5 More Liverpool Youngsters Who Could Get a Chance Against Reading
Liverpool resume their stuttering Premier League campaign this weekend with a home fixture against Reading, who have suffered a tough start to life in the top flight and are without a win from their six games thus far.
The Reds have only picked up one win themselves—but will be hopeful of doubling that tally with a win at Anfield over the newly promoted team.
Coming just three days after most senior players should return from international duty, manager Brendan Rodgers might find he has several of his preferred first XI struggling to be 100 percent match fit for the game.
Daniel Agger has notoriously struggled to play too many consecutive games and has been in the Denmark side twice over the past week, while Martin Skrtel suffered a knock playing for Slovakia.
Pepe Reina (in the half-time warmup vs. France) also needs to undergo fitness examinations while England under-21 duo Jack Robinson and Andre Wisdom missed the second-leg victory at Serbia.
For England, Glen Johnson and Steven Gerrard saw their match postponed because of bad weather and may have to play one day later—and Luis Suarez and Seb Coates both have to contend with long journeys from South America after being in the high altitude city of La Paz for Uruguay's defeat to Bolivia.
With limited senior players in reserve to call on, it might be that Rodgers plans to dip into the impressive pool of talent from Liverpool's under 18 and under 21 squads—and here are five players who might get the call to help out the first team this weekend.
Right-back Ryan McLaughlin is almost a certainty to get his chance at some point this season, but that moment could be accelerated to this weekend.
With Martin Kelly out on a long-term injury, Jon Flanagan not recovered, Wisdom and Robinson picking up knocks for England under-21s and Glen Johnson returning to the club late, there is a real possible shortage at full-back for the Reds.
While Jose Enrique and potentially Stewart Downing are options for the left, under-21 Northern Irish defender McLaughlin has already impressed with the first team in preseason on the right side and should be considered a realistic option.
Excellent going forward, technically capable on the ball, with pace to get beyond his man and defensively aware of his responsibilities, McLaughlin has a great chance of making the grade at Liverpool and a debut this weekend would be richly deserved.
Ostensibly a holding midfielder, Conor Coady might be required to take his place on the bench this weekend for the Reds after impressing enough to be asked to train for the entire season with the first team at Melwood.
Coady is a reliable passer of the ball who is committed in the tackle, reads the game well and leads by example.
With Lucas still out and question marks over the timely return and fitness of Steven Gerrard, a sub's spot may open up on the bench for another midfielder.
Coady will be next in line out of the youngsters to get a chance in this role.
If the first choice pairing of Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger are unavailable for Liverpool's defence this weekend, Jamie Carragher and Sebastian Coates stand ready and waiting to step up.
Despite not playing for his country, however, Coates has had a long journey and will likely not return to Liverpool until just a couple of days before the Reading match, putting his participation in question too.
Stephen Sama has been part of the Reds' squad in preseason and in cup competitions, but has yet to make his competitive debut.
Playing alongside Jakub Sokolik for the under-21 team this season, Sama has progressed nicely for the past couple of seasons and his strong aerial ability, pace and love of switching play from the back mark him out as a talented youngster.
Liverpool are certainly faced with something of a shortage of numbers up front in the centre forward's position.
Luis Suarez has just faced one of football's most testing conditions, playing at the high altitude of La Paz for Uruguay and will also have a long journey home.
With Andy Carroll out on loan and Fabio Borini injured, there are no other senior strikers available to Brendan Rodgers.
Samed Yesil then might get another chance, at least from the bench, to show how he can translate his international youth form to club level.
Prior to Tuesday's internationals, Yesil had hit 31 goals in 32 appearances at all age levels for Germany.
One or two at club level would certainly not go amiss as the Reds search for goals in the Premier League.
By far the most experienced of the younger players with his 16 Reds appearances to date, Dani Pacheco is probably not even classed as a "youngster" any more.
Certainly he is a club reserve though and still looking to have his impact on the first team. With Borini also missing from contributing to the wide forward areas because of his injury, Joe Cole's continued indifference to quality and fitness and the general poor form of Stewart Downing, Pacheco might well get another chance to be on the bench for the Reds.
Suso, Raheem Sterling and Oussama Assaidi are all ahead of him for now but if the Spaniard is handed a spot on the bench, he can have few qualms about not making it in the Liverpool first team if he cannot have an impact against a struggling Reading team.
In all likelihood, it is not probable that Liverpool will need more than one or perhaps two of these younger players to figure in the match-day squad.
The players listed as either carrying knocks or facing delays in returning to the club should, for the most part, still be able to contribute some part toward Liverpool's fixture.
But if one or two spots do become available in the match-day squad, Rodgers knows that so far his turns to the youth set up have paid dividends—and any of these five could reap the same rewards if they are called upon.