Liverpool have been unable to name a full 25-man Premier League squad due to rules regarding the homegrown quota, but Klopp can utilise the young guns at Anfield and fix his problem
For all of the praise Liverpool’s recruitment strategy has received in recent years, the 2021 summer transfer window was not their finest hour.
Fans were frustrated as they saw their Premier League title rivals splash the cash on the likes of Jack Grealish, Romelu Lukaku and Jadon Sancho, who signed for Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United respectively.
Each of those incomings cost at least double what the Reds paid for their sole summer signing, French centre-back Ibrahima Konate.
The £36million given to RB Leipzig was the club’s only expenditure of the window, opting to tie down the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Alisson and Jordan Henderson to long-term deals instead.
Linked with countless names, Klopp and sporting director Michael Edwards were unable to repeat their transfer magic this time around, which has left them with an issue regarding naming their Premier League squad.
Due to not having eight homegrown senior players (over the age of 21), Liverpool’s top-flight list will be less than the 25-man capacity.
This is due to the likes of Ben Davies departing on loan along with Rhys Williams and Sheyi Ojo, who are all classed as homegrown.
Therefore, Klopp will be limited in his options for the domestic campaign, although can fix his problem and turn the Reds’ predicament into a long-lasting positive.
Last season, Klopp was forced into calling upon a number of academy graduates to play serious amounts of minutes during their injury crisis, such as defender Nat Phillips.
The 24-year-old starred as Liverpool clinched a Champions League qualification spot despite his inexperience of the English top-flight.
His age makes him one of their seven homegrown players but there is no limit on using under-21s who do not need to be named in their Premier League squad.
Klopp can therefore call upon a plethora of young talent at Anfield, with Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones already involved in first-team affairs.
16-year-old forward Kaide Gordon, who joined from Derby County in February, impressed in pre-season and, due to his German manager having fewer options to choose from in the pecking order, could feature prominently in matchday squads in order to supplement the side.
AFP via Getty Images)
Under-18s Marc Bridge-Wilkinson recently praised Gordon for his professionalism and recognises that he may well remain part of Klopp’s plans in 21-22.
“He’s a brilliant footballer and he’s a nice young man,” the former Port Vale and Carlisle United midfielder told the Liverpool Echo.
“At the minute he is with the first team and hopefully as things carry on, who knows what might happen.”
On the prospect of him potential returning to the youth setup, Bridge-Wilkinson added: “If and when he comes back to us, we will look after him just the same and keep working on his game.”
Which youngsters should Klopp utilise for Liverpool this season? Give us your picks here.
Gordon was not the only youngster to impress in pre-season either, with young full-back Owen Beck (whose great-uncle is a certain Ian Rush) grabbing two assists during their Austria camp.
Although the likes of Leighton Clarkson and Jake Cain have ventured on loan moves to the Football League, goalkeeper Harvey Davies and midfielder Conor Bradley could be called upon by Klopp at some stage during the term.
So, with a lack of senior homegrown players to choose from, do not be surprised if the under-21s get an opportunity to show their worth, mirroring what Trent Alexander-Arnold did four years ago.