Liverpool's lack of depth this season is widely known, and with 11 players (including Jay Spearing and Andy Carroll) leaving the club during the transfer window and just five coming in, as well as Joe Cole and Dani Pacheco returning from loan, Liverpool will now rely on their prestigious academy for quality backup. Players such as Adam Morgan and Jordan Ibe took an active part in Liverpool's American tour, and Raheem Sterling is already getting rave reviews playing on the right side. It's fair to say though, that Liverpool has not produced a star since the likes of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. There have been good players like Martin Kelly, but many (John Welsh, Jon Ostemoboor) have simply fallen into the lower leagues after failing to fulfill such potential.
However, a close view of the reserves could change all this. Top young quality can be found from Conor Coady to Michel Ngoo, but it's not them who has the potential to be one of the best technical players in the world. Back in the days of Rafa Benitez, the Spanish manager scoured his homeland and managed to convince a young man to turn down Real Madrid and Barcelona and help revamp the academy with new technical coaches Rodolfo Borrell and Pep Segura. Jesus Joaquin "Suso" Fernandez Saez de La Torre, the boy from Cadiz, showed that the Spanish contingent refuses to die out at Liverpool, and for good reason.
Anyone who watches the reserves on a regular basis will know the ability the attacking midfielder, come winger, come striker has on and off the ball. He plays very much like Andres Iniesta, with a fantastic touch and a brilliant dribbling ability, matched with an exceptional passing ability. He is able to dictate the play from any position he plays, and the 5'9" Spaniard is exactly the type of player Brendan Rodgers wants to have—he has grown up playing the 4-3-3 Tika-taka style football from an early age.
With the experience of two world class youth coaches guiding him towards the first team in Borrell and Segura, and also with the added help from Mike Marsh and the rest of the Academy team, it won't be long before he is playing along side Steven Gerrard, Nuri Sahin, Lucas and Joe Allen in the heart of the Liverpool squad.
Looking at the team, you could in fact make the point that Joe Allen and Suso both play their game in a very similar way to Xavi and Iniesta respectively. Allen is the pass master in the Liverpool midfield, and will chase and press anything that moves until possession returns to the Reds. Suso will be more of a box-to-box midfielder, yet will still have immense vision and passing ability. The style he plays means he could be a major influence, both in Liverpool's technical set-up but also results alone. It will also be another win for the academy, as they hope to bring in the other potential players as well.
It will take time for Suso to break into the team (if issues with his temperament are to be believed and the physicality of first team football will take time to sort), and Adam Morgan is more of an orthodox striker to play, but Spain played an advanced playmaker in the mold of Suso in Cesc Fabregas during the Euros, so could we expect Brendan Rodgers to do the same?
With two recognized strikers, he may have to take the chance. With quality Spanish custodians in pass master Xabi Alonso, goalscorer Fernando Torres, goalkeeper Pepe Reina and more already making their mark in the Liverpool team, perhaps it's time for a new one to light up Anfield. Step up Jesus Joaquin "Suso" Fernandez Saez de La Torre.
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