Young Guns: Ranking Liverpool’s Best Academy Graduates

- - Players

Red Cone on Football Training PitchLiverpool have bolstered the ranks of their various academy and youth age group teams this summer.

Trey Nyoni joins from Leicester City, where he made a catalogue of appearances for their Under-18 team despite being just 16. He has also represented England at youth level.

Amara Nallo has also put pen to paper on terms with the Reds, joining from West Ham. The defender was described by his academy coach Carlton Cole as a ‘Rolls Royce’ of a player.

Although the duo haven’t come through the ranks with the Reds, they will now enter Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s ‘finishing school’ of an under-18s side, where they will be hoping to become the latest cabs off the rank to make the breakthrough into first-team action at Anfield.

If they can, they will be following in the footsteps of some Liverpool FC legends….

Ian Callaghan

Games Goals Years
857 68 1959-1978

You could argue that Ian Callaghan is the most impressive of all Liverpool academy graduates, given that his 857 first-team appearances for the club is an all-time record that is unlikely to ever be surpassed.

Such a lengthy amount of service allowed Callaghan to enjoy five First Division title triumphs, as well as two European Cups, a pair of UEFA Cups and a brace of FA Cups. He is, it goes without saying, one of the most decorated players in Liverpool’s history.

He’s also one of the few World Cup champions to have pulled on the red shirt. Not bad for a kid from Toxteth that came through the junior ranks….

Steven Gerrard

Games Goals Years
710 185 1998-2015

Any poll of Liverpool’s greatest ever players would feature Steven Gerrard somewhere near the top – a feat made all the more impressive by the fact he joined the club at the age of just nine.

Forging his way through the youth age groups, Gerrard eventually made his first-team debut aged 18 – the rest, as they say, is history. Some 504 Premier League appearances yielded 120 goals and 99 assists, and the only tragedy is that he never got a chance to hoist that EPL trophy.

Gerrard did, of course, gets his hands on the famous Champions League trophy in 2005, while also handling the UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the FA Cup (twice).

Jamie Carragher

Games Goals Years
737 4 1996-2013

Although there’s the famous tale of Jamie Carragher actually being a childhood Everton fan, he was welcomed into the Liverpool youth ranks aged ten – often turning up to training sessions in his Toffees kit!

Any doubts about Carra’s allegiances were swiftly dealt with – after all, only Callaghan would make more career appearances in a Liverpool shirt than the defender from Bootle.

Like Gerrard, Carragher’s career deserved a Premier League title. It would never come, sadly, but he too enjoyed in the same domestic and continental successes as Gerrard, finally calling time on his career as a one-club man after 508 appearances.

Robbie Fowler

Games Goals Years
369 183 1993-2002, 2005-2007

Like Callaghan, Robbie Fowler played his earliest games of football on the streets of Toxteth.

Scoring a hatful of goals in school games, Fowler was picked up by Liverpool at the age of 16 – he helped the Reds win the Under-18s European Championship before making his first-team debut at the age of 18.

Few Liverpool players have become as idolised by the Kop as Fowler, whose Reds career yielded a Uefa Cup, an FA Cup and a few other pieces of silverware. But more than that, he’ll forever be remembered as a player blessed with supreme talent who never forget where he came from.

Michael Owen

Games Goals Years
297 158 1996-2004

In terms of pure footballing ability, few Liverpool youth team graduates can lay a glove on Michael Owen.

A winner of the Ballon d’Or, Premier League Player of the Season and BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Owen was a teen tearaway for club and country – he’d scored more than 150 goals for the Reds by the time he’d turned 25, and is the youngest player in history to notch 100 Premier League goals (breaking Fowler’s previous record).

His reputation will always be tarnished by running his contract down and moving to Real Madrid for just £8 million as a result, but any discussion of the best players to emerge from Liverpool’s academy would not be complete without Owen.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Games Goals Years
275 16 2016-Present

While the dust has settled on the careers of the other players on this list, for Trent Alexander-Arnold the future is unwritten.

Still, at the age of 24 he’s already played more than 275 games for Liverpool, winning the Premier League and the Champions League, so his legacy in the Reds’ hall of fame is already assured.

Trent was just six when he first joined Liverpool’s academy set-up – as a result of attending a training camp during the school holidays, with the names of the attendees pulled out of a hat at random. Who knows what would have happened if TAA hadn’t been amongst the lucky ones!

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