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Liverpool coach names two young players to watch as Barcelona hero to force major Reds change


Oakley Cannonier is a name that Liverpool fans will almost certainly have heard of, but the reasons for why that is could well be about to change.

The day after Cannonier turned 15 in 2019, he passed the ball to Trent Alexander-Arnold inside Anfield to tee up what will forever be known as the ‘corner taken quickly’.

It was the 15-year-old’s quick thinking as much as Alexander-Arnold’s that helped Liverpool on the way to winning the Champions League in Madrid, teeing up Divock Origi’s Barcelona strike.

Now, though, having signed his first professional deal at Anfield just over a month ago, the 17-year-old is set to be a major part of Liverpool’s U18s team this season, playing as a number nine for Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s side.

READ MORE:Liverpool 2020 signing ready for next step after starring in 5-3 thriller

Cannonier scored twice on the opening day of the season in a 5-3 victory over Stoke, and had two more well-taken goals chalked off for offside.

Then this weekend, he netted a hat-trick as Liverpool U18s beat Manchester United 5-0.

“Oakley is a really good player,” U18s boss Bridge-Wilkinson told the ECHO.

“We are really fortunate that we have really good players, and he is one of them. We’re fortunate that we are going to see him play and injury-free, hopefully.

“Harvey Blair is another one: if they stay injury-free and we can get them on the pitch, they can start to show people what they are about.”

Blair came off the bench as Liverpool opened their new campaign in Premier League U18 North with a 5-3 victory over Stoke City, but Cannonier was the one who made the clearest impact.

Cannonier scored four times – even if two of those goals were struck off for offside – and his finishing was razor-sharp.

But it was the other aspects of his game that really impressed, as he dropped deep to link play, feeding the likes of Melkamu Frauendorf and James Balagizi around him.

Often, a forward will either come deep to get the ball, or spend time running off the shoulder of the opponent’s backline.

Cannonier, playing against highly-rated Stoke man Joshua Ireland, did both on the day, produced an excellent all-round performance where he was able to show both sides of his game – on and off the ball.

“If we were being honest, I think he would rather be remembered as the Oakley Cannonier that played today [rather than the Barcelona ball boy],” Bridge-Wilkinson added.

“He scores goals, creates chances and threatens the back line.

“It’s nice to be known for other things, but I think he would rather be known for playing football than being on the side of it.”

It might not be too long until that is the case, with a big season – providing he avoids injuries – lying ahead.

The full interviews with Barry Lewtas and Marc Bridge-Wilkinson were available only to members of the Blood Red Club, where we deliver you exclusive, bonus content each week. Simply head to BloodRedPodcast.co.uk to sign up for free.

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