Liverpool fans have been enjoying the sight of Rhian Brewster in the starting line-up in the side’s League Cup matches. The 19-year-old has struggled with knee and ankle injuries over the last couple of years, casting doubts that his talents may end up going to waste. Brewster won the Golden Boot when England triumphed at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, and at that time it looked like the world was his oyster. Although those injuries have hindered his progress, there is now a sense that Brewster is ready to kick on.
The question is whether he will be afforded the necessary opportunities at Liverpool to aid his growth as a player. His two starts in the League Cup this season are the only senior appearances he’s made for Liverpool, and with the club looking like favourites in Premier League betting with Betfair, it will be difficult for the youngster to get significant game time in the league.
Of course, with Liverpool chasing their first English top-flight title since 1990, there isn’t time to give opportunities to young players with so much at stake. It’s no surprise that Brewster remains on the fringes of the squad, forced to content himself with occasional cup outings. It’s in those games that he must work doubly hard to impress.
He will feel disappointed not to have got himself on the scoresheet in the games against MK Dons and Arsenal, particularly the latter as the match finished in a rip-roaring 5-5 draw. But there are still promising signs to be drawn from his performances. He has linked play well in both matches, showing good chemistry with fellow youngsters Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones. He also scored a pressure penalty in the shoot-out win against Arsenal, and it was clear from his celebration how much it meant to him.
Whether these scraps of game time are enough to help him acclimatise to senior football remains to be seen. It may be that he seeks a loan move in the near future to get some regular first-team football under his belt.
Even though first-team opportunities at Liverpool may be limited, there are few better clubs to be at in the present moment. There is a winning mentality at the club that cannot be dampened. Even though Arsenal looked to be pulling away at different stages of that League Cup match, the Reds kept fighting back. This is the strength of character Jurgen Klopp has instilled at Anfield, and it is a good atmosphere in which a young player can cut his teeth.
Klopp is a manager who gets the best out of players and inspires a kind of fatherly bond between players and coach. This is especially beneficial for young players like Brewster, who may need that guiding arm around the shoulder at times during their development. The German has already overseen Trent Alexander-Arnold’s journey from exciting young prospect to first-team regular, and Brewster will be hoping to follow a similar path.
Perhaps Brewster can take heart from Harry Kane’s journey to the Tottenham Hotspur first team. The striker embarked on several loan moves before making his name at White Harte Lane. It was through sheer persistence and willpower that Kane became the striker he is today. While Brewster may require loan moves to build up his experience, if his mind is focused then who’s to say he can’t play a big part at Anfield in the years to come.
With Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane among the best forward players in the world, Brewster will have a hard time establishing himself at the club. But to be a successful striker takes confidence and a certain degree of arrogance, and the youngster has to back himself to make it at Anfield. All he can do is demonstrate a belief in his abilities, and seize the opportunities he’s given. Those who have watched Brewster closely will be confident that his natural talent will shine through in the end.