Tony Gallacher: Can young Scot kick on at Liverpool after ‘surprise’ MLS loan move?

Academy correspondent SAM JONES gives the lowdown on young Scottish left-back Tony Gallacher, fresh from a surprise loan spell in MLS with Toronto.

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Liverpool academy full-back Tony Gallacher has been with the Reds since 2018 when he was signed from Falkirk for a small fee.

He has been a regular in the academy ever since, playing for the under u23s since his arrival and completing the full 90 minutes in the most recent ‘mini derby’ – a 1-1 draw against Everton.

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Gallacher did make his first-team debut for the Reds in a 4-0 loss to Aston Villa in the League Cup late in 2019, with the regular first-team squad in Qatar for the Club World Cup.

But it was still a bit of a surprise when, back in the summer, the 21-year-old left-back received a “surprise” offer to play for Toronto in MLS.

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“It was quite sudden, if I’m being honest with you, he told LFC TV. “The left-back they had was picking up a lot of injuries and is coming towards the end of his career now, so I think it came to the point when they just wanted some security there in myself.

“It was on a Sunday they contacted my agent and at first I was like, ‘have you got the right club there and how has that even come about’?”

The Scot made nine appearances for Toronto while on loan, picking up one assist in the process – even if he spent his entire time in North America on the road due to Canada’s Covid rules surrounding crossing the border.

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There are comparisons between the youngster and current fan favourite Andrew Robertson as well. Gallacher actually completed more tackles per 90 (0.8) while on loan than Robertson has this season (0.55), though the strength of the two teams has to be taken into account.

He also completed 9.6 pressures per 90 compared to Robertson’s 8, something that is key in Jürgen Klopp’s system.

But if Gallacher really wants to compete with Robertson, for both club and country, then he really needs to step up his attacking output.


Robertson has a goal or assist every 3.3 games this season, where Gallacher has a goal or assist every 5.1 games in all competitions.

This could be down to the way Toronto played him though. The stats clearly show that the MLS outfit set up with more defensive full-backs that Liverpool, making this a somewhat unfair comparison.

However, if Gallacher can string a good run of performances together for the u23 side for the remainder of this season, and injuries continue to hamper new singing Kostas Tsimikas, Gallacher could see his role increased in the first-team.

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We’ve already seen the rise of Neco Williams on the other side of defence, so why not Gallacher? He has Adam Lewis to contend with, but the Scot has a chance to cement a place in Barry Lewtas’ side while Lewis is on loan at Plymouth Argyle.

He has shown he has the raw ability while at Toronto and, at 21, the youngster will want to know if his future lies at Anfield or away from Merseyside – sooner rather than later.

There’s no reason he can’t kick on at Anfield, but taking the place of Robertson will be some task for the youngster.

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