Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster has been on fire at Swansea.
The academy product scored his final Swans goal in their Championship Playoff semi-final defeat to Brentford this week, taking his total to 11 in just 22 games. This was the final ever goal at Brentford’s Griffin Park – but wasn’t quite enough for Steve Cooper’s men as they lost 3-2 on aggregate.
Brewster has always been a figure of potential in Liverpool’s academy, but after suffering a long-term injury, fans’ worried that he may not be able to make it on the big stage.
He joined the club at 15 after a recommendation from Michael Beale, and made an immediate impact in the academy, scoring on his Under-23’s debut against Ipswich after promotion from the Under-18s.
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He was called up for first-team friendlies in the Autumn of 2016, scoring a hattrick against Accrington Stanley, and featured on the bench in Liverpool’s last home league defeat to this day, a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace.
He was specially designated one-on-one sessions with Liverpool legend Steve McManaman, which is sure to have improved his movement as the Bootle born attacking midfielder possessed it in grandeur.
The biggest challenge of Brewster’s career has been his long-term injury – one which probably set his entire career back a year.
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He needed oxygen and surgery after suffering high ankle sprain and ligament damage against Manchester City Under 23’s. It was thought after this, he would never live up to any sort of potential.
But the London-born Liverpool fan has proved everybody wrong this season – after playing three times in the League Cup and FA Cup (against MK Dons, Arsenal and Everton), he joined his former England Under-17 manager Steve Cooper in South Wales.
Famously Brewster bagged eight goals as England’s youngsters brought the trophy home, including seven in the quarters, semi’s and final.
His form has replicated in such a tough league this season, pre and post restart.
The starlet made his debut against Cardiff in the South Wales derby, and scored his first goal in the following fixture against Wigan Athletic.
After notching in draws against Preston, Hull and Blackburn, he bagged a brace in a 3-0 thrashing of Jonathan Woodgate’s Middlesbrough.
His goal at Griffin Park gave the Swans hope, but they needed one more to take it to extra-time and couldn’t quite manage it.
This form in the second tier has showcased to Jurgen Klopp and his staff what Brewster can do next season.
With fans’ calling for the demotion or the sale of Divock Origi, Liverpool’s attacking trio will need more suitable backup next season – whether it is acquired internally or externally is another matter.
Hypothetically, if Brewster wasn’t a Liverpool player, he would be coveted by every single team in the elite across Europe – there’s no denying it. And that is why it is so important that he is a Liverpool player.
Rhian Brewster could save Liverpool £50 million, easily. It is so difficult to find such a natural striker who can fulfil a number of roles in a system like he can.
The challenge for him is dislodging Roberto Firmino – can he provide what Bobby can? Now, of course not – but it is clear to see Brewster has a much more natural goalscoring nous than the Brazilian.
It’s just about coaching him into the Liverpool way of playing, or devising a system which fits around him more than the current one.
But it’s clear to see Brewster has all the scope and talent to become a world-class footballer. He could play a vital rotation role in 2020/21 for Liverpool.