Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp believes the club’s decision not to send their emerging young talent out on loan will pay dividends for the club over the long term.
The Reds’ Academy has been getting plenty of credit this season with the likes of Ben Woodburn, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ovie Ejaria making the first-team breakthrough, while Harry Wilson has been impressing for their Under-23s.
However, while Klopp insists he can’t take the credit for the emergence of the club’s talented youngsters, he does believe keeping them at the club and allowing them to train with the first-team squad – as opposed to sending them out on loan – has proved a shrewd move.
“The players were already there and I had nothing to do with the development of Ben, Trent or Ovie,” Klopp told the Liverpool Echo.
“I don’t think 40 or 50 minutes of football or whatever are enough to get the credit for what the players have done.
“Ovie is maybe a bit different because we saw him and liked him and decided to push him a little bit more. But there was no chance to oversee Trent and Ben for example.
“If they are very young then clubs in the past have sent them on loan and I don’t think it is the perfect situation.
“It’s much better that we can work with them together on football at the highest level.
“We want to create an under-23 team that is really strong. The centre-backs (Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori) are experienced which is unusual, but all the rest are very young, really skilled, they enjoy playing together and they are getting better results.
“If you are the best player in your team at 15 everyone takes you to the under-17s and the next day you feel like the small guy in a forest with only big trees.
“That is one way of education and you need to use situations like this, but being in a very good team and scoring 25 to 30 goals a season should still be possible so that’s why we changed it a little bit. There is not one solution for all of our situations.”
Klopp on Liverpool loans
Klopp insists he has not turned his back entirely on sending some players out on loan – and believes the system is important to gauge whether a player has what it takes to succeed at Anfield.
“We still sent players out on loan by the way. It’s not that we stopped doing this completely, but yes there are fewer,” Klopp added.
“It’s England so we have a lot of players in the squad. Nobody forces you to make a decision on them now so you can send them on loan and see what happens.
“You send them out, pay the bill and see if they come back better than before and more experienced or whatever.”