Home News Liverpool coach admits he’s unsure how Jurgen Klopp exit impacts his job

Liverpool coach admits he’s unsure how Jurgen Klopp exit impacts his job

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While Jurgen Klopp‘s faith in the academy makes Liverpool U21s coach Barry Lewtas‘ life easier, he is hoping the next manager has a similar commitment.

During Klopp’s time in charge of Liverpool, he has given debuts to 40 different players from the academy, with 15 of those making 10 or more appearances so far.

While it is rare for a player like Trent Alexander-Arnold or Curtis Jones to emerge, not least in the same generation, the manager has shown a willingness to bolster his squad with youth.

Caoimhin Kelleher, Jarell Quansah, Stefan Bajcetic and Conor Bradley are now genuine first-team players, while the likes of Jordon Ibe, Neco Williams and Nat Phillips have contributed greatly in the past.

For Lewtas, who was in charge of the U16s when Klopp arrived in 2015 but was promoted to U18s and then U21s, that has given his job a clear purpose.

When asked how Klopp’s exit could impact Liverpool’s academy, he admitted: “Who knows?”

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Friday, August 25, 2023: Liverpool's Isaac Mabaya (L) and Under-21's head coach Barry Lewtas during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Southampton FC Under-21's and Liverpool FC Under-21's at the Testwood Stadium. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by Robin Jones/Propaganda)

But the 42-year-old told the Liverpool Echo that, despite Klopp and assistants Pepijn Lijnders and Vitor Matos leaving, the foundations remain in place for a new manager to pick up where they left off.

“What I would say, there’s a lot of work that’s been done by the whole academy, the senior leadership team at the academy and all the academy coaches,” Lewtas said.

“Whoever comes in, I’m sure they will look at the quality of player that are being moved up from the academy.

“I’m sure they’ll have a look and that’s all we can do.

“The real focus is just to enjoy the next few months. Try and support the first team the best we can on their mission to win as much as they can, and then the summer will take care of itself.”

BRADFORD, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 5, 2023: Liverpool's manager Barry Lewtas during the English Football League Trophy Round of 32 match between Bradford City AFC and Liverpool FC Under-21's at Valley Parade. (Photo by Ed Sykes/Propaganda)

Regardless of Klopp’s legacy – and that of Lijnders and Matos, who both operated as a bridge between the academy and first team – the next manager will undoubtedly have their own idea on certain players.

The hope will be that for those who have recently made their breakthrough, or are on the cusp of doing so like Jayden Danns, Lewis Koumas and Trey Nyoni, that won’t block their pathway.

Liverpool will look to have Klopp’s successor in place well before pre-season, with Lewtas asked whether that could be an opportunity for his youngsters to impress.

“It could be, it could be!” he said. “But you know what, I haven’t looked that far ahead!”