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While the World Cup begins to take shape in Qatar, it won’t just be Liverpool’s international players surplus to requirements that are handed a much-needed, deserved break from their packed schedule.
That’s because Barry Lewtas’ under-21s starlets have also been sanctioned a mid-season vacation as they prepare for the second half of the Premier League 2 campaign.
The U21s are not in action until early 2023 when they are scheduled to host Tottenham Hotspur at Kirkby in their first league encounter of the year.
It means that a number of the young Reds could be included in Jurgen Klopp’s squad that jets off to Dubai in early December as part of mid-season training camp,.
Usually, the fourth round of the League Cup, which will be Liverpool’s returning fixture after the World Cup, would allow first-team boss Klopp to ring the changes and take a closer look at the club’s stars of tomorrow.
But given how few players the Reds have competing in the Middle East this winter, the visit to Manchester City on December 22 will hand Liverpool the chance to strike back at their Premier League counterparts in emphatic fashion with what is anticipated to be a strong side.
But which members of the Academy could we see included as part of the travelling party to Dubai?
Doak has been a highly-discussed name at Anfield in recent weeks after signing off an impressive first half-season on Merseyside by earning his senior debut and signing a professional contract just two days later.
The Scotland U21 international moved to Merseyside from Celtic in the summer for £600,000 and has since advanced from the U18s to the U21s, right through to the senior side within a three-month period.
Despite grabbing three goals and two assists in his Premier League duties for Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s U18s and Lewtas’ U21s, it has been the continental stage where Doak has risen to stardom after helping the Reds win five of their six UEFA Youth League matches.
Advancing to the knockout stages as one of eight group winners, Doak’s four goals – including two against former Old Firm rivals Rangers – ensured Lewtas’ Reds secured a highly-desired bypass into the round of 16.
After catching the eye of spectators with an explosive cameo against Derby County earlier this month, Doak was rewarded with his first Premier League involvement later that week as Jordan Henderson and Ibrahima Konate were absent for the visit of Southampton.
Confident, direct and bullish in possession, the winger has all the hallmarks of a future Anfield star and could be examined further by Klopp in the middle-east in the coming weeks.
While the Clark family are no strangers to the royalties of life as a Premier League footballer, Bobby Clark’s senior Liverpool debut was a landmark occasion in the fledging stages of the youngster’s career.
The 18-year-old midfielder – son of former Newcastle United man, Lee – is another Kirkby prodigy to observe closely, if his first 18 months on Merseyside are anything to go off.
Arriving from Newcastle last summer for a fee of £1.5m, Clark spent large parts of his inaugural season plying his trade for Bridge-Wilkinson’s sides, where he predominantly featured on the left-hand side of attack. However, this season he has thrived in a right-sided midfield role for the U21s and has made two senior appearances.
A technically-gifted operator, Clark is recognised for his ball retention skills and ability to create chances from deep and could be the ideal successor for Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson in years to come.
Oakley Cannonier is a name that will forever be associated with one of Anfield’s greatest-ever nights, as he claimed an unlikely ‘pre-assist’ for Divock Origi’s infamous second goal against Barcelona in May 2019.
The 18-year-old forward, appointed as a ball boy on that landmark occasion and later allowed Trent Alexander-Arnold to execute his quickly-taken corner, has forged a reputation as one of the most lethal finishers within the club’s ranks; highlighted by his 33-goal return last campaign.
Much like Doak, the Yorkshire-born forward has used Liverpool’s outings in the UEFA Youth League to mark his stamp and his current pre-Christmas tally of seven strikes in four games sees him ranked as the competition’s third-highest scorer.
Despite not making his senior debut as of yet, Cannonier can sometimes be spotted training with his senior peers at the Reds’ AXA Training Centre.
As a versatile, left-footed defender, 18-year-old Luke Chambers seems to own all of the traits of a modern-day centre-half and he could be one of the names travelling to Dubai next month.
After winning the European Championships with England’s U19s this summer, alongside Anfield team-mates Harvey Davies and Jarrell Quansah, before joining up with Liverpool’s senior side for their pre-season tour of Asia, 2022 has been quite the year for the Preston-born defender.
Primarily featuring for Bridge-Wilkinson’s side last term, Chambers’ impressive form, as Liverpool finished second behind Manchester City, has seen him rewarded with a promotion to the Reds’ Premier League 2 side.
Testament to his quality, it has been a straightforward transition to life in the Premier League’s reserve league for the left-back-turned-centre-back, who has started all but one of the domestic clashes for Lewtas’ side this season. He has also continued his crucial contributions in the final third, as he so often did from the left flank last campaign,…