When looking at the Liverpool squad this season, they do not have a shortage of strikers. With Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge, Dominic Solanke and Divock Origi, manager Jürgen Klopp has plenty of options up front.
Whether these are high quality options after Roberto Firmino is another matter, but they certainly have a lot of options. So much so, Danny Ings was seen as surplus to requirements this season and was sent on a complicated loan to Southampton.
So from 18-year-old Rhian Brewster’s perspective, game time may be at a premium this coming season. Firmino certainly has a vice-like grip on the striker role for The Reds, with Sturridge and Solanke looking to battle it out between themselves as the back-up to the Brazilian.
This leaves Brewster and Origi as the likely candidates to be battling for a place in Liverpool’s squad for cup games, or any lesser games in Klopp’s eyes. Sent on loan last season, 23-year-old Belgian Origi does not appear to be part of Klopp’s plans for 2018/19. In fact, Liverpool seemed quite keen to sell the flop this summer, lowering their asking price for the struggling striker. The fact that there were no buyers could be an indication of how Liverpool and other clubs view the man.
This, however, is promising for Brewster, who could hope for some game time this season. While the Premier League seems a long shot at this moment in time, he could certainly make a cup appearance. The youngster is yet to make an appearance for The Reds, despite being an unused substitute against Crystal Palace in the Premier League in 2017.
Brewster’s reputation comes from his exploits last year in FIFA U-17 World Cup, where he scored a hat-trick in both the quarter and semi final, before scoring again in the final as England won the tournament and the youngster won the Golden Boot. So while he is yet to prove himself in a red shirt, he received a lot of plaudits elsewhere.
But for this season, it seems unlikely that the 18-year-old will feature extensively, particularly as Klopp will not want to risk his team’s performance with an unknown player. Chasing the title this season, Liverpool will not want to slip up at any point by chancing their arm with Brewster.
However, while Brewster’s short-term future appears to be fairly uneventful for Liverpool, Klopp and everyone involved with Liverpool will know that it may still be a few seasons before he makes an impact at the club. Chiefs at Liverpool will know the long-term value of Brewster at Anfield, and wisely decided to award him a five-year contract earlier this summer.
The new contract was not only an indication of how the club view the player, but was a method to stave off interest from other European clubs. Borussia Mönchengladbach were even accused of ‘tapping up’ the player in the summer, and Liverpool will be grateful for holding onto his services for the future.
But with a wealth of attacking talent coming through for Liverpool, Brewster’s future still remains unclear. With 20-year-old Solanke on the books, as well as well as 18-year-old Ben Woodburn out on loan at Sheffield United, there will be a brilliant battle for years to come to hold the Liverpool no.9 shirt.
What is strange about this season is that Klopp opted to loan out Woodburn and not Brewster. Given the fact that the Welshman has already featured for Liverpool six times in the two previous seasons suggests that he has held in higher esteem than his fellow striker. However, this could also mean that Klopp wants Woodburn to get game time under his belt, whereas he wants to keep a closer eye on the development of Brewster. Seeing as Woodburn has featured for The Reds at a younger age, there is a glimmer of hope that Brewster could feature this season in the Premier League.
The sad reality is, however, with so many young talents all up and coming for Liverpool, one of Solanke, Woodburn and Brewster will probably need to leave Anfield permanently to get game time as their career progresses. It would be almost an impossible task to balance the playing time between these three if they all live up to the promise that they have. Not to mention the fact that Firmino, Sturridge and even Mo Salah, to an extent, are the incumbent strikers for Klopp.
The player that ultimately leaves Liverpool is less clear, although there is a chance that one of the three young guns that are coming through will fall behind in the pecking order, it is hard to work out which one.
So the future is bright for Brewster. While he looks like he will have a promising future at Anfield, there is a chance that he may need to move elsewhere in the future for game time. But with interest from all over the continent, it won’t be hard to find a new club.