Jayden Danns: Liverpool's Next Star Forward

Just how high Jayden Danns might be able to fly- and how soon he can get there.

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It’s only fitting that Jürgen Klopp’s final Liverpool campaign has included a wave of injuries that have forced an unplanned youth movement at Anfield. After Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips willed the Reds to a Champions League spot in 2021, we have a new crop of youngsters pulled up to the big stage before one would have previously expected.

Conor Bradley has already made a massive impact with Trent Alexander-Arnold hurt, but who could be the next breakout star?

Jayden Danns could very well be the next one in line. He hasn’t made a start yet, but the 18-year old appeared for a minute against Luton for his Premier League debut, and after coming off the bench once more, was one of the astonishing six players born in 2003 or later who were on the pitch for extra time of the Carabao Cup Final win against Chelsea. 

Like many of the other youngsters who have chipped in for the Reds recently, Danns is a Liverpool academy graduate.

Well, “graduate” may be a bit of a stretch for the teenager, as he has participated as a member of Liverpool’s U18 side this season, before being thrust into a role with the first team. His senior debut came back in September during an EFL Trophy match, and his first serious appearance was just over a half hour of work in that dramatic Carabao Cup win. 

Laying the Foundation

That being said, Danns has been with the club much longer than that. Born in Liverpool, he joined the club’s academy program when he was just eight years old, and eventually stepped up to the U18 level when he was 16.

Before that, when playing with the U16 side, he was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter’s disease, a painful knee ailment that is not uncommon in young, growing athletes. 

The versatile Danns featured in both attacking and midfield roles during his time with the Liverpool youth squads. Interestingly enough, his father Neil was also a midfielder in the Liverpool youth system, before having a long and successful career with a litany of other English clubs.

However, the elder Danns, who is now an assistant manager for Tranmere Rovers, never made a senior appearance for the Reds, so his son has already surpassed him in that regard.

Danns started the season in great form for the U18 squad, having scored nine goals in the first seven matches of the year. His ability to score stunners has been widely noted, although he has stated an intention to work on setting himself up to score more of the simple chances, the ones he says are the ones that allow you to score 20 per season.

His style has been compared to that of beloved Reds false nine Roberto Firmino, although it could be argued that he’s on a path to being far more physical than the Brazilian ever was.

Bursting onto the Scene on the biggest stage

While the Carabao Cup Final wasn’t technically his Senior debut, it was the fans’ first real look at him in a professional match setting.

Just the fact that Klopp chose such a big stage for his first meaningful outing speaks volumes to the belief he has in the young forward, and that faith was rewarded as Danns put forth quite the admirable effort under the circumstances.

He forced a nice save in extra time after heading a Virgil van Dijk pass near to the crossbar, narrowly missing what would have been an iconic first senior goal. 

On Wednesday, Danns came on late in Liverpool’s FA Cup tie with Southampton with the team leading 1-0. After just 25 minutes on the pitch, he had not only scored that all-important first senior goal, but fired home a brace to seal the win.

It was quite the way to announce himself at the highest level, and if his past track record is any indication, it’ll be remembered as just the first of many electrifying outings for the Reds. 

Danns will play a role going forward

After proving that he has the potential to contribute as a member of the first team, Danns’ services could be needed more and more in the coming weeks as Liverpool chases history while dealing with injuries once more.

Diogo Jota is out for potentially quite some time, while Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez are dealing with knocks. 

The latter two will be needed for big matches against the likes of Manchester City, but if Danns is able to allow them to rest and get healthy against lesser opponents, it could go a long way towards helping the Reds capture that elusive second Premier League title as Klopp departs the club.

Perhaps he’ll even be one of the faces of the new post-Klopp era, especially if some of the more veteran players on the team, such as Salah, move on and leave the club looking for its next identity.