There are several promising Academy talents on Liverpool’s roster who are hoping to join Jurgen Klopp’s squad
For many players, whatever of the route taken to get there, making their first-team Liverpool debut is a memory they won’t soon forget.
This momentous event came unexpectedly for Academy prospect Harvey Blair in October of last year when Jurgen Klopp’s team played Preston North End in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup. Blair’s professional debut occurred before he had made his under-23s debut at this stage, when he was still an under-18s player.
The 19-year-old was pushed into the spotlight at Deepdale as Klopp decided to rest a number of veteran players. He has fought his way through the levels after joining the club from Manchester United at the under-12 level.
Blair said to Liverpoolfc.com how he learned about this opportunity: “It was Thursday and I was supposed to be playing with the U23s against Blackburn. One of my team members texted me and asked, “How come you’re not in the team? It’s just been put in the U23s group.” Wow, how come I’m not on the U23s team, I wondered. I didn’t give it much thought.
“Then [U23s analyst] Ray Shearwood called me and said, “You’re not going to play with the U23s because Jurgen wants you up there to train. On Monday, when we trained, I did pretty well. I was performing pretty well and having a great session while playing right wing.
I was overcome by anxiety as everything piled on top of me. I just said, “I’m going to play for Liverpool, my team,” in that moment. It was such a bizarre time.
Blair made the most of his brief appearance and went on to finish the 2021–2022 season with 14 goals across all competitions. Since then, he has moved up to Barry Lewtas’ under-23s squad. The attacker, who can play either flank or in the middle of the attack, scored his first goal of the current season during the Reds’ thrilling 3-3 draw with Tottenham Hotspur last month.
Another goal for Blair is likely to be avoiding a protracted period of inactivity in addition to developing a habit of contributing in the final third. The Huddersfield-born winger’s debut season with the under-18s was cut short by a hamstring injury, which prevented him from playing more than four league games appearances.
If Blair could maintain his fitness, he would “start to show what he is about”—a task the player has since graciously accepted as he waits for additional opportunities to grab Klopp’s eye.
The kid will need to exercise patience in the coming months as he waits for his first Premier League 2 start of the year. His main priority, however, should be to replace Lewtas‘ available attacking alternatives.