Ranked! Liverpool’s 7 best academy graduates of the last 25 years
In 1998, Liverpool opened their purpose-built academy facility in Kirkby, the same year Steven Gerrard made his first appearance for the club. The move followed the emergence of several youngsters during the 1990s, and two years after FA Youth Cup success; the feeling was that much more would follow.
Since then, 18 local-born players have been handed their debut for the Reds but none have gone on to establish themselves. Trent Alexander-Arnold became the latest local lad to make his bow, doing so against Tottenham in the League Cup last season, and the hope is that he will be able to go on and establish himself where others have failed.
Plenty have tried in the last two decades. Players like Jordan Rossiter, Adam Morgan, Jay Spearing, Stephen Darby, Conor Coady, Jack Robinson, Jon Welsh and Stephen Wright have departed without fulfilling their seeming potential.
There have been others who have clocked up more first-team appearances, including current squad member Jon Flanagan, but none have made more than 50 league appearances for the club.
Liverpool’s production line looks to be back to the level of the mid-90s, with 11 academy players handed their debut by Jurgen Klopp since he took charge
The influx of foreign-born players to the academy during Rafa Benitez’s time at the club led to the likes of Dani Pacheco, Krisztian Nemeth and Damien Plessis being heralded as Next Big Things, but ultimately none came close to first-team roles.
Nowadays, Liverpool’s production line looks back to the level of the mid-'90s, with 11 academy players having made their debuts under Jurgen Klopp since he took charge two years ago. Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn are the two current stars making the move to first-team level, and there are plenty more who are primed to do the same soon.
Here, we rank the top seven graduates from the Reds’ academy in the Premier League era...