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Liverpool’s Curtis Jones, Rafael Camacho, and Conor Masterson offer hope after a drab Merseyside derby

Three Liverpool academy graduates made the bench against Everton.

Max Cohen

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Liverpool
Photo: Getty Images

The 231st Merseyside derby provided little cheer for Liverpool supporters, as the Reds played out a dismal 0-0 draw, with fierce rivals Everton enjoying the better of the goalscoring chances.

Yet, amid the lacklustre result, three players named on the bench should give the Liverpool faithful many reasons to be cheerful.

Jurgen Klopp named Curtis Jones, Rafael Camacho, and Conor Masterson as substitutes against Everton, all highly-regarded academy teenagers who represent the future of the club.

Curtis Jones is a local lad who plays in the centre of midfield, turning in a number of eye-catching performances for the U-23’s this season.

Jones has a wonderful passing range, with splayed cross-field passes a constant fixture of his game.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The 17-year-old has invited comparisons to Kop legend Steven Gerrard, and both play with that driving, purposeful, yet skillful style.

Joining Jones on the bench was fellow 17-year-old attacker Rafael Camacho, a Portuguese youth international signed from Manchester City in 2016.

Camacho boasts a dizzying array of wonderful solo goals, punctuated by sharp turns that leave defenders helpless and finished with barnstorming smashed strikes.

Dangerous cutting in from the left, running in behind defences, and taking set pieces alike, Camacho has the potential to be a top talent for the Reds.

Even more impressive, the youngster was tipped by Steven Gerrard, as reported by the Liverpool Echoto become a top wing-back, even though it is not his favoured position.

And, last but not least, 19-year-old centre-half Conor Masterson completed the teenage trio on the bench for the Merseyside derby.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Masterson is a former captain U-18’s and now plays regularly for the U-23’s, while also featuring at youth level for his native Ireland.

He joined the Reds back in 2012 as a 13-year-old and has shone as a defender who is also comfortable with his feet and can start attacks from the back.

Klopp named Masterson to the bench for the massive Champions League tie against Manchester City on Wednesday, a further sign of the German’s confidence in the Irishman.

These three bright talents have the potential to form the backbone of the club’s future, adding to the proud traditions of academy graduates starring for the first team.

As the season progresses, look out for Jones, Camacho, and Masterson to make their full debuts and show their worth for Liverpool.

Max is a journalist studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Max specialises in English football and co-hosts a weekly podcast. He is also a politics reporter and deputy news editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Liverpool

Liverpool round-up: Grujic bid rejected; interest in Karius; Brewster nears return

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Photo: Getty Images.

Liverpool have rejected a bid for Marko Grujic

The transfer window may have closed in England but it remains open until Friday in Italy and reports from the Liverpool Echo say that the Reds have turned down an approach from Serie A side Torino for midfielder Marko Grujic. The deal was reportedly a season long loan with an option to buy worth 10 million euros (£9 million).

The Serbian was heavily involved in pre-season after impressing for Cardiff City on loan last season and was expected to return to Wales after helping them earn promotion but a move collapsed.

Besiktas are considering a move for Loris Karius

Turkish newspaper Aksam claim that Besiktas have emerged as candidates to sign German goalkeeper Loris Karius on loan to provide him with an Anfield escape having lost the number one shirt to Alisson Becker after his Champions League final nightmare in Kiev in May.

Jurgen Klopp’s plans for the goalkeeper remain unclear despite publicly giving him a vote of confidence and a loan deal may be an ideal solution. Much could depend on the Turkish team’s pursuit of other targets, including Arsenal‘s David Ospina.

Rhian Brewster is nearing a return to fitness

It was a major blow to Liverpool’s plans for young striker Rhian Brewster when he picked up a serious ankle ligament injury in January, but under 23s manager Neil Critchley has told Goal that he could return to light training as soon as next month after a summer of rehabilitation.

