Rhian Brewster will make make his long-awaited senior debut for Liverpool against MK Dons on Wednesday night.
The 19-year-old forward was first called up to the senior squad two-and-a-half years ago but has seen injuries curtail his development so far.
Who is Rhian Brewster? Five key facts…
- Position: Striker
- DoB: 01/04/00
- Nationality: English
- Club games/goals: 41/17 (youth level)
- Career path: Chelsea, Liverpool
However, Brewster was in Liverpool’s squad for both legs of their dramatic Champions League semi-final win over Barcelona last season and was even named on the bench in the second leg. At the time, Jurgen Klopp insisted the “exciting prospect” will get his chance this term.
“He is the next really exciting prospect,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website. “If you see him training… next season will be his season, his first real season.
“He is now physically an adult, he grew a lot, he worked a lot and the training session today was, to be honest, pretty impressive.
“He is with us, he is our player and we want to have him around. In this case, I thought, ‘Come on, it’s Barcelona, let’s give him a first sniff.’”
Before tonight’s game, Klopp’s assistant Lijnders has confirmed that Brewster was in contention to make his senior debut at Stadium MK in the Carabao Cup.
“Rhian [Brewster] is in contention. He’s waiting already for the time!” he said.
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“We look forward to seeing him and play like he likes to play. If he is just himself then everything will be fine.”
Harvey Elliot and goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher also start in what is set to be a much-rotated Liverpool side, while summer arrival Sepp van den Berg is on the bench.
Brewster’s first step toward fulfilling Klopp’s promise
As well as speaking publicly about Brewster’s first-team chances in the past, Klopp has also approached the England youth international privately, giving him recent assurances that he will indeed feature in his plans this season, with the striker revealing he’s now champing at the bit to get involved.
“Klopp spoke to me and told me, “You’re going to get your chance this year” and I’m just waiting for that chance now so that I can prove him right,” Brewster told the Mirror.
“He’s not one of those managers you don’t want to speak to, he’s a great manager and he’s so down to earth.
“At the moment it’s just about getting game time. Playing for the Under-23s is good because obviously, I was out for so long, so he’s trying to put me into it [the first team] slowly and not just throw me in there.”
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With the departure of Daniel Sturridge and injury struggles of Champions League hero Divock Origi, there is a potential opening at Anfield for Brewster to back-up and rotate with Liverpool’s fearsome front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Indeed, Brewster does see Sturridge’s exit as an opportunity to get more playing time with the senior squad, while he believes Klopp’s refusal to sign another striker in the summer is a show of faith in his ability.
“One less striker gives you more opportunity to break into the first team, so of course, Sturridge going there is more opportunity for me to play,” he added.
“You look at every single signing and Klopp not signing another striker, it seems he has faith in me to do a job as well.”