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“Not if, but when” – Team-mate backs Conor Bradley to become Liverpool regular

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Conor Bradley has not been involved so far this season due to a long-term back injury, but Liverpool have been told that the youngster’s breakthrough is a matter of “not if, but when.”

The 20-year-old was expected to deputise at right-back for Trent Alexander-Arnold this season, and his early pre-season outings showed the potential to do just that.

However, he has not been involved in any capacity since the 4-4 friendly draw with Greuther Furth at the start of pre-season due to a stress fracture in his back.

Bradley has started to train with the first-team again, and while this season is night and day from the previous – when he played the most minutes of any teenager in world football – he has been backed to become a Reds regular.

Northern Ireland and former Bolton team-mate Dion Charles has worked closely with Bradley and from what he’s seen on and off the pitch, he’s in no doubt the 20-year-old will make it at Anfield.

“Conor is incredible. He can go as far as he wants,” Charles told the Belfast Telegraph. “That kid has everything, he’s intelligent, such a good player.

KARLSRUHE, GERMANY - Wednesday, July 19, 2023: Liverpool's Conor Bradley during a pre-season friendly match between Karlsruher SC and Liverpool FC at the Wildparkstadion. Liverpool won 4-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“The biggest thing about his mentality is he wants to learn, he wants to get better, so when he’s back fit, it will be interesting to see not if, but when, he gets in the Liverpool team.”

Alexander-Arnold is not an easy player to displace but Bradley’s personality will see him embrace the challenge and opportunity to learn from the best in the position.

Charles added: “The type of character Conor is, he’ll be with him [Alexander-Arnold] every single day, brushing shoulders with them, so it’s only going to make him better for the future.

“When Conor first came to Bolton he hadn’t played much senior football, and he played like a 30-year-old. He plays like someone so experienced – Conor is incredible.”

Having slowly returned to first-team training, the hope is Bradley will put himself in contention for selection before the year is out, with two Europa League games and a League Cup quarter-final to present opportunities.

The 20-year-old, who has just five career Liverpool outings, made 53 appearances for Bolton last season for a total of 4,723 minutes.