“I’m sure he’ll be doing a few people’s heads in down at Melwood, chomping at the bit and ready to return! He’ll be quite restless. He’s a young boy who loves playing football and wants to play football, so he’ll hugely frustrated at the moment.”

Liverpool under 23s manager Neil Critchley has backed his striker.

The 18-year-old was training alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to rebuild fitness after signing a new deal to commit himself to the Merseyside outfit despite interest from elsewhere.

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Two years after Jurgen Klopp phonecall Liverpool are not missing out on Ben Brereton

Liverpool wanted the young striker, but he is now struggling for football at Nottingham Forest.

Mathew Nash

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When Ben Brereton burst onto the scene at Nottingham Forest it was widely welcomed by Reds fans. The talented teenager had an excellent 2016-17 with Forest and, despite his struggles in front of goal last term, still had another productive season.

It led to plenty of reports of Premier League interest, including from Liverpool.

As reported by The Sun, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was reportedly looking into the signing of Brereton back in the winter of 2017.

The report claimed that after impressing Klopp in an FA Youth Cup game against Liverpool in 2016 the German called Forest academy chief Gary Brazil to ‘personally enquire’ about his services.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Liverpool were again linked with him that summer before the talented youngster signed a new contract at the City Ground.

But, fast forward 18 months and Liverpool fans will probably feel they are not missing out.

The striker can no longer find his way into the Forest matchday squad, after the arrivals of Lewis Grabban and Hilal El-Arbi Soudani this summer.

It has even led to Blackburn Rovers trying to sign him on the final day of the transfer window.

Of course, he is still young and has a bright future in the game. But Liverpool will surely feel he is perhaps not at the level needed to make it at Anfield after his recent struggles.

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Three reasons Joe Gomez can cement a regular starting-role at Liverpool

The Englishman impressed in the Reds’ opening fixture against West Ham.

Liam Thomas

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Joe Gomez
Photo: Getty Images

Multiple injuries to Liverpool‘s back line meant that 21-year-old Joe Gomez has started the season as Liverpool’s centre-back alongside the world’s most expensive defender Virgil Van Dijk.

It has long been argued that the centre-back position is Gomez’ best and, on the opening day of the season against West Ham, Jurgen Klopp gave the nod to the youngster to start in his favoured role.

There is no better time than the present for Gomez to seize the opportunity that has come his way, showcase his talents and lay down the foundations to a potential lengthy partnership at the heart of Liverpool’s defence with Van Dijk.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

1. Seize the opportunity

Gomez has the perfect opportunity in front of him to cement his name into Jurgen Klopp’s plans, and he needs to seize this with some solid performances and clean sheets to match.

You only have to look back as far as last season to see a youngster in the Liverpool ranks take hold of an opportunity.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was given a chance to start in Klopp’s first XI after Nathaniel Clyne was injured during preseason, and remains Liverpool’s first choice right-back this campaign, despite Clyne’s return.

21-year-old Gomez now finds himself in the same position, with the Reds other centre back choices injured or unavailable.

2. Gomez’ performance against West Ham

Gomez and the Liverpool back line had a relatively quiet afternoon against West Ham. However, the youngster performed well when called upon and showed glimpses of a potentially perfect partnership with Virgil Van Dijk.

An attribute Gomez displayed during the game was his ability to play it out from the back – a trait that is extremely useful in Jurgen Klopp’s possession-based setup.

The centre-back had a 92% pass accuracy from the game.

This is something Liverpool’s other centre-back options have struggled to maintain during their time in the first XI, especially Dejan Lovren.

3. Gomez’ time at full-back gives him the edge

Gomez’ time playing full-back for the Reds last season gives him an edge over his counterparts and allows Jurgen Klopp’s defence to have a bit of versatility.

Lovren seems to struggle when he has to be brought out wide, and Gomez looks a lot more comfortable than the Croatian when he has to go into either channel of the pitch.

The 21-year-old also showed glimpses of his ability to get forward during Liverpool’s opening fixture, a trait he has picked up during his time at full-back and an extra weapon for Klopp to consider in his attacking arsenal.

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