It wasn’t a perfect start to the night for young Conor Bradley, as the 20-year-old made his second start of the season at right back fulling in for the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold in the first round of Liverpool’s League Cup semi-final against Fulham.
The youngster at times seemed too eager to go to ground, and he was one of the players—along with Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konaté, and Caoimhin Kelleher—who didn’t cover themselves in glory on Fulham’s opener. By the end of the match, though, all of that was forgotten.
“It took me a few minutes to get into it, but once I got into it I loved every minute of it,” Bradley said after being named Man of the Match for his key contributions to the Reds’ come from behind 2-1 victory. “Obviously it’s a dream for me to play at Anfield and I’m just buzzing.
“Trent is probably the best right-back in the world at the minute, if not the best player in the world the way he’s playing. So he’s a big miss for us, but I just tried to do everything I could to fill in for him. And thankfully we got the win.”
With the match in the balance, his second half performance was nearly flawless, and on another night he could have ended up with an assist or two to show for his contributions as the Reds pressed the issue and overwhelmed a Fulham side increasingly desperate to just hang on.
After a ten day winter break, Bradley will be expected to get more chances to build on that, with a league game against Bournemouth on the 21st before the second leg of the semi-final away at Craven Cottage on the 24th.
The expected returns of Andy Robertson, Kostas Tsimikas, and then Alexander-Arnold towards the end of the month through early February could make minutes more difficult afterwards, but if he impresses in the meantime he will continue to get opportunities.