Former Liverpool under-23 manager Michael Beale has spoken out about Jurgen Klopp’s dealings with the club’s Academy when he first came to Anfield.
Speaking exclusively to the Liverpool Echo, current Rangers assistant manager Beale said that Klopp immediately met with him and Academy director Alex Inglethorpe after being shocked to learn that the club had 17 players out on loan at the time of his arrival in October 2015.
Beale told the Liverpool Echo: “To be fair, all our dealings with Jurgen, from the moment he come were fantastic.
“I think he got announced as manager and then the very next day he was straight to the Academy, because we had an U18 game that day and we had one or two players playing in that he wanted to get a look at.”
Beale added that Klopp has always been “very, very open and friendly with all of the Academy staff” during his time at Anfield. [via Liverpool Echo]
Klopp would hand first team opportunities to several players who were loaned out by Liverpool four years ago. Marko Grujic, Tiago Ilori, Kevin Stewart, Sheyi Ojo and Danny Ward were all on loan from the Reds during the 2015/16 season but all subsequently played for the German.
Klopp has also utilised the loan market to afford first team experience to players such as Taiwo Awoniyi, Jon Flanagan, Adam Bogdan, Ovie Ejaria, Ryan Kent, Ben Woodburn and Harry Wilson. [via TransferMarkt]
However, none of those have since managed to establish themselves at Anfield. Grujic, Ojo, Ejaria, Woodburn, Wilson and Awoniyi are all currently out on loan from Liverpool, with the latter yet to make a first team appearance despite being loaned out at the time of Klopp’s arrival. The others have all left the club permanently having failed to become regulars at Liverpool under the current manager.
The only player from the Reds’ Academy to have become an established first team presence under Klopp has been Trent Alexander-Arnold, who is closing in on a century of appearances for the club despite having just turned 21 this week.
Even though Beale has praised Klopp’s interest in the Academy and the first team manager was reportedly alarmed at how many players were loaned out by the club in 2015, he is still utilising the loan market despite allowing many previously on-loan players to leave permanently.
To his credit, Klopp has given chances to a lot of Academy and on-loan players during his time at Liverpool, while he has been honest enough to let those who aren’t in his plans to leave Anfield altogether.
However, history suggests that the current Academy crop, as well as those on loan from the club, would prove to be the exception rather than the rule if they can go on to become Liverpool first team regulars under Klopp.
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Liverpool fans, do you think Klopp has used the loan market effectively? Has he been fair to fringe players at the club in terms of first team opportunities? Have your say by commenting below!
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