(Reuters) - Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp says he was encouraged by the development of the club’s academy graduates and hopes to have an entire squad of homegrown talent at his disposal in the future.
Liverpool secured the top-flight title for the first time in 30 years last month, leading to suggestions that Klopp would give more game time to next generation players such as Neco Williams, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott in the season’s seven remaining games.
That theory ended when Liverpool were thrashed 4-0 by Manchester City in their first outing after being crowned champions.
However, German Klopp, whose side are 23 points clear of second-placed City, insisted that his long-term vision is to have a club filled with local talent.
“What we want to be is the sport for everybody with a Scouse soul. The perfect scenario is that we have these role model professionals around,” the Liverpool boss told reporters in a virtual news conference ahead of their visit to Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday.
“If the boys follow this path with their talent they will have proper careers. The dream is to have all the boys from the academy. The dream is to have a team full of Scousers.”
Jones and Elliott have signed long-term deals with the Premier League champions and Klopp is glad the duo have committed their futures to the club.
“The biggest plus for young players is time. We try to help them as much as they can to become the best players they can be,” he said.
“I really like that these boys have committed their future. Our academy is producing some great players in the past few years. The more players you can produce yourself is better (as) it saves you money.”
Sadio Mane, who initially struggled to find his feet at Anfield after arriving from Southampton in 2016, has scored 38 league goals in the last two seasons.
Klopp believes the winger’s development has mirrored that of the entire team.
“In the last three years this team made progress and massive steps. It only worked because we made big steps, Sadio is a big example of that,” he said.
“I remember when we took this talented player from Southampton he lacked consistency. Now the level he is performing on is consistent. I could write the same book about all the players.”
Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar
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