We run through everything you need to know about Liverpool’s crop of talented youngsters, many of whom played a key role in Sunday’s EFL Cup final win over Chelsea.

Don’t worry, you weren’t the only person who didn’t recognise half the names in the Liverpool team by full-time or half the faces of the youngsters lifting the trophy.

Such was the injury crisis that Liverpool were enduring, Jürgen Klopp was forced to name a vastly inexperienced squad for Sunday’s EFL Cup final at Wembley. While his starting XI was largely made up of players accustomed to playing regularly for him, the game went to extra time and Klopp was forced to turn to his bench for young reinforcements, and lots of them.

They ended up with four youngsters on the pitch when Virgil van Dijk headed Kostas Tsimikas’ corner home in the 118th minute, ensuring the Liverpool manager had his faith in youth repaid. He gushed at full-time about the “overwhelming feeling” at winning “the most special trophy I have ever won.”

“I was proud of everyone involved in everything here,” Klopp said. “I was proud of our people for the way they pushed us, I was proud of the staff for creating this kind of atmosphere where these boys can just do what they are best at. I was proud of our academy, I was proud of my coaches, I was proud of so many things.”

Liverpool squad depth 23-24

The players naturally enjoyed the celebrations following the final whistle, but there is no let-up for Klopp and his players. The games keep coming thick and fast because they are still battling on three more fronts, starting with Wednesday’s FA Cup last-16 tie against Southampton. With Liverpool’s injury problems looking like they could persist, we’ll likely see some more unfamiliar names on the pitch at Anfield this week and possibly beyond.

So, who are the youngsters Klopp has been throwing in at the deep end? And how many of them came through the ranks at Liverpool? Here, we run through the names in question.

Bobby Clark

Son of former Newcastle, Sunderland and Fulham midfielder Lee, Bobby Clark is an attacking midfielder who can also play across the frontline. He was handed his Liverpool debut from the bench in Liverpool’s 9-0 win over Bournemouth in August 2022 having moved from Newcastle a year earlier, but that was his only league appearance of that whole season. He has been made to wait for more opportunities, but already in 2023-24 he has made four substitute appearances in the Premier League, as well as coming off the bench at Arsenal in an FA Cup win.

He is a confident young player, bold in possession, and a constant creative threat, in part because he always tries to make things happen to affect the game in the final third. Only Tottenham’s Jamie Donley (29) has created more chances from open play in Premier League 2 this season than Clark (23). Sometimes he might try too much, though; he also ranks in the top 10 for dribbles attempted (43), but drops way down for completed dribbles, having been successful with only 12 of them.

bobby clark open play chances created PL2

James McConnell

McConnell is a central midfielder who joined from Sunderland in 2019. He made his senior debut against Toulouse in the group stage of this season’s Europa League, and a couple of weeks later played in the Premier League for the first time, coming off the bench in the 3-0 win over Brentford.

Then, at the start of this year, he started in the FA Cup fourth-round win over Norwich and registered an assist, setting up Curtis Jones for the opening goal of the game with a well-weighted ball to the far post. He ended up playing 79 minutes as Liverpool’s deepest midfielder, ranking third on the pitch for total touches (87) and also completing an impressive 88.9% of his passes. While he stands out for his technical ability, he also does plenty of good work to win the ball back; in PL2 this season, he averages 4.5 tackles per 90 – more than any other player with at least 500 minutes played.

Jayden Danns

Jayden is the son of former Liverpool academy player Neil Danns, who went on to play for Crystal Palace, Leicester and Birmingham in a 23-year playing career, and is now assistant manager at Tranmere Rovers. Danns junior has spent his entire youth career with Liverpool, and his passion for the club was there for all to see when he was caught on camera heartily belting out You’ll Never Walk Alone during the post-match celebrations on Sunday.

Danns is an attack-minded player who can play in midfield or further forward and – as he showed at Wembley – provides a consistent goal threat. Twice he came close to breaking the deadlock before Van Dijk’s winner.

He had made his Liverpool debut just a few days earlier, coming off the bench during last Wednesday’s 4-1 win over Luton, when he played a part in Harvey Elliott’s late goal.

