Jürgen Klopp "pleased" for Liverpool winger Ryan Kent to sign new five-year contract

Jürgen Klopp declared himself pleased with Ryan Kent's new long-term Liverpool contract and hailed the winger as "more mature" after a year at Barnsley.

The 20-year-old penned a new five-year deal at Anfield after a bright pre-season campaign which followed a year on loan at Barnsley, where he made 47 appearances and was named the Tykes' Young Player of the Season.

Kent featured in all but one of the Reds' warm-up matches ahead of the Premier League season and has seemingly put himself into the first-team picture on Merseyside, if not this season then most definitely for future years.

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Liverpool manager impressed by Kent's progression 

Klopp hailed Kent's loan move and insisted that "like all of them" Kent features in his plans for the Reds' senior squad, adding: "That's why we tried to show him why it makes sense for him to stay here for the longer term."

The German insisted that Kent is "still a young boy" which is "good for him" and "good for us [the club]", praising how the England youth international "looked much more mature in pre-season than he was a year ago."  

"I've spoken a few times about how I'm not the president of the supporters’ club for loaning players, giving them to other clubs, especially at a very young age," revealed Klopp, referring to his previous criticism of the English loan system.

He insisted that he does not think loans "will always work" but said that "obviously" Kent "really took the benefit of it" and "looked completely different" this summer.

Klopp continued: "It was a really good pre-season for Ryan, so I'm happy that he's signed a new contract."

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Kent keen for more game time at Liverpool or elsewhere this season

The Oldham-born attacker, who also spent time on loan at Coventry City in League One in the first-half of the 2015-16 campaign, has yet to make his first Premier League appearance for Liverpool.

The Academy graduate has made just the one first-team appearance for Liverpool, in an FA Cup third-round draw with Exeter City in January 2016, but could be involved in the squad for the Merseyside outfit's opening game at Watford on Saturday.

Kent, who has been at Anfield since he was seven, told Liverpool's official club website that penning an extension was "a big achievement" and "a pay off for all the hard work that's been put in over the last few years."

"I'm looking forward to kicking on in the future," continued Kent, calling his decision to commit himself to Liverpool "an easy decision" because Klopp is a manager "willing to play young players."

He also said that the Reds boss is willing to "invest his time" into the progression of youth players at Liverpool, while Kent feels the club "has the right foundations" to make him "a good player in the future."

The forward hinted at the possibility of a loan move away this season, insisting that his personal target is "about game time" whether that is "here [at Liverpool] or on loan."

He explained: "Wherever I am, I want to be among the team and don’t want to halt my progression as a player. If that means going on loan to get game time, then that’s what it'll be. But right now I am just concentrating on my time here at Liverpool and if I can push into the first-team then I will try to do that."