Liverpool made a flying start to the 2016/17 Premier League season and were in the conversation of the title race before the Christmas fixtures and the New Year arrived. Injuries to Phillipe Coutinho, Sadio Mane’s departure for the African Cup of Nations and loss of form of the two main strikers in Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi completely derailed the momentum to such an extent that Jurgen Klopp’s side were out of contention of the EFL Cup and FA Cup by the end of January.
A shortage of quality squad depth for rotation and replacement of the missing players was a prime reason for the downturn in fortunes. However, Liverpool’s academy is one of the finest in the country, especially due to the vision and efforts of Rafa Benitez to revive it during his managerial tenure. The academy has been producing a steady supply of quality players in recent years and there are quite a few of them who could have helped Liverpool during that tough period with their youthful energy and desire.
It is still not too late to start playing for the first team as these players still have time on their side. Jurgen Klopp’s ability to nurture youngsters coupled with Liverpool’s requirement of an even bigger squad due to their likely European commitments next season gives the youngsters ample chances to stake a claim in the first team.
So, let’s look at five of the academy players who are ready to play for the Liverpool first team.
#5 Ovie Ejaria
Ovie Ejaria joined Liverpool in 2014, having started his career at Arsenal, due to lack of opportunities at the London club. He rose up the ranks soon enough as his quality was evident and caught Jurgen Klopp’s eye during the club’s trip to Tenerife last March while the international break was underway. Since then, he has impressed the German gaffer further during the pre-season friendlies against Fleetwood, Tranmere Rovers and Huddersfield before he was called up for the United States tour where he put on a memorable display against Chelsea.
He has kicked on since then making substitute appearances in the league and starting games in the cups. His style of play is similar to his idol, Andres Iniesta, although the 19-year old is lanky compared to the diminutive Barcelona captain. The youngster has an extremely calm head and his tricks and flicks are reminiscent of Adam Lallana, making him a good option in the centre of the midfield.
(Video Courtesy – ScoutNationHD YouTube Channel)