Home News Liverpool have fast-tracked 2 centre-backs to fill Jarell Quansah void

Liverpool have fast-tracked 2 centre-backs to fill Jarell Quansah void

5
0

The decision to promote Jarell Quansah to the first team, instead of signing a new centre-back, has laid the pathway for two teenagers to be fast-tracked.

Quansah has made the step up from academy to first team so seamlessly that, when his name is on the teamsheet, few if any would be concerned.

The 21-year-old is now firmly considered one of Jurgen Klopp‘s core centre-backs, alongside Virgil van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate, Joe Gomez and the injured Joel Matip.

That came after a brief loan spell at Bristol Rovers in League One, with his only other experience being at youth level with Liverpool, playing 19 times for the U21s and U19s in the first half of last season.

But with Quansah promoted to the senior setup and the likes of Sepp van den Berg, Billy Koumetio and Rhys Williams heading out on loan, a brave decision was made to replace him.

Rather than rely on a more experienced crop of academy centre-backs, U21s manager Barry Lewtas is relying on two youngsters.

BRADFORD, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 5, 2023: Liverpool's Nallo Amara 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)

Amara Nallo, 17, was brought in from West Ham over the summer, while Carter Pinnington, 16, has been on the books since under-7s level.

Though clearly young enough to still be on the fringes of the U18s squad – and they have played at that level this season – Nallo and Pinnington are instead first-choice starters for the U21s.

So far this season, they have started for Lewtas’ side 12 and 14 times respectively, with Nallo clocking 1,080 minutes and Pinnington playing 1,264.

Pinnington has started each of the last 10 games, while Nallo has partnered him in eight of those; the last time neither started was a 4-1 loss to Middlesbrough U21s in September, with 16 fixtures since then.

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, Liverpool's Carter Pinnington during the Under-18 Premier League Cup match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Tottenham Hotspur FC Under-18's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

This is despite Nallo never having played U21s football until joining Liverpool, and Pinnington featuring once as a 15-year-old substitute in the 1-0 loss to Rochdale in the EFL Trophy last term – in what was his first season at U18s level.

Both are versatile young players, with Nallo playing at left-back in the 7-1 win over Arsenal U18s in the FA Youth Cup and Pinnington also capable of filling in as a No. 6.

And both have showcased a growing ability to both command the defensive line with strength and contribute in possession with composed passing.

Such is the belief in Nallo and Pinnington among Liverpool staff that the more experienced Terence Miles, 19, has been shifted over to right-back, while injuries to Lee Jonas, also 19, have been felt less heavily.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 1, 2023: Liverpool players line-up before the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Crystal Palace FC Under-21's and Liverpool's Under-21's at the Crystal Palace Training Ground. (L-R) Captain Tom Hill, goalkeeper Marcelo Pitaluga, Paul Glatzel, Terence Miles, Lewis Koumas, Luke Chambers, James McConnell, Amara Nallo, Carter Pinnington, Bobby Clark, Mateusz Musialowski. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There was no hesitance when it came to loan offers for Koumetio upon his return from USL Dunkerque in January, either, with coaches clearly eager not to inhibit the current starting centre-backs.

While the future is clouded by the imminent departures of Klopp, Pepijn Lijnders and, crucially, Vitor Matos, there are high hopes for Nallo and Pinnington.

Quansah’s rise has shown that it is certainly possible, and given their remarkable strides in a season that marks both of their 17th birthdays, the future looks bright for the fast-tracked duo.