Liverpool beat Man City and Bayern Munich for 12-goal starlet Pep Lijnders tipped for pre-season
Liverpool like to take the opportunity to sleep with a young player during pre-season, and although the short summer thanks to the Winter World Cup in Qatar means this off-season is not as long as it would be ideal , Jürgen Klopp still hopes to continue to implement this path.
Last season it was Kaide Gordon who stood out among the young talents, while Tyler Morton continued to play a role at senior level throughout the campaign. The pre-season was also used to develop Harvey Elliott in a new role.
This summer, with just one month left to prepare for another packed schedule, there are already eyes on who the next emerging player might be.
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“I think a coach should be judged a lot more on the young players he brings in,” Klopp’s assistant Pep Lijnders said in January. “For example, I spent yesterday morning at the Academy talking with the coaches and [Academy director] Alex Inglethorpe.
“I really believe in our project by watching our Academy. We watch the Academy all the time. Our U18s played against Burnley in the FA Youth Cup; we had Bobby Clark, Luke Chambers, Stefan Bajcetic. They all stand out.
“I hope they come with us during pre-season because it’s important for them to have a good pre-season to know exactly how we want to do things.”
Not 18 until February, Bobby Clark, the first name on Lijnders’ lips, has already spent time in first-team training in 2022 and is one of the most notable names to watch at youth level. He could well, as the Dutch coach evaded, be the type to cause a stir in pre-season games and, just as, if not more importantly, in training.
Signed from Newcastle United last summer, Clark scored 12 goals and provided five assists in 28 appearances in his debut season, largely playing for Liverpool’s U18s, and he also scored the winning penalty in the shootout of the UEFA Youth League with a highly rated Belgian team. Genk.
Liverpool beat a host of teams, including Manchester City and Bayern Munich, to sign him in 2021 after a one-on-one with Klopp helped convince him to put pen to paper. Newcastle United have been devastated to lose one of the highest-rated players in the English youth system, and not least because he is the son of a Magpies legend to Lee Clark.
Capable of playing in any attacking position or in midfield, as Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Fábio Carvalho can, Clark junior has already proven to be extremely exciting – a skilled dribbler with a keen eye for a finishing pass. The fact that Jones, Elliott and others have been given minutes in pre-season and beyond lately has been key in convincing him to switch – and now might be his time to follow in their footsteps before perhaps be to regularly play U23 football. next season.
“He’s a really exciting player with a lot of skill and talent. He could have lit the stage at St James’ Park but now he’s gone to Liverpool and it’s a real kick in the teeth,” said the head of the Newcastle Chronicle, Newcastle United. journalist Lee Ryder told Liverpool.com last summer.
“Bobby was Newcastle’s most promising youngster. Tottenham were for him, Bayern Munich were for him at one point, and I heard a host of other big clubs on the continent knew him – but he has decided to go to Liverpool.
“You always have to be very careful with comparisons, but for me – and I don’t take this lightly – but at the same age you had a young Paul Gascoigne at Newcastle. The reality is that kind of raw skill reminds me a little Gazza at the same age.”
Comparisons with former players aren’t always helpful, but early signs are that Liverpool have a gifted attacking player with plenty of quality. In Clark, they have their young archetype: someone who can fulfill a variety of roles in midfield and in attack, works incredibly hard on the ball and, above all, consistently scores goals and assists.
The talent is there and Lijnders and others are big fans of it. Whether in this pre-season or beyond, Liverpool may well have another teenage gem on their hands for Klopp and his squad to polish.