Liverpool’s Dominic Solanke entered the season in a bit of an awkward place. Third on the Jürgen Klopp’s striker depth chart, potentially too important to the club’s chances to head out on loan and yet knowing he would need a bit of luck to get many minutes.
That luck hasn’t come. In fact, it’s almost seemed he’s had the opposite. Solanke has made the bench just once, in the League Cup against Chelsea, and Liverpool’s failure to advance there has taken away his likeliest source of games in the first half of the season.
“Jürgen is a great manager and he knows what he’s doing, especially when he’s bringing people through,” Solanke insisted when asked about his lack of playing time at Liverpool while on duty with England’s U21 squad during the November international break.
“You can see what he has done with Trent [Alexander-Arnold] and Joe [Gomez], how far they’ve come. They have been two vital players for us this season. I’ve known them for a few years now so I have seen them breakthrough and he’s definitely helped them.”
Solanke made 27 appearances last season, and his underlying numbers made it appear the club had a potential superstar on their hands—a player who, if he could just get his finishing rate up, would start to look one of the best young players in the world.
A larger role for Daniel Sturridge, though, along with that League Cup exit, have kept him from the pitch—by this time last year, he’d played ten times. But the talent is still there, and Solanke is doing the only thing he can—working hard and waiting for his chance.
“It’s nice when you come away and get minutes, especially for your country,” he added. “Everyone wants to play for their clubs and when you’ve been away, you have to go back and fight. But these breaks are always good, especially if you can get minutes.’