Liverpool hand trio of Academy graduates Stewart, Alexander-Arnold and Woodburn new contracts

Liverpool hand trio of Academy graduates Stewart, Alexander-Arnold and Woodburn new contracts

Liverpool have rewarded Kevin Stewart and Trent Alexander-Arnold with new contracts until 2021, and handed Ben Woodburn his first professional contract, with Jürgen Klopp keen to secure the futures of the club's most promising young players.

Charlie Malam

Liverpool have tied Academy graduates Kevin Stewart, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn down to new long-term contracts.

The trio all put pen-to-paper earlier this week to commit their futures to the Reds, with Alexander-Arnold and Woodburn the latest youngsters off the club's production line.

The deal represents 17-year-old Woodburn's first professional contract, the forward signing only a three-year agreement  with the rules limiting them to just three years. 

Stewart and Alexander-Arnold both penned five-year extensions, rewarding them with improved terms, to stay on Merseyside until 2021.

It marks a milestone few months for teenagers Woodburn and Alexander-Arnold, the latter having made his first-team debut in the 2-1 EFL Cup fourth-round win over Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield last month.

The West Derby-born defender has been on the club's books since the age of six and has established himself as second-choice right-back behind Nathaniel Clyne due to his rapid progress.

Woodburn, too, has enjoyed a sudden rise - now a regular with Michael Beale's Liverpool Under-23s side after starring in a number of local pre-season friendlies in the summer.

Reds tying down highest-rated Academy youngsters

The highly-rated Wales Under-17s captain scored goals against Fleetwood Town and Wigan Athletic and also has four goals and five assists in five appearances for the U23s since his step-up this season.

Klopp is thought to have been instrumental in handing the new contracts, with the negotiations overseen by the club's recently-promoted sporting director Michael Edwards.

The club have also tied Academy director Alex Inglethorpe down to a new deal for his efforts in helping their youngsters progress to the first-team, partly thanks to a ringing endorsement from Klopp.

The German is also a huge fan of Stewart, who joined Liverpool on a free transfer after being released by Spurs in the summer of 2014. He made his first-team debut back in January under Klopp and has since had 17 senior run-outs. 

He signed a four-year deal just last February, but has been given improved terms - more specifically a pay rise - only nine months later for his performances.

Midfielder Ovie Ejaria is also secured for the long-term, the 18-year-old - who was released by Arsenal - having signed a four-year deal which keeps him at Liverpool until 2020 at the end of the previous campaign.

It marks Klopp's excitement at the calibre of young players coming through the ranks at Liverpool, with the manager keen to ensure a pathway from the Academy to the first-team.