Danns only made his debut for the club’s U21s in September, having scored at will for the U18s. He is providing 1.1 goals or assists per 90 minutes in PL2 this season, showing just how often he makes telling contributions in front of goal. He also recently caught the eye in Liverpool’s 7-1 FA Youth Cup win over Arsenal with two well-taken goals from outside the box.

His rise is made all the more impressive by the fact he missed eight months of football as a 15-year-old as he was suffering from Osgood-Schlatter’s disease as a result of his growth spurt. You wouldn’t know it.

Jarell Quansah

When Quansah was on loan at League One Bristol Rovers in the second half of last season, few could have predicted he’d play such an important role at his parent club this term. Having been with Liverpool from the age of five, he is now living the dream as a back-up member – albeit a very important one – of his boyhood club’s squad.

The 21-year-old centre-back only made his debut in August, thrown into testing circumstances at Newcastle with his team a goal and a man – and not just any man – down after Van Dijk’s early red card. Liverpool came from behind to win that game and Quansah has never looked back.

He has started 15 games in all competitions this season, including playing the full 90 minutes in the FA Cup win at Arsenal when Liverpool kept a clean sheet against one of the best teams in the country, and five starts in the Premier League. Quansah isn’t known for his creativity but he ended the EFL Cup 2023-24 campaign as the joint-leader in the assists charts, with three – those coming against Fulham, West Ham and Leicester.

He also scored his first senior goal for the club in the 2-1 defeat at Union St Gilloise in the Europa League group stage.

Conor Bradley

Bradley’s rise has been so rapid that he feels ever so slightly out of place in this list.

He moved to Liverpool from Northern Ireland in 2021, making his debut a couple of months later in the EFL Cup, but following a year on loan at Bolton last season – where he won the League One club’s Player of the Season award – it has been since the turn of the year that he’s truly come alive in a Liverpool shirt.

conor bradley goal involvements

An injury to Trent Alexander-Arnold handed Bradley his first chance, and he impressed with an assist in a 4-0 win over Bournemouth in January. He then scored his first goal for the club in a 4-1 win over Chelsea a few days later, also providing two more assists. His record means that of players with at least 300 minutes played in the Premier League this season, only Kevin De Bruyne (1.35) and Mo Salah (1.21) are averaging more goal involvements per 90 than Bradley (1.19). Remember, he is a right-back.

Bradley was the only of the players on this list to start at Wembley.

Trey Nyoni

An unused sub at Wembley, Nyoni is still just 16 years of age and only joined Liverpool from Leicester last summer. He is yet to make a first-team appearance for the club, although he has been on the bench for a couple of Premier League matches as well as some cup games.

He scored a dramatic late winner for the club’s U18s on his home debut against rivals Everton, and only made his first appearance for the U21s in November. A technically gifted midfielder who loves to get on the ball, Nyoni is very tidy in possession, maintaining a pass completion rate of 91.5% across his appearances in PL2 this season.

Lewis Koumas

Another son of a former Premier League player, Lewis’ dad is former West Brom, Wigan and Cardiff City man Jason Koumas. He joined from Tranmere – where his father played – eight years ago and so has spent most of his youth career with Liverpool.

He is still yet to make a senior appearance for the club, but he has been an unused substitute in the Europa League on occasion before also being on the bench for Sunday’s EFL Cup final.

A wide forward or striker, Koumas has seven goals in PL2 this season, making him the competition’s eighth-highest scorer despite the fact he has only played 627 minutes – fewer than any other player near the top of the scoring charts. What’s more, his goals have come from just 2.9 expected goals – his overperformance of 4.1 compared to his xG is the second-highest in PL2 behind West Ham’s Callum Marshall (5.7). He also scored a hat-trick in the FA Youth Cup thrashing of Arsenal.

Lewis Koumas xg map

Kaide Gordon

Gordon is a 19-year-old wide attacker whom Liverpool brought in from Derby County in 2021 for a reported fee of £1 million. He made his debut for the club in an EFL Cup tie at Norwich in September, and then in January 2022 became the second-youngest goalscorer in the club’s history with an FA Cup third-round goal against Shrewsbury.

He made his Premier League debut shortly after that game but a series of injuries kept him out for the best part of 18 months, meaning he has only recently been able to return, making two appearances in 2023-24, one of which was a start against Union St Gilloise in the Europa League.

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