I read an interesting stat on the @Optajoe twitter feed today:
6 – Liverpool have named three teenagers in their starting XI six times in the PL this season, no other club has done this once. Youth.
The famous trio is Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom and Suso, and here are the matches in question:
Norwich (A) – won 5-2.
Stoke (H) – drew 0-0.
Reading (H) – won 1-0
Everton (A) – drew 2-2.
Newcastle (H) – drew 1-1.
Wigan (H) – won 3-0.
Whilst a club the size of Liverpool should probably not be relying on teenagers week-in, week-out if they want to compete at the top end of the division, the fact that the Reds are unbeaten, with three wins, in these fixtures is hugely encouraging for the future of the club.
Considering that Sterling had only previously played thirty minutes of first team action prior to 2012/13, and the other two made their debuts this season, makes their progress doubly impressive.
They haven’t just been making up the numbers either; Raheem Sterling is ranked 20th in the Premier League for frequency of open play chance created (where players have set up at least 25 opportunities) and with five clear-cut chances created, the young Red is ranked joint-26th in the league at this valuable skill.
Similarly, Wisdom is ranked 6th for final third passing accuracy (for players who have attempted at least fifty passes), and Suso has an impressive 84% passing accuracy in the league this season, so the youngsters do not appear to have been too overawed so far.
Away from the Premier League, the likes of Jerome Sinclair (aged 16), Samed Yesil, Adam Morgan (who are both 18) and Jack Robinson and Conor Coady (who are 19) have all seen first team action for Liverpool this season, so Brendan Rodgers could be forming the nucleus of the team for the next ten-or-more years.
The future’s bright, the future’s Red.