Liverpool Youngsters Who Can Become Stars
Jordon Ibe was rewarded for an impressive preseason with a start in the second round victory over Notts County as well as frequent appearances on the substitutes bench this season, but what about the next set of young players?
Here are five who have yet to make an appearance in Brendan Rodgers' first team plans, but who could find themselves forcing their way into them soon.
Jack Dunn was recently the least familiar name on the Liverpool scoresheet as the U21 side came from two goals down to beat Sunderland counterparts 5-2, with summer signing Luis Alberto grabbing a hat-trick and Raheem Sterling adding the other goal.
Playing with such players is only likely to improve the game of the club's former U16 and U18 captain, who is capable of performing both in midfield and upfront.
Dunn faces a fierce battle for a place in the Liverpool team given the competition in his positions, but the club clearly rate him and at just 18 years old he's going to be given time to achieve his goal of first team football.
Liverpool U21s' recent 2-0 win at Manchester City may have made headlines for the stunning goal scored by forward Adam Morgan—a magical moment, but we're not including him here because he's already played in the first team—but it also saw a composed defensive display from Rafa Paez.
The 19-year-old Spaniard slipped in under the radar when he signed for the Reds from Real Madrid on transfer deadline day following an impressive trial period, but he has plenty of attributes which will allow him to be a success.
Liverpool's army of centre-backs will make it difficult for him to break into the first team, but the towering son of a former Spanish triple jumper looks intelligent and classy enough to stand a good chance.
Also on the scoresheet in that win at City's Ewen Fields was midfielder Cameron Brannagan, who has risen through the ranks at the Reds since joining aged eight.
Another player highly thought of at the club and praised for his studiousness, the 17-year-old has moved above others in his age bracket and benefited from Ibe and Sterling's involvement in the first team to earn U21 action on the flanks.
Brannagan is also capable of playing behind the lone forward, and if he keeps on progressing at this rate then he's likely to keep his place with the U21s and take more steps on a well-trodden path towards Rodgers' first team.
Lloyd Jones could be considered to be closer than any of his contemporaries to the first team were it not for the vast array of centre-backs in Rodgers' plans, but his form has indicated that he could be good enough to challenge them.
The English-born Welsh youth international was an unused substitute in the Premier League win at Fulham at the tail end of last season. Now established as the senior defender in the U21 side, Jones has got a good platform upon which to build.
Part of the team which reached the FA Youth Cup semi-finals last season, Jones will hope that a good campaign in Alex Inglethorpe's side will see him stay in the mind of the first team boss—he's got the talent to do so.
Joao Carlos Teixeira
Whilst the other players on this list continue to learn their trade at Liverpool, Portuguese youngster Joao Carlos Teixeira has moved elsewhere for first team football.
Having joined Liverpool from Sporting Lisbon in January 2012 following impressive displays against the Reds in the NextGen series, the attacking midfielder will hope to use his time at Griffin Park to develop his game even further following an impressive beginning.