Loving the Liverpool whiz kids
Life at Liverpool might be providing Brendan Rodgers with plenty of headaches, but his talented teenagers are at least handing him and the Anfield faithful hope for the future. Here, the Life’s a Pitch panellists take a closer look at the impact made by the likes of Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom and Suso on the red half of Merseyside.
There may not have been too much to shout about in terms of results so far this season, but according to Dominic Fifield of the Guardian, the club should be feeling chipper about the progress of their academy. “Liverpool have been waiting to see evidence of their youth system providing first-team players again for some time. That was a big criticism – even under Steve Heighway, when he was in charge of the academy under Gérard Houllier and beyond. It’s a different kind of recruitment nowadays, where a lot of the kids are brought in at great expense, including Raheem Sterling. Of this season’s crop, Sterling is the one who has made the biggest impact. Watching him bounce off tackles against Stoke was impressive.”
Footballer-turned-journalist Adrian Clarke is also impressed by the kids, but wonders if Rodgers is being forced to blood them simply because his senior players aren’t up to the job. He says: “Liverpool don’t have a very strong squad. It’s fairly weak in a lot of areas and you can see this by the fact that the manager is blooding so many young players. They are really talented young players, but he’s having to play them because they’re actually better than those he inherited from Kenny Dalglish.”
But despite the undoubted potential of Liverpool’s youngsters, the Mail on Sunday’s Ian Ridley fears that Rodgers’ reputation is being tarnished by results and the Being: Liverpool TV documentary. “At Swansea he [Rodgers] was seen as this promising, enlightened young figure, and that’s fine out of the spotlight. But when you’re in the spotlight at Anfield, particularly with this TV documentary which has shown him to be a bit of a David Brent character, he’s got to be careful he’s not seen as some kind of false guru.”
Watch the full video discussion by clicking on the play button in the image above.
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