Premier League • England

Manager makes ‘almost criminal’ claim over ‘wonderful’ Liverpool star as loan deal ripped up

Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray, December 2021

Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray has admitted regret at agreeing with Liverpool to cut short the loan deal for Leighton Clarkson.

The 20-year-old midfielder signed up to a spell with Rovers for the campaign in August. There were subsequently high hopes for his development in Lancashire.

Indeed, fellow Liverpool youngster Harvey Elliott spent last term at Blackburn – also under Mowbray – and advanced straight into Jurgen Klopp’s first team.

However, Clarkson has not enjoyed a similar run. He has only played seven games, including three as a substitute.

With Blackburn flying high in second in the Championship, Mowbray has been reluctant to chop and change his team too much, therefore restricting Clarkson’s chances.

Still, Mowbray has said that he ultimately regrets the situation for a player he has called “wonderful”.

“Over the last couple of months, when the team have really hit the ground running, it’s been very difficult for him to get in,” the manager told Blackburn’s official website.

“He’s a wonderful footballer with a wonderful weight of pass and amazing vision. He hits all sorts of passes and looks a fantastic player in training.

Liverpool shortlist Bukayo Saka as a summer target

Reports suggest Arsenal and England forward Bukayo Saka would be willing to move to Liverpool, if the chance arose.

“A boy with the amount of talent that he has, he has to be playing football. It’s almost criminal that he sits on a bench rather than playing on a Saturday or a Tuesday.

“I hope he can find a club where he can play a lot and show what a good player he is.”

Clarkson is one of a few Liverpool youngsters who are impressing in the midfield ranks of late.

Elliott, 18, made an instant impression in the Premier League before his nasty ankle injury in September, from which he is only just close to returning.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Tyler Morton has played seven first-team games for the Reds this term.

Liverpool miss out on midfielder

Kacper Kozlowski Poland

In other news, Liverpool have missed out on the signing of Kacper Kozlowski after Brighton announced a deal for the Polish star.

The central midfielder’s displays for Polish side Pogoń Szczecin were so strong that he has already become a regular in the national side despite his tender age.

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte in strong position to sign star AC Milan duo

As such, Liverpool were among the throng of clubs showing interest in snapping up the 18-year-old.

However, on Wednesday, Brighton confirmed the arrival of Kozlowski for an undisclosed fee.