Conor Bradley: Liverpool's Latest Diamond in the Rough

Liverpool have found yet another future star in the Northern Irishman.
Liverpool v Southampton - Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round
Liverpool v Southampton - Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

When it comes to the some of the elite clubs that comprise the sport of football, the star names are typically the biggest draws, with the disparity between these big clubs and the rest of the field growing larger by the day.

Thankfully, Liverpool FC still employs the magic of homegrown, Academy-developed talent, with examples such as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones being key contributors to the Klopp-era success.

However, it has increasingly been a season full of pleasant surprises, and another superb prospect from the Liverpool Academy has made himself known to the Liverpool faithful, young Conor Bradley.

Thrust into the action with injuries to Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, and Kostas Tsimikas, the 20-year-old has barely put a foot wrong deputizing for our vice-captain in the right-back position and has comfortably forced himself into Starting XI conversations.

Right-back of the future?

For the longest time, Liverpool supporters have been accustomed to seeing Trent spraying out long passes and bombing forward on the right flank.

However, with the suggestions that Alexander-Arnold might be eyeing a midfield role as the natural evolution for his career, Bradley can certainly be touted as our future right fullback.

His combination of defensive solidity, decent attacking threat, and good positional sense make him an asset for any club in the world. He certainly isn't the generational talent Trent is, but the Northern Irishman is still only 20 and improving every day.

He has not backed down from any challenge and his passion and love for the club are evident every single time he steps on the pitch. He plays and carries himself with a maturity well beyond his years.

Conor Gallagher, Conor Bradley, Ben Chilwell
Chelsea v Liverpool - Carabao Cup Final / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

A midfield shift

While this write-up is definitely not about Trent Alexander-Arnold, he is, undoubtedly, the most affected given Bradley's rise to prominence. There already have been instances wherein Jurgen Klopp elected to play Alexander-Arnold in that role on a situational basis, so who knows if our future manager would entertain the notion of having Trent there permanently.

One thing's for sure, there should be no worries about a drop in quality, as Bradley showed his steel against some of the best players in the world over the last few weeks. It's interesting to see what the next evolution of this group of players is going to be.

Bradley is certainly going to have a big role going forward, whether that is as full-time starter or an elite option off the bench.

Another win for "La AXA"

It would be criminal for me to shower Bradley with praise without mentioning the folks at the Liverpool Academy. The continued development of players like Bradley, Ben Doak, Bobby Clark, James McConnell, and Jayden Danns have shined through, and in the club's most desperate hour.

If you were going to make a bingo card before this season, you definitely wouldn't have put "fielding Academy players in a Cup Final" in there.

All jokes aside, these academy players are a massive reason why the club is still in the hunt for a quadruple despite being ravaged by injuries over the last two months.

If we are to win the lot this year, there will be plaudits for many of those in the senior squad, and rightfully so. It's just my hope that there'll be appropriate recognition for Bradley, coming in from the cold, deputizing the best right back in the world, and getting the job done with flying colors.