Five Liverpool youngsters who failed to deliver at Anfield

Few things in football are as disappointing as getting excited about a young prospect who then fails to make the grade. CAMERON WELDON remembers some of the more recent Academy stars who have flopped in the professional world.

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Over the years the Reds have had some immensely talented youngsters come through our ranks and gone on to achieve great things.

The likes of Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have gone on to become bona fide Liverpool legends, while Trent Alexander-Arnold is already well on his way.

Meanwhile, Neco Williams, Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Ki-Jana Hoever have all shined for the first team when given the opportunity over the last 12 months, but that hasn’t always been the case for some of those to have come through the ranks at the Kirkby Academy.


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Here are five promising Liverpool stars who had so much promise and hype around them but who failed to live up to the billing and have ultimately been moved on.

Dani Pacheco

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Perhaps one of the Reds’ biggest disappointments in recent years was Spanish winger Daniel Pacheco. The pacey attacker arrived at Anfield from Barcelona, aged just 16 with a lot of hype surrounding him.

With several top Spanish talents in our first team squad, with the likes of Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Álvaro Arbeloa already among the ranks, Pacheco looked to be the next hotshot Spaniard signed by Rafa Benítez.

Despite all this potential and promise, as well as spending seven seasons on Merseyside, Pacheco’s career simply failed to kickstart. He had a perfect opportunity to perhaps catch a break at Norwich City when he joined the Canaries on an emergency loan in 2011 — he got game time at Carrow Road, but still didn’t do enough to impress the powers-that-be back at Anfield.

Loan spells away at Atlético Madrid, Rayo Vallecano and Huesca followed, before Liverpool finally decided to let the player leave in 2013 for Madrid-based side Alcorcón, where managed a season before moving on once again.

Pacheco then spent a few seasons with Real Betis and Getafe before signing for hometown club Málaga in 2018 in the Spanish second division where he remains to this day at the age of 29.

Adam Morgan

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A naturally gifted player who knew where the back of the net was at youth level just could not live up to the demands of the first team. Having consistently found the back of the net throughout all the levels of the Academy, including being the u18s top scorer in 2010 with 21 goals, Morgan rose swiftly through the ranks and soon found himself on the brink of the first team, aged 18.

The young striker drew comparisons to the great Robbie Fowler but unfortunately it just didn’t work out for the Liverpool-born player. Having grown up as a Red there was so much hope and promise surrounding Morgan but, in the end, that was all it was as he was sold by the club in 2014 to then League One side Yeovil Town.

He only managed three appearances for the Reds first team before moving to Somerset. Game time down south was limited, meaning he only lasted a year with the Glovers before spells in Scotland and Ireland followed. He then dropped down and featured for a number of non-league clubs across the country.

At just the age of 26, he currently turns out for Romford FC in the Isthmian League North Division, a level no-one would have thought they would see him play at ten years ago.

Samed Yeşil

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You can be forgiven if this is a name that does not come to mind straight away but it’s one that definitely fits the category of young talent players that failed to live up to their potential. Samed Yeşil arrived at Liverpool with a lot of excitement surrounding him following his heroics at the u17 World Cup and European Championships.

The German finished top goal scorer in the World Cup with an impressive six goals in just seven matches. This had obviously caught the attentions of new Reds manager Brendan Rodgers, who wasted no time in snapping up the young forward from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen for just £1million, considered a bargain at the time for a such a talented prospect.

After scoring 57 goals in 71 matches for Leverkusen’s youth sides it was expected that he’d take Melwood by storm but that wasn’t to be the case. Rodgers, who was so keen to bring him to Merseyside, gave the striker just two appearances across his debut campaign with both coming in the League Cup where he failed to score.

The following season he saw even less game time as he suffered two cruciate ligament ruptures across the campaign restricting him to just four appearances for the u21s. The 2015/16 campaign turned out to be his last for the Reds and he spent it on loan at Swiss side FC Luzern before being released by Jürgen Klopp.

He then went on to play for Greek side Panionios where he did find some first-team action before slipping down the professional ladder as he returned to his homeland to sign for 3.Liga side KFC Uerdingen 05. A lack of games proved to be the issue once again for the now 26-year-old who joined Turkish third division club Ankara Demirspor in December.

Jerome Sinclair

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As a young player being tipped as the next Raheem Sterling, it can be hard to live up to the hype and that was exactly what happened to Jerome Sinclair at Liverpool. The striker, who stormed through the Reds Academy scoring goals at all youth levels, made his first-team debut for the club in the same game as Yeşil.

At just 16 years of age Sinclair came off the bench for the German striker in a League Cup win away at West Brom, where he became the youngest player to feature for the club’s first-team squad. He continued to develop in the u18s before he secured a loan move to Wigan Athletic in 2015, where he only made a one appearance and ultimately returned to Merseyside with no more experience.

His Premier League debut came soon after his return as he came on as a second half substitute against Chelsea. He also came on a few weeks later in Steven Gerrard’s Anfield farewell match against Crystal Palace. He then scored his first goal for the club in January 2016 in a 2-2 draw at Exeter City in the FA Cup third round. That was to be first and only Liverpool goal as he was not offered a new contract and subsequently departed in the summer.

He did manage to secure another Premier League club in the form of Watford but has only made nine appearances for the Hornets in four years. He is currently on his fourth loan spell away from Vicarage Road, playing for Dutch side VVV Venlo. Previous loan spells include Birmingham City, Sunderland and Oxford United, scoring just five league goals across all three clubs.

Jordan Rossiter

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It may come as a surprise that Jordan Rossiter is still only 23 years of age but I think he still comes under the category of failing to live up to the hype surrounding him like everyone else in this list. The fact he was a local lad, added pressure on him as supporters just hoped and prayed that he could become the next Gerrard, which unfortunately he could not.

Having impressed through all the age groups at the Academy since arriving at the club at the age of six, Rossiter first found the limelight as a 15-year-old. Despite being four years younger than most of his teammates he shone in the u19s. Just a year later he was regular in the u21s and was named the Academy Player of the Season.

In 2014 he stepped up to the first team and made his debut in the League Cup against Middlesbrough at Anfield aged just 17 and scored the opening goal of the encounter. It was a perfect start to his Liverpool career, but it then went from cloud nine to rock bottom as he picked up an ankle injury later that season that ended his campaign three months early.

The following season he travelled with the first team on their tour of Thailand before making both his Premier League and Europa League debuts in September for the club. Rodgers was then sacked and replaced by Klopp and, just when the young midfielder wanted to impress the new manager, he suffered a hamstring injury which played havoc for the rest of his campaign.

That season turned out to be his last as a Red as he swapped England for Scotland to join Rangers. He ended his time on Merseyside with just five appearances to his name due to being heavily hit by injuries. He would be sidelined regularly not of the border as well — he made just ten appearances across three seasons with the Scottish giants. He then had a loan spell with Bury before spending the 2019/20 season with League One side Fleetwood Town.


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