Liverpool head into the January transfer window with some uncertainties on the horizon.
With Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita jetting off to compete in the Africa Cup of Nations, Jurgen Klopp’s squad will be severely tested over the next month.
Many Liverpool fans have called for the club to use the January transfer window to bring in reinforcements to cover for those absentees.
But while the Reds have done some successful business in mid-season before – think Virgil van Dijk, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge – they are likely to stick rather than twist this month.
Liverpool may therefore just wait until the summer transfer window to bring in reported targets Jarrod Bowen or Raphinha – but that might not be a problem, given the talent available to Klopp from inside the club.
Here Mirror Football takes a look at five of the most exciting wonderkids who could save the club millions of pounds in the transfer market.
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Musialowski is a player with a great deal of excitement around him.
While the title of ‘the Polish Messi’ is obviously reductive and of little help to an 18-year-old player who is still finding his feet, it does give some sense of his playing style.
“I love to take the ball, just dribble through everyone. This is my style of playing football,” Musialowski told LFCTV in March.
“When I dribble [past] the first player, I feel more confident, but when I just start running, I just go.”
Musialowski is yet to make his first-team bow but is a regular in Klopp’s training sessions and in July signed his first professional deal until June 2024.
So far this season he has scored seven goals in 18 appearances for Liverpool’s academy teams, where he is a regular with the Under-23s.
U23s boss Barry Lewtas has high hopes for the Polish youngster, who can play on the wing, as a No 10 or as a striker, much like Liverpool’s front three of Salah, Mane and Diogo Jota.
“You’ve got three players there who’ve all played on each side of the pitch. Look at Jota who played through the middle,” Lewtas told the Liverpool Echo in August.
“I suppose the front line of any elite team is quite versatile, in terms of where people operate, and that’ll be something we’ll strive to explore with Mateusz as well.”
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Klopp knows all about Gordon, having been really impressed by the young winger during pre-season in the summer.
Gordon caught the eye and has enjoyed a fruitful spell since, becoming the club’s fifth-youngest debutant at just 16 years, 11 months and 16 days in September before signing his first professional deal in October after turning 17.
Like Klopp, Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders is a fan.
“He has a goal in him – he has this natural ability to be in the box, between the goalposts to score,” Lijnders said in October.
“Not many talents have this. They may have the dribbling skills but they don’t have this desire to shoot, to come into the box, to score.
“He’s a typical Liverpool Football Club winger, in my opinion. He has goals, speed and we really like him and we are really happy he is with us.”
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Frauendorf joined Liverpool in August 2020 from Hoffenheim and signed his first professional deal with the club in July 2021.
The 17-year-old German international midfielder has enjoyed a good campaign, picking up an impressive tally of four goals and four assists in 11 Under-18 Premier League games.
Danny Galm, who coached Frauendorf as a youth coach at Hoffenheim, has provided an idea of his playing style.
“Mel is a very flexible player. He is straightforward with a good technique and very, very good endurance,” Galm told the Liverpool Echo last year.
“He didn’t score the most goals [for Hoffenheim], but he was involved in almost all offensive actions.
“For me, he was a very important player, who often initiated decisive moments with his dynamic and straight dribbling.
“I’m not a fan of comparing players to others but Mel is a special player. He is fast and has good endurance, and he wants to learn, but remains creative.”
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Pitaluga may be way down the pecking order at Liverpool, behind Alisson, Caoimhin Kelleher and Adrian, but he has an influential fan at the club.
“Marcelo is really talented,” Alisson told Liverpool’s website recently.
“He is a really special boy, he is really excited about having the opportunity to play for Liverpool. Now he has settled in and is doing really well in training.
“He is a boy who trains really hard and is really dedicated for what he is doing. And someone who likes to learn as well.”
The 19-year-old goalkeeper joined the Reds from Fluminense in October 2020 and was part of the Brazil squad which one the Under-17 World Cup on home soil in 2019.
Liverpool’s goalkeeping coach John Achterberg has previously spoken of the possibility of sending Pitaluga out on loan to gain experience, so he might continue his development elsewhere soon enough.
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Clark is just 16 years old, but already has quite a lot of noise around him, having joined the club from Newcastle in August for a fixed fee of £750,000, with add-ons potentially taking it to £1.5million.
The attacker is the son of former Magpies midfielder Lee Clark and the way he arrived at Liverpool suggests he is earmarked for big things.
According to The Athletic, it was Klopp himself who helped convince Clark to join Liverpool ahead of Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham and Leeds.
Both he and Lijnders are reportedly big fans of the youngster.
“He is more of an offensive midfielder. In a 4-2-3-1 system, he would be the midfield player closer to the striker in the No 10 role,” Lee Clark told The Athletic.
“He is very athletic, has a good change of pace, and he is tall for his age. He has good leadership skills. We have had good feedback from the coaches on how he captains both on and off the field.”