Liverpool supporters are understandably downcast after a stark decline in form and performance this season has left Jurgen Klopp’s outfit scraping for top four after years of competing for major silverware across multiple fronts.
Indeed, the German manager has won it all on Merseyside, notably gleaning the Premier League and Champions League and completing the domestic cup double last season.
But progress has been hindered this season and the club languish nine points outside the top four, also out of both domestic cup competitions and facing an insurmountable task in the second leg of their Champions League tie against Real Madrid after falling to a chastening 5-2 defeat at Anfield in the first match.
With all affiliated with the club desperate for a ray of sunshine, attention must be turned to precocious teenage starlet Ben Doak, who is brimming with quality and starting to demonstrate that he could cement a prominent role in Klopp’s system over the coming years.
Who is Ben Doak?
Last weekend, Doak inspired Liverpool U21s to an emphatic 7-1 victory over Leicester U21s, scoring twice and playing a pivotal role in two further strikes.
Hailed as “the pick of the bunch” by journalist Keifer MacDonald, the former Celtic prodigy is starting to confirm his stature as the Merseyside club’s most exciting young talent.
A right winger by trade, the young Scot might find it hard to usurp the established and brilliant Mohamed Salah, but the distinguished star’s occupation of the position must be greeted with warm acceptance by the 17-year-old, who could serve as the perfect understudy to the Egyptian and absorb the fruits of his labour as he moulds and refines his own arsenal.
Salah has scored a remarkable 175 goals and provided 72 assists for the Reds since his £34m arrival from AS Roma, renowned as one of the world’s leading forwards and valued at £59m by Football Transfers, but given Doak’s exemplary start and numbers at youth level, there is no reason why he cannot emulate the prowess of his superlative senior peer.
Are you excited about Doak?
Having scored ten goals and served eight assists from just 19 matches in a youth capacity this season, Doak is inches away from earning a shot in the senior set-up, and if Liverpool decide to utilise him next season – having already made five displays this term – or even loan him out to provide him regular minutes, there is high hope that he will glimmer among his peers.
Writing in his column for Liverpool’s website, academy coach Jay Spearing waxed lyrical about the three-cap Scotland U21 international’s progress, saying: “Ben was in our team at the start of the season and he was absolutely flying. He has made rapid progress and he is a great kid.
“He works so hard, and he has got a great mentality. That drive and desire the boy has, it’s no surprise to us he has done so well. Fingers crossed, he can keep it going and keep getting better because the lad has a lot of ability.”
Still yet to break into adulthood, Doak is swiftly asserting himself as one of the most prodigious talents Merseyside has seen in a long time, and should he continue his development and dazzle with consistently prolific and powerful performances, there is no reason why he cannot forge a successful career under Klopp’s wing.
And with a prowess and assurance that belies his tender age, he might even earn a few more opportunities to impress among the senior crop this term, perhaps sparking from youthful life into the squad and guiding the team toward prominence once more.