Having just returned from a successful loan spell with Derby County, Andre Wisdom is already looking forward to next season. After playing 39 games in the Championship and FA Cup for Derby, mostly at right back, the 21-year-old returns to Liverpool a far more experienced defender than the one that headed out early last season.
And next year, his goal is to stay at Anfield and earn himself a place in Brendan Rodgers' first team squad. The competition will be fierce, but Wisdom's ability to play at right back and in the heart of defence may give him an edge with Liverpool facing four competitions as they return to the Champions League for the first time in five seasons.
"I had a brilliant time at Derby County and every minute of it was a real pleasure," said Wisdom. "The aim was to come out and play games and I have done that for the last seven months. Under Steve McClaren, I think I have grown as a player and a person, and when I report back at Liverpool for pre-season training I'll be a better player for the brilliant experience I've had."
With Martin Kelly having missed almost two years at a crucial stage in his development with injuries and reaching a point where Liverpool either need to cut the defender loose or send him out on loan to start every week, replacing the club's last promising defender who could play on the right or in the middle on the squad next season could be in Wisdom's future.
His return would also give Liverpool another homegrown, club-trained player, helping to fulfil UEFA squad regulations. Still, the priority will be getting Wisdom playing time, even if it's less than he got this past season at Derby, while having him training with the first team every week. Wisdom at least seems to believe he's good enough to do that.
"I think I've improved as a result of being at Derby," he added, "and it's just a shame we didn't get the promotion we deserved. The lads were brilliant from the minute I arrived. It's not just them, though—the staff and fans showed so much support to me."