It will take just over two weeks for Liverpool to return to pre-season preparations, with Jurgen Klopp hoping this time to begin preparations for a much-improved season.
Liverpool finished outside the Champions League places for the first time in six years last season, and pre-season will be key to ensuring the Reds get back into the mix.
They are starting those preparations with at least one new signing as Alexis Mac Allister joins his new teammates following a move from Brighton.
But he won’t be the only one looking to impress in training, with several youngsters looking to force Klopp’s plans.
Our writers have picked who they think could be the breakout star of 2023/24:
Theo Squires: Ben Doak was the name on everyone’s lips at the Academy level last season and for good reason.
The teenager joined from Celtic for £600,000 last summer and having played in an Old Firm derby for the Hoops as a 16-year-old, it was clear from the start that he was someone to watch. When he started with the Reds’ Under-18s, the striker was always quick to climb the ladder.
He would score on his debut for the Under-18s against Middlesbrough, Under-19s in the UEFA Youth League against Napoli and Under-21s against Accrington Stanley in the Papa John’s Trophy before scoring the winner for Barry Lewtas’ side against Everton . on his first U21 start. In all, from PL2, UEFA Youth League, U18 Premier League and Papa John’s Trophy action, he scored an impressive 11 goals and eight assists from just 27 appearances.
But the 17-year-old is much more than “cold stats” at youth level. Aside from the goals and assists, he is a truly exciting player who gets fans on their feet and shows no fear whatever the level.
It’s that confidence that led Jurgen Klopp to give him his senior debut in November when he was just 16 against Derby County. While there would be no first goal this time around, he continued to beat players for fun, with former Everton player Lucas Digne being a memorable later victim as Doak made his Premier League debut against Aston Villa.
Last season he finished with five first-team appearances and 2023/24 is set to be a real breakthrough year for Doak. He will have pre-season to impress, with the domestic cups offering obvious senior opportunities in the coming months. Being named in the Europa League squad also proves to be a great platform for the striker.
And if this sharp trajectory continues, don’t bet he leaves a mark in January when Mohamed Salah leaves for AFCON duty. Liverpool fans got the most promising glimpses of Doak last season, but that was just the beginning.
Joe Rimmer: Ben Doak may be the youngster most fans expect to step up next season, but supporters could be forgiven for forgetting that he’s not the only exciting young striker on Liverpool’s books at the moment.
Indeed, do not fall asleep Kai Gordon, who will no doubt be desperate to make up for lost time when the season kicks off.
This is a young man who has been pursued by Manchester United and could cost as much as £3 million if he lives up to his potential. It may not sound like much, but it’s actually quite an investment for a player who was only 16 at the time. And Liverpool showed their confidence in Gordon by moving back to Derby months later, paying a further £500,000 to remove a sell-on clause in his deal.
Labeled ‘special’ by Jurgen Klopp last year, Gordon made four appearances for the Reds in 2021-22, making his debut at just 16 years old and becoming Liverpool’s second-youngest ever goalscorer with a goal against Shrewsbury in the FA Cup, just a few months later. He was also highly rated by Wayne Rooney during his time at Derby.
Agile, fast and still only 18 years old, Gordon was way ahead of others in his age group before he got injured. He has not played at any level for 16 months, but with any luck he will soon be back in full training and part of Liverpool’s preparations for the season.
If all goes according to plan, Doak will have competition as the most exciting young winger at Anfield.
Tom Caville: A perfect opportunity has arisen for Conor Bradley following his hugely impressive loan spell in League One last season.
The 19-year-old made a total of 53 appearances for Bolton Wanderers in all competitions, with seven goals and six assists as Ian Evatt’s side finished in the play-offs.
In terms of temporary moves, Bradley’s move to Bolton will go down in the books as one of the best Liverpool have made in recent times. As is often the case with such deals, Liverpool players can compete for first-team minutes and then see their stay cut short in January. For the teenage defenseman, the opposite was true, as he became a virtual ever-present in the Whites’ side.
Jurgen Klopp returns to the Reds as a more versatile player and should turn to the teenager next season as a rotating option. A move away from a traditional right-back role, with Trent Alexander-Arnold playing a reversed full-back, could complicate things, but opportunities should nonetheless arise for the Northern Ireland international.
Calvin Ramsay’s move to Preston North End will only boost his chances of a first-team claim, with Liverpool now short of options in this area. The early stages of the Europa League could be the perfect platform for Klopp to experiment with Bradley, which could see the youngster being called up more regularly.
St Killen: Last season saw the likes of Ben Doak and Stefan Bajcetic come onto the scene as they both enjoyed impressive spells in the Liverpool first team. With the current bloated climate surrounding the transfer market, the Reds could delve into their arsenal of talent in Kirkby to unearth the next gem and save them millions.
As Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip approach the end of their peak years, soon enough it will be necessary to supplement their defensive structure – as we are seeing in midfield following the arrival of Alexis Mac Allister and talks about some of the hottest U21 teams. prospects in Europe.
For the Reds, Joey Barton has already told them that Jarell Quansah could be the answer to any transmission problems in the future.
The 20-year-old returns to Liverpool fresh off his first loan spell in men’s football at Bristol Rovers. His experience in League One was far from plane sailing after coming to the end of the season in January with 16 appearances under the former Premier League midfielder.
While there were difficult moments, including a reckless tackle that resulted in a red card, the Gas boss tipped Quansah to go to the top, suggesting he will be “bigger, stronger and better with a huge future ahead of him” after his experiences at the memorial site.
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