Rhian Brewster has been one of Liverpool’s standouts in pre-season, scoring three goals in less than 90 minutes of action and looking like he might be the club’s best goal threat off the bench behind Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah, and Roberto Firmino.
At just 20 years of age, though, and coming off a standout half-season with Swansea, there are questions as to whether he’d be best served as a Liverpool backup or a starter on loan elsewhere. And according to Jürgen Klopp, he’s still struggling with that question.
“Rhian looks really promising so we will see what happens,” said the Liverpool manager. “We want to use Rhian but we need to help Rhian, too. He’s still a young boy and for a number nine experience helps a lot, so we have to work out how to give him that.”
The problem with keeping Brewster at the club despite of his goals is that Liverpool train their preferred system almost exclusively with only minor variations for upcoming opponents—the days of top clubs regularly drilling a “Plan B” are long gone.
In that system, the demands placed on the number nine are unique, and despite Brewster’s goals it is likely that right now Takumi Minamino would be preferred for the role should Firmino not be available, at least in any game that particularly mattered.
Meanwhile, in pre-season Brewster hasn’t been given time in an alternate role, suggesting Klopp does not see him as, for example, suitable backup to Sadio Mané. As Klopp hits on, there’s a lot of work the coaches would have to do to get him playing time.
Despite that, his goal record—both with Swansea last season and in pre-season now for the Reds—cannot be ignored, and depending on the club’s transfer plans it may be very difficult for them to sanction sending the youngster’s goals somewhere else.
“It’s not decided yet,” Klopp added. “But there’s no reason to rush. He will be involved in the squad tomorrow for sure.”