Liverpool academy players Lewis Koumas, Jayden Danns and Trey Nyoni
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Liverpool: Who are Klopp’s kids thriving in the first team?

Jurgen Klopp’s ‘Kids’ are making an impression on the Liverpool team in what has been a memorable week for the club’s academy.

After a handful of homegrown products impressed in the Carabao Cup final win over Chelsea last weekend, an inexperienced Liverpool team beat Southampton in the FA Cup fifth round.

Liverpool’s goalscorers against Southampton were 18-year-old duo Lewis Koumas and Jayden Danns, making their first and third appearances for the senior side respectively.

The exciting emergence of several starlets has increased optimism over the future at Anfield, with Klopp’s successor – set to be appointed in the summer – set to inherit a talented crop of home-grown talents.

But who are Klopp’s ‘Kids’? We’ve profiled the academy players to make senior appearances this season.

Jarell Quansah

Jarell Quansah’s rise has surprised even Jurgen Klopp this season with the centre-back taking his chance when called upon this season. As fellow central defenders Rhys Williams and Sepp van den Berg departed on loan in search of minutes, the 21-year-old remained to act as cover.

Joel Matip’s season-ending injury and Joe Gomez’s need to cover at full-back have handed Quansah valuable minutes and the academy graduate has impressed in 21 appearances in all competitions. Quansah is calm and composed and displays the maturity of a performer several years his senior.

He has benefitted from minutes alongside Virgil van Dijk, perhaps the perfect player to learn from when it comes to dominating defensive duels and offering cool distribution from the back.

Liverpool continue to be linked with signing a centre-back in the summer as Matip’s contract expires, though the Reds will be keen not to damage the progress of a player who could save the club millions.

Conor Bradley

Emerging right-backs have faced a sizeable obstacle in their path to first-team football at Liverpool, with Trent Alexander-Arnold established as one of the world’s finest in the role. Neco Williams and Calvin Ramsay have each departed on differing deals in search of opportunity, though there is a feeling that Conor Bradley could buck the trend.

An increasing demand for Alexander-Arnold to be moved into midfield and Bradley’s exciting emergence have suggested the 20-year-old could be part of the long-term future.

The Northern Ireland international spent last season on loan at third-tier Bolton, but has handled the step up superbly with a goal and five assists in 13 appearances. Full of effort defensively and quality in the final third, he appears to have all the ingredients to be a fixture of the next era under Klopp’s eventual successor.

James McConnell

James McConnell signed for Liverpool from Sunderland as a U15 player and was handed his senior debut during a Europa League clash with Toulouse in October. The 19-year-old then impressed on a surprise first start against Norwich in January, the same month he signed a new long-term contract at Anfield.

Having initially been signed as an attacking midfield player, McConnell has since been moulded into a deeper-lying role. An impressive cameo in the Carabao Cup final showed his temperament on the big occasion.

Bobby Clark

The son of former Newcastle and Fulham midfielder, Lee, Clark joined the Reds from Newcastle in August 2021 and made an immediate impact in the academy set-up with 13 goals for the u-18 side in his first campaign.

A hard-working attacking midfielder, Clark came off the bench in the Carabao Cup final win over Chelsea before shining from the start against Southampton this week. The teenager laid on the opening goal for fellow academy product Lewis Koumas and will hope to earn further opportunities across the run-in.

Jayden Danns

Jayden Danns stole the headlines against Southampton to cap a whirlwind week for the 18-year-old forward. Danns, the son of former Crystal Palace midfielder Neil, started the campaign in the u-18 side and did not earn a call-up to train with Jurgen Klopp’s seniors until January.

Involved in a goal off the bench against Luton on debut, he made an impactful substitute appearance at Wembley, before scoring twice in the 3-0 FA Cup fifth-round win over Southampton.

Danns boasts a prolific record at youth level and showed his instincts with a brilliant brace, lifting a composed finish over the goalkeeper for his first, before reacting well to turn in a rebound for a second.

“It is a dream come true,” he said after the win over Southampton.

“I’ve supported the club since birth. To come on and score at the Kop End is amazing, it doesn’t feel true. It feels like I’m in a film.”

Lewis Koumas

Lewis Koumas marked his senior debut with the opening goal in Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Southampton. The third son of a former Premier League footballer, Koumas’ father Jason represented West Brom and Cardiff among his clubs and scored 10 goals in 34 appearances for Wales.

The 18-year-old appears a chip off the old block as a creative forward and jinked inside from the left wing to steer in the first goal against the Saints. Koumas continued his fine form from youth level, where he has netted 15 goals at youth level for Liverpool this season, including a hat-trick in the FA Youth Cup against Arsenal.

England are understood to be keen to persuade the Chester-born starlet to represent them, with Koumas currently capped for Wales up to u-19 level.

Trey Nyoni

Trey Nyoni became Liverpool’s third-youngest debutant and youngest-ever FA Cup player when he was introduced from the bench against Southampton this week.

Only Jerome Sinclair (16 years and six days) and Harvey Elliott (16 years 174 days) have represented Liverpool at a younger age than Nyoni, who is a new arrival at Anfield after signing from Leicester in September. The 16-year-old has wasted no time in rising through the ranks with a swift promotion to the u-21s and senior set-up, having marked his u-18 debut with a late Merseyside Derby winner against Everton.

 

Incredibly, Nyoni was born four days before Fernando Torres signed for Liverpool in 2007. Feel old yet?

Read – Premier League weekend: Eight talking points

See more – Ranking the Premier League teams with the most set-piece goals this season

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