With Martin Kelly, John Flanagan, Jay Spearing and Jack Robinson all beginning to make a name for themselves in the Premier League last season, who will be the next players to make the step up from Melwood, and go on to represent the Liverpool first-team at Anfield.
Conor Coady, born and raised in Liverpool, has captained both the Under-18 and Reserve sides at Liverpool, earmarking himself as a possible future captain of the first-team. He is yet to make his competitive debut for the club, but he made two appearances for the first-team in their tour of the Far East this preseason, also collecting a goal in their match against a Malaysia XI.
He is an intelligent footballer who most often plays as a central midfielder, although he can be used as a centre half should the need arise. A former captain of the England Under-17 side, the side never lost under his leadership, a statement not many other Englishmen can make.
While his chances in the first-team may be limited this season, Coady will continue to develop this season and people should keep an eye out for him on both the club and international scene in the coming seasons.
Jesus Fernandez Saez, or Suso, arrived at Liverpool from Cadiz in 2010, and immediately began to make an impact at Melwood. The Spaniard has lit up the Reserve leagues, playing with a flair and creativity that is often lacking in English footballers.
Used principally as a striker or attacking midfielder, Suso has scored many goals for Liverpool’s Reserve side, as well as helping create even more for his teammates. If given another year to mature physically, and prepare himself for the rigours of first-team football, Suso could prove to be one of the best signings Liverpool have made, as the youngster seems to have boundless potential.
Like Coady, Suso’s chances will be limited with the quality of Liverpool’s midfield and attacking options, but a loan move to the Championship could be just the thing to help showcase his talents to manager Kenny Dalglish and earn himself his first competitive start for Liverpool.
Perhaps the greatest talent waiting in the wings at Liverpool is Raheem Sterling. The young Englishman can play on either or wing, or further forward as a striker. Signed from QPR last season, Sterling is characterised by his lightning pace and silky dribbling skills.
Out of all three, Sterling has come the closest to making his first-team bow, as he was an unused substitute against Sparta Prague in last seasons Europa League, and was only prevented from further first-team experiences with the club by his impending GCSE’s, he was just 15 at the time. Already tipped as a future star for both club and country, Serling continues to work his way up the ranks at youth level for England, notably scoring twice in the recent Under-17 World Cup.
Dalglish will not want to rush Sterling, and expose him to the pressures of the Premier League prematurely, however he will feel the pressure of holding back a talent as exciting as Sterling. He has pace that will make most Premier League defenders nervy, as well as an eye for goal both in and outside of the penalty box. Given a year or two more to reach a level of conditioning and power required to compete at the highest level, and I expect Sterling to make an instant impact on the Premier League, causing not only Liverpool fans to sit up and take notice, but also England ones…