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08th Jan 2017

Jurgen Klopp teases fans about “special kid” in Liverpool academy – and explains his youth philosophy

He's cut right down on loan deals.

Rob Burnett

Jurgen Klopp’s stock with Liverpool fans is as high as any Reds boss has enjoyed since Rafa Benitez won the European Cup in 2005.

It’s not just because his side is riding high in the Premier League playing an exciting, forceful brand of football, or because of his wide smiles and charismatic personality.

It’s also because the former Dortmund coach has made a big effort to understand the club and it’s traditions – and embrace them as part of his management philosophy.

Part of that is the development of young players from the academy – something Klopp is passionate about.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Sunday Times, Klopp explains how he wants to replicate the success the club had with Steven Gerrard.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

“The biggest stories are written by local players,” he says.

Bringing through your own players is also cheaper than buying in expensive talent – another benefit Klopp is aware of. “You should try to be more independent of the money,” he says. “Each club can buy who they want, but in the end it is always short-term thinking.”

The 49-year-old also explained why he has drastically cut down on the number of young Liverpool players going out on loan.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

“Now it’s the transfer window. Twelve clubs asking for players. Maybe we’ll do it with one but only if it makes sense for that individual. I decided on a real strong second team. In England, in the under- 23s, the best players are out on loan, so who is left? Too young, not good enough or whatever. You keep good players and they improve together,” he says, before teasing fans about a talented young player coming through the ranks.

“We have a special kid. I won’t name him. But everyone was asking about him… now, now, now. Nobody has time any more.”

A number of academy players were named as starters in the FA Cup tie against Plymouth, including Trent Alexander Arnold, Ovie Ejaria, Kevin Stewart and Ben Woodburn, but Klopp is keeping tight-lipped for now.