When Liverpool offered Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona at first of the switch window, Reds followers would have been forgiven for wanting a big-name substitute.
Lengthy-term Liverpool switch goal Thomas Lemar was one title thrown round, whereas the potential for bringing Naby Keita to Anfield six months early was additionally mooted.
However each concepts have been quashed with Jurgen Klopp wanting just a little nearer to residence to discover a deputy for the Brazilian schemer.
Teenage attacker Ben Woodburn had been set to affix Championship flops Sunderland on mortgage when Coutinho accomplished his £142m change to the Camp Nou.
However Klopp blocked that transfer when it turned obvious Liverpool’s No.10 was off. Now Woodburn seems set to stay at Anfield till the top of the season.
So, is he prepared to interrupt into the Reds’ first-team squad? We requested our pals at Soccer Whispers that very query.
Woodburn had been 17 for simply 45 days when he introduced himself to the Liverpool devoted by scoring in entrance of the Kop in an EFL Cup tie towards Leeds United in November 2016.
Seventy-two hours earlier the teenage expertise had been handed his Premier League debut from the bench, sarcastically towards Sunderland.
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However he instantly bettered that by turning into the youngest scorer within the membership’s historical past, beating Michael Owen’s long-standing file by 98 days.
The season completed with a primary league begin within the 2-1 win away at Stoke Metropolis, making him the Reds’ third-youngest starter within the Premier League period behind Owen and Jordon Ibe.
There was additionally the small matter of his first call-up by Wales, although he didn’t get off the bench towards the Republic of Eire, earlier than being nominated for European Golden Boy award.
It was clear Liverpool had one other attacking sensation on their arms. Questions shortly turned as to if Woodburn would make the step up into Klopp’s first-team plans this time period.
Closely concerned in pre-season, he has needed to be affected person since. Nonetheless, on the worldwide scene Woodburn’s wasted no time making his mark.
Thrown on for his debut within the 69th minute of Wales’ World Cup qualifier towards Austria in September, it took 5 minutes earlier than he arrowed residence a 25-yard strike to settle the tie.
A couple of days later he made one other well timed intervention, offering the help for Hal Robson-Kanu to attain and set Wales on their solution to a late win in Moldova.
It got here as little shock, subsequently, when Woodburn was named Wales’ Younger Participant of the 12 months three weeks later.
Inevitably, the clamour for Woodburn’s involvement was rising. And Klopp admitted the Chester-born ahead was able to play some half for the Reds in September.
“A very powerful factor is he’s not only a good footballer however an excellent, intelligent particular person,” stated Klopp, who has afforded the ahead simply 44 minutes of first-team motion this season.
“He’s prepared for taking part in in all completely different groups we now have. We give ourselves the liberty to be taught with the primary staff and play wherever we’d like him.”
Understandably the Liverpool boss is determined to keep away from placing stress on .
And he’s not alone. Ex-Reds and Wales striker Craig Bellamy believes the Anfield facet are doing the correct factor by easing him in.
“The membership know what they’re doing with him,” Bellamy stated. “I’m fully high quality with their plan for Ben – he’s a child who’s studying his commerce, and doing nicely sufficient.”
The chance hooked up to becoming a member of Sunderland – the place his former Wales coach Chris Coleman is now in cost – is the stress shall be an excessive amount of.
Dealing with as much as the prospect of consecutive relegations, the ambiance on the Stadium of Gentle is poisonous and no place for a younger participant studying his commerce.
Query marks about his finest place – be it up entrance or a extra withdrawn position – haven’t helped whereas, inevitably, his decision-making and consistency are consistent with a participant who has simply 578 minutes of senior first-team motion to his title.
What is going to assist his trigger, although, is the return of the Champions League subsequent month and Liverpool’s FA Cup involvement. It was within the latter that Woodburn featured most steadily final time period.
Supporters love nothing greater than seeing a homegrown participant bursting onto the scene.
The precedent is already there with Owen, Robbie Fowler and Woodburn’s present Underneath-19 coach, Steven Gerrard, whereas Trent Alexander-Arnold has benefitted from Klopp’s religion in youth.
If Woodburn has something like the identical influence that trio did, he shall be nicely on his solution to a high quality profession at Anfield and the choice to maintain him on the membership shall be vindicated.
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