In Curtis Jones and of course Trent Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool have continued their tradition of generating elite players from their own youth ranks who go on to have significant careers at the club. The likes of Harvey Elliott, Ben Doak, Stefan Bajcetic and Caoimhín Kelleher have all taken or are in the process of taking the final step at the club, having arrived from other academies in their teens, but there’s something quite special about transforming a local kid into a Premier League player without them ever wearing another kit.
The most recent player to fall into that category is Jarell Quansah. The young centre-back has played 500 minutes across nine appearances for the Reds this season, featuring in every competition and not once looking out of place in the heart of defence, displaying a combination of ability, composure and athleticism that is rare to spot in a defender of his age.
A week ago, Jürgen Klopp described how he wouldn’t have expected such a high level of performance from Quansah at the start of pre-season, but that it’s become a standard the player has set for himself at this point. Today, the 20-year old took a moment to respond to the gaffer’s comments.
“You can look at that both ways, can’t you?” Quansah told The Echo and other media outlets while away on international duty with England Under-21s. “‘Surprised’ could be deemed as an interesting word, but I think the way he (Klopp) means it, I wasn’t really expected to be there yet.
“I don’t think it was a surprise of, I’ve trained with them before and I’m not a good player,” Quansah continued. “I think it was how soon it came and how I’ve dealt with the adversity that I have been thrown into. I wouldn’t say it was a surprise as in if he thought I was going to be a good player or not, because I’ve shown that before in training sessions.
“It’s probably not expected from going from a loan at Bristol Rovers to straight into the first team, and do as well as I did I think. That’s where the surprise came from.”
The interview as a whole is well worth a read, and paints a picture of a confident and deeply invested young man who appears set to deal with any and all challenges to come, and given the age profile of the Reds’ defensive line and the level Quansah has performed at in his appearances thus far, the biggest surprise at this point would be if he doesn’t play an even more significant role next season.