
The most important thing for us is the pathway to the first team. I think we have shown that with the work Alex [Inglethorpe] and his staff do at the Academy, we offer a clear pathway to first-team football if the players embrace what is on offer for them. I cannot praise them [the Academy] enough for the culture and environment they have there. It is perfect.
The players know that it's not just about ability: it's application and a willingness to keep learning. All three of these players are big talents and are at different stages of their development, but it is development that is key and they must continue to learn and improve to achieve their full potential.
Klopp went on to comment on the three players individually, all of whom are at different stages of their career, from academy starlet to knocking on the door of the first team squad.
With Kev it is maybe a little different. He is of course established with us now and making a contribution as an important member of our first-team squad. Trent spends most of his time with the first team in this moment and is progressing each and every day. Ben is in those earlier stages and has a lot of developing to do still - but wow, what an exciting talent he is.
The on-field, Premier League product that Klopp has cultivated over the last 13 months is easily the most noticeable and impressive work. However, the off-field work on the training ground, and in the academy system is laying the groundwork for a bright future at the club as well. The fact that these players all agreed to these extensions is a sign that they believe in Klopp’s project and want to be a part of it.