Belfast Telegraph

Pool wonderkid Brewster is finally set for big chance

 

Debut: Rhian Brewster (right) at Liverpool training with Joe Gomez
Debut: Rhian Brewster (right) at Liverpool training with Joe Gomez

By Phil Medlicott

Rhian Brewster has been described by Liverpool assistant boss Pep Lijnders as a "complete striker" ahead of a potential senior debut in the Carabao Cup tonight.

The Reds' starting line-up for the third-round tie at MK Dons is expected to feature a considerable number of changes from Sunday's 2-1 Premier League win at Chelsea.

And there could be a long-awaited bow for Brewster, the 19-year-old who in 2017 helped England win an Under-17s World Cup at which he was the top-scorer with eight goals.

He was an unused substitute at Stamford Bridge, and Lijnders said of the England Under-21 international yesterday: "I was his coach when he came from Chelsea (as a 15-year-old).

"That he is already on the bench away at Chelsea, for me, is massive. It makes us all proud. If he does start or doesn't start, he is a player who is every time more ready. He had a long injury (Brewster had ankle and knee surgery in 2017-18), it was not that easy for him. But he has goals in him, he has technique, good physically.

"He is a complete striker, a typical nine who can come first post, score with his head, turn in the box, play one-on-one, can score a scruffy goal as well, unbelievable shot. And a good boy. But let's see."

Other youngsters who could be given debuts by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp tonight are 20-year-old Cork-born goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher and Harvey Elliott, the 16-year-old midfielder signed from Fulham over the summer who last season became the Premier League's youngest-ever player.

Winger Xherdan Shaqiri has been ruled out by a small tear in his calf, but midfielder Naby Keita, who has been sidelined for seven games by a groin issue, is fit to make his return to action, while Sadio Mane (knock), Divock Origi (calf) and Alisson Becker (calf) are unavailable.

Lijnders stressed - with regard to the line-up against the League One Dons - that "we will put a team in place that for me is a Premier League team".

And he added: "We want to compete in each competition, attack each competition. We work so hard to be in this situation where we can compete in each one."

Meanwhile, Liverpool's kit supplier New Balance has started legal proceedings against the club amid reports linking the Reds with Nike.

MK Dons boss Paul Tisdale insists he is not worried about sending his team into battle with Liverpool.

"In front of 30,000 people in your home stadium against the European champions, what can possibly go wrong? Let's just enjoy it and play," he said.

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