At the tender age of 17, the Championship’s latest breakout star, Ryan Sessegnon, appears to have the world at his feet after a stellar season with Fulham. Though he typically operates at left-back, Sessegnon has a disquieting ability to maraud into goal scoring positions – as evidenced by his latest strike, against Aston Villa on Easter Monday.
The optimism surrounding Fulham is reflected by the betting markets, with sites similar to Sportsbet offering odds of around 33/10 for a Fulham promotion via the playoffs.
Youngsters may walk alone at Anfield
While Sessegnon undoubtedly has a bright future in football, the teenager has already been linked to several high-flying Premier League clubs, including Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.
The latter club championed most of England’s key international-level talents in the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, it has (more recently) experienced mixed results after acquiring young British talents.
For instance, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has already seen Joe Gomez, another youngster in which he put full faith, fail to reach the heights expected of him at Anfield. However, with Liverpool’s sole recognised left-back Alberto Moreno falling out of favour with the Anfield faithful, Liverpool are in dire need of reinforcement in that position.
For most neutrals, it stands to reason that Liverpool FC has largely been considered Sessegnon’s most likely summer destination. In direct contrast to his predecessor, Klopp has created a side that never fails to entertain, and with a bit more balance and finesse, could easily mount a serious challenge for the league title every year without fail.
If Klopp does indeed sign Sessegnon, then he will also create his own dilemma – albeit a classic one – of youth versus experience.
Out with the old?
For two years now, James Milner has been one of Liverpool’s most consistent performers. During Liverpool’s more cavalier moments on the pitch, Milner has always kept a calm head, as all around him have lost theirs.
This is all the more remarkable when one considers that Milner is not traditionally a left-sided fullback by trade. However, Milner’s influence cannot last forever, and with advanced age comes the threat of a younger, fresher talent stealing a position which was once assured ahead of every game.
Many would argue, with some justification, that a club of Liverpool’s ambition and tradition should be targeting the likes of David Alaba, or Layvin Kurzawa, in the quest to fill that position and give the Reds better balance across the pitch. Klopp’s ability to bid for players of that calibre is, of course, very much reliant on Liverpool’s successful qualification for the Champions League.
No need for fullback spot rivalry
At present, there is far too much reliance on the skills of players in the attacking half of the pitch. This is reflected by the Anfield wins of ‘lesser’ opposition teams. such as Swansea and Southampton, which have shown the capacity to contain Liverpool’s Brazilian cohort in wide areas.
Indeed, should wide player Coutinho depart for La Liga in the summer, Sessegnon’s pace and attacking prowess could even see him combine to great effect in front of Milner on the left – rather than competing with the veteran for a starting XI spot.