Liverpool is a football club steeped in history, and bringing talent through their youth ranks has long been woven into their fabric. Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher spring to mind as obvious examples of players who have climbed the academy ranks to grace the Anfield crowds, but we want to delve deeper and see how successful their academy has been overall, and specifically since 2000. We recently published a similar article examining Everton’s academy success, but how do the Reds compare? How many academy recruits formed respectable Liverpool careers? And how many have gone onto further success with other teams?
Included are all players who have made their senior team debut from 01/01/2000 until the present day.
Only players with UK nationality are included, but dual nationality is accepted.
Players must have been trained at the academy from the age of 14 or younger.
All data was accurate as of 02/03/17
Since 2000, Liverpool have produced 23 players who have made their first team breakthrough.
Eight players who have made their debut since 2000 are still on the books at Liverpool. Those being Jon Flanagan, Andre Wisdom, Cameron Brannagan, Connor Randall, Ben Woodburn, Sheyi Ojo, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Harry Wilson.
Their most prolific year was during 2012, where they fielded four debutants from the academy.
Liverpool have always prided themselves on attacking and exciting football, but how does this compare to the breakdown of positions amongst their academy graduates since 2000?
Defenders have been the most common type of player to come through the youth ranks.
Interestingly, only two forwards have been able to force their way into the first team since 2000.
No academy goalkeepers made a first team appearance during this timeframe.
The trophy cabinet at Anfield is the envy of many clubs both domestically and around the world, but which competition has Liverpool favoured to blood their new talent?
Since 2000, the League Cup has been Liverpool’s most prolific competition to debut new talent, closely followed by European competitions.
The FA Cup was the least popular competition to start an academy prospect for the first time.
78% of all the debutants went on to make a Premier League appearance for Liverpool.
Unfortunately, not all academy players that make the breakthrough become club legends like Steven Gerrard or Jamie Carragher. So, how many academy players went on to play a significant number of times for Liverpool?
39% (nine) of the 23 players have gone on to play 10 times or more for Liverpool in all competitions.
Only 22% (5) of the 23 players have gone on to play 20 times or more.
It must be noted that five out of the eight players who still play for Liverpool have yet to reach these appearance landmarks, but may do so in the future.
So, which players have gone on to forge successful Liverpool careers and represent the red side of Merseyside the most times?
No academy player since 2000 has amassed 100+ appearances for Liverpool.
Jon Flanagan and Andre Wisdom are both still on Liverpool’s books, despite both currently being out on loan.
For those who made the debut before 2000, there are plenty of prolific academy goal scorers (Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, Steven Gerrard), but the story is quite different for those who arrived on the scene since the turn of the century:
No academy graduate since 2000 has scored more than once for Liverpool.
Bizarrely, reliable defender Stephen Warnock and midfielder John Welsh top the goals scored for clubs since leaving Liverpool, with 17 each.
None of the 23 graduates have scored an international goal.
It appears that any success from the Liverpool academy has not come in the form of first team goals, but what about another primary function of an academy; financial gain? How have Liverpool benefited from selling on their home grown prospects?
Liverpool have received over £12 million pounds in transfer fees since 2000 for players that came through their youth ranks, with over 25% of this figure coming from Jerome Sinclair’s sale to AFC Bournemouth.
Stephen Warnock is responsible for approximately 66% of all future transfer fees, racking up £7.6 million worth of fees during his career after Liverpool.
This leads us on to those players who have left Anfield and forged careers elsewhere, something Liverpool can still take credit for. Let’s first look at those who have played at other Premier League clubs:
Stephen Warnock is by far the most successful academy graduate in terms of appearances elsewhere, with successful spells at both Blackburn Rovers and Aston Villa when they were competing in the Premier League.
Martin Kelly is still playing in the Premier League with Crystal Palace.
Five out of the 23 academy players have been capped at international level; Stephen Warnock, Martin Kelly, and Jon Flanagan for England, Brad Smith for Australia, and Harry Wilson, who became the youngest player ever to play for Wales.
Despite some players not making the grade at the top level, Liverpool’s academy has still succeeded in producing professional footballers who have enjoyed lengthy stints throughout the Football League:
Despite playing for Liverpool only four times, Lee Peltier has an impressive 362 Football League appearances to his name, and is still going strong for Cardiff in the Championship.
Conor Coady only managed one start and one substitute appearance during his time with Liverpool, but was a key member of the Wolves side that recently beat the Anfield giants in the FA Cup.
Although Liverpool have not been able to replicate the academy successes of previous eras, they have achieved varying levels of success since 2000 from the international stage to the Football League. 22 out of the 23 players are still playing today, including Jordan Rossiter playing for Rangers in the SPL, and Andre Wisdom on loan with Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga. Jürgen Klopp has certainly had a positive impact since taking the reins at Anfield, and has introduced a number of academy youngster into the fold. Only time will tell if any of them go on to have similar impacts to the likes of Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard.
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