Liverpool’s academy players returned to pre-season training on Monday, a week before the senior squad did the same in Kirkby, with the young stars aiming to progress again in the new campaign.
For some, the first week spent with their age groups will take them to work with the senior group (Bobby Clark, for example, is one that Pep Lijnders selected as a great possibility for that), with Mateusz Musialowski being one of those who they hope to take the next step as well.
Modeled after his Lionel Messi game, Musialowski joined Liverpool from Polish side SMS Łódź in the summer of 2020, having scored 133 goals in 80 games for his former team at youth level. He then scored a brilliant solo goal on his debut against Crewe Alexandra in pre-season during a 5-0 win.
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The Polish striker has previously trained with the first team (he, along with the likes of Kaide Gordon and Tyler Morton, was with the senior team during pre-season in Austria a year ago and hopes to feature at that level again) and played a friendly against closed door in March 2021 during an international break, where he impressed.
Last season, he scored a total of 10 goals in 26 appearances and rose heavily to the U23 level, although he suffered at least one injury that hampered his campaign. There was a part of the season, around the midpoint, where Musialowski missed back-to-back games with a hit and his progression stalled, but the raw talent remains.
He can play in any of the three striker positions (something Liverpool highly value) and he’s instinctive: his experience away from a professional academy as he grew up means he’s still a bit raw, having not been overly trained.
However, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t fit in at Liverpool, where his talent has impressed a wide range of observers on several points. “Can we talk about [Musialowski’s] crossing?” said Virgil van Dijk during a training drill with Musialowski at the AXA Training Center in January. “His crossing is magnificent. The consistency is scary!”
“When Musialowski played for Rakow Czestochowa, he caught the attention of some big clubs,” a Polish football expert told Liverpool.com. “He was involved in a Legia Warsaw football training camp, but his parents were not sure about moving to Warsaw.
“They chose SMS Łódź because I could travel to Łódź twice a week for training and then a third time for a weekend match.
“In Warsaw, it was out of the question, he would have to move, so basically his parents influenced his first steps. Later there were a lot of hints that he would go to Arsenal, where he was tested on a few occasions, but his academy coaches weren’t there. sure whether to sign him or not.
“Maybe they were waiting too long because [football agency] Stellar Group stepped in and shipped it to Liverpool.”
Borussia Dortmund have also been credited with an interest in Musialowski, usually infallible proof that a young player is on the right track, while Eden Hazard is another player the 18-year-old has been compared to thanks to his dribble. ability.
Having signed his first professional contract in July 2021, a few months after wowing Liverpool supporters with a labyrinthine dribble and finish against Newcastle United, now is the time for Musialowski to take the next step.
In the short term, that means staying fit and participating in the preseason. In the longer term, that could well mean a loan move to develop his game and earn consistent high-level minutes.
Turning 19 in October, Musialowski is at an age where the next step will be vital. This summer’s preseason should be a good clue as to what could be.
**You can read more about bobby clarkanother player profiled in our LFC Academy series, by clicking here.