Jürgen Klopp pleased with Liverpool youngsters Yan Dhanda and Conor Masterson in La Manga

Jürgen Klopp pleased with Liverpool youngsters Yan Dhanda and Conor Masterson in La Manga

Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp says he's pleased with what he has seen so far from the club's teenage pair of Yan Dhanda and Conor Masterson, who have joined the Reds' first-team in their Spanish training camp.

charlie-malam
Charlie Malam

Jürgen Klopp is pleased with how well Liverpool youngsters Yan Dhanda and Conor Masterson have adjusted to being in a first-team environment on their La Manga training camp.

The Reds are out in Spain until Sunday afternoon on a warm-weather camp and the two teenagers were included in the 27-man travelling squad after being singled out for their impressive development.

Klopp considered a number of calling upon a number of promising Academy prospects, including 17-year-old striker Rhian Brewster who has made waves of late, before talks with development coach Pep Lijnders swayed his thinking.

Teenage duo have "fitted in well" says German

The Reds boss told the Liverpool Echo: "I knew them both from training with us [the first-team at Melwood] already. I also spoke with Pep and it was a logical decision."

He revealed that they "could have taken" Brewster or "a few other guys" but insisted Dhanda and Masterson are "the next boys" on the Academy's production line.

"Pep is the man for this," declared Klopp, insisting that they "needed two players" to fill out the squad and that they "decided on Yan and Conor" after their progress this term.

He added: "I know all of the boys and that's really cool. It's a good group. They have worked well, [and have a] really good attitude. Yan and Conor have fitted in well."

Gifted forward Dhanda joined from West Bromwich Albion for a fee thought to be around £200,000 in 2013 and the 18-year-old, also an England youth international, is one of several highly-rated kids in the club's set-up.

Centre-back Masterson, meanwhile, a Republic of Ireland youth international, made his debut for the club's Under-18s in the 2014-15 season after signing from Dublin outfit Lucan United

The current captain of the Neil Critchley's U18s, he has featured in the first-team squad on one occasion - though he was an unused substitute for the Reds' FA Cup third-round draw away at Exeter City in January 2016.

Warm weather break to set up Reds for rest of the campaign, says Klopp

In another interview, this time with the club's official website, Klopp explained the purpose of the trip to La Manga, saying they went to south-east Spain for a few "different things."

He said it made sense to go there over any other destination because the weather conditions are not "completely different to England in this moment" and they "only wanted to change the circumstances a little bit."

Likening it to a second pre-season, the manager declared he and his staff "want to be focused on the work we do on the pitch" and insisted that they see it as an opportunity to "talk about a few things."

He noted that the break only comes because they are out of their cup competitions, but said they must "accept the situation and try to use it." 

"I think you can always talk about things you need to fix," Klopp added. "Or you can create the situation where you can work on it and that's what we're trying to do here."

Though Klopp said after Liverpool's defeat to Hull City that his charges had "lost kind of the flow", he backtracked to say that they still "have it" but that their five-day break in Spain is "all about getting the confidence [back] in training."

He also said that they want to work on "the things we want to be good in and were good in [earlier this season]", declaring: "I thought the Tottenham Hotspur game showed already that we are still capable of doing things like this. But now we have to bring consistency. We know this."

He noted that there are "a lot of things" that can be said about Liverpool's season so far, both "a lot of good things and a few not so good things" but suggested they still "have the chance in 13 games to really reach something special."

Klopp said they are "working on" reaching that goal, especially in La Manga, before they return to England with "another week to prepare for the Leicester City game and then the rest of the games."

He hoped that "everyone can see" the benefits of their break after a few games, adding: "It's a little pre-season. It's only four days. A proper pre-season camp is maybe nine days, but that's for a whole season and this is only for 13 games, so it's exactly the right time. We should use it."

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