Rhian Brewster was tipped to be the next big thing graduating from the Liverpool academy, possibly the Reds’ answer for an out-and-out centre forward and that stardom awaited in the future.
After signing from Chelsea in 2015, Brewster quickly worked his way through the youth ranks and within the core of the successful Premier League 2 Reds side. At u23 level, Brewster had registered 13 goals and 10 assists in 28 games – a very productive return for the forward.
He was also producing at international youth level, with 24 goals in 27 games for the u16s and u17s respectively. Despite being capped up to the England u21s, the former Liverpool man has yet to find the net at the final youth stage. This goalless drought has unfortunately been a trend since his move away from Anfield. More on that later.
His promising performances early in his career caught the eye of Jürgen Klopp, and he was integrated into first team training at Melwood. Just as he was starting to find his way into the squad back in 2018, Brewster injured his ankle which resulted in major surgery – an injury that would see him miss over a year of football, including the entire 2018/19 season.
Despite this major setback, the confident youngster was accumulating time on the bench in European matches – surrounding himself further in the first team environment. This eventually resulted in a first team debut, starting up-front in the 2-0 victory over MK Dons in the EFL Cup.
His performances caught the eye of several clubs wanting him on loan. He would later that year drop to the Championship to join former Premier League side Swansea City. This loan stint gave him invaluable experience and game time that helped him mature as a player. His time in the Championship was prolific with 11 goals in 22 games for the Welsh side, helping them to a sixth-placed finish and into the playoffs.
His spell at the club would come to a difficult end, as he could not help the Swans return to the Premier League – despite scoring in the away leg – as they lost 3-2 on aggregate to Brentford.
After his success in the second tier, many fans thought Brewster would come back to Liverpool, hit the ground running and finally break into playing side for consistent minutes. After Divock Origi’s hit-and-miss 2019/20 season, the Reds were crying out for a striker who could hit the back of the net off the bench more consistently.
Days later, to the surprise of many, he was sold to fellow Premier League side Sheffield United for a reported £23.5m – a record transfer for the Blades.Embed from Getty Images
Many questioned the decision considering the lack of depth in the Liverpool squad and the form the young talent was in.
But did Liverpool get it right to cash in on Brewster while his stock was high? The deal came with a buyback clause for £40m as cover, but only time would tell whether this critical sale was the right one.
After a year at Sheffield United, the decision to sell looks like a shrewd piece once again by Reds transfer guru Michael Edwards. Brewster did not once find the net in 30 games for the Blades this campaign, with the club suffering a painful relegation from the top flight with several weeks to go.
Liverpool have got it pretty much spot on with their incomings and out goings in recent years. They have received high fees for the likes of youngsters like Dominic Solanke and Jordon Ibe, despite limited game time at Anfield and those players have since failed to kick on since leaving Merseyside.
Thus far, it looks like Brewster might be falling into this category. However, this is only one season and he was playing for the weakest team in the Premier League.
With two years left to warrant a £40m transfer fee – one of them in the Championship – it’s hard to see him living up to the price tag. It is likely the case that his Liverpool career is over, with Edwards once again showing why he is one of the best in the business.
We would all like to see Brewster to go on and be successful. Whenever a young Liverpool player leaves, it’s always nice to see them succeed in a less high-pressure environment.
Let’s hope the 21-year-old can bounce back next season in the Championship.
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