JURGEN KLOPP has revealed he would love to see a team full of Scousers playing for Liverpool within the next decade.
And he points to Sadio Mane, 28, as the perfect example of how the club’s boys can turn into men at Anfield – no matter where they come from.
Mane, of course, is neither Liverpool born nor did he come up through the club’s academy having arrived for £30million from Southampton four years ago.
Yet Klopp is hoping that youngsters like Curtis Jones, 19, and 17-year-old Harvey Elliott, both of whom signed new contracts this week, can follow the lead of the Senegalese star.
The Reds manager has a lot of young talent coming through and declared: “The dream is in ten years we have a team full of Scousers. But the door is open to all boys.
“They don’t have to be Scousers but they do have to show the commitment and patience we encourage in our youngsters to want to learn the game.
“We are lucky in that we have more senior players who can show the younger ones how to develop and progress.”
Mane has shown exactly what he means having now scored 20 goals in each of his last three seasons.
German title-winning chief Klopp added: “In the last three years he has made massive steps. And that progress only works if you keep taking those steps every year.
“I remember this unbelievably talented boy coming from Southampton.
“He obviously had outstanding ability but was lacking a bit in consistency.
“There were people, I think, who were not sure that signing him for that kind of money was the right thing to do.
“Consistency is the key and he has become the complete player now.
“I was always sure that he would become even better than when we signed him.
“But to have been around to see the way he grew up has been lucky. He’s obviously improved a lot — from an already very high level.
“Now he is a world–class player on top of all that.”
Jones, who scored his first Prem goal in Sunday’s 2–0 win over Aston Villa, is Liverpool born but Elliott, brought in last year from Fulham, was born in Chertsey.
Another rising star is 19-year-old full-back Neco Williams, born in Wrexham, while Sepp van den Berg and Ki-Jana Hoever, both 18, arrived from Holland.
It does not so much matter where the players of the future first team come from to Klopp – more that they show the right attitude.
He stressed: “We do everything to educate these boys and give them a good career and it is about preparing your career.
“And we really want to use them as much as possible.
“It’s not about how old you are or who you are, but just about how good you are.
“Still, they need patience and there is always an easier way to play first-team football if you leave.
“So the boys have to commit and as long as they have the talent, then we commit to them to help them.”
Trent Alexander-Arnold is the only Liverpool–born player in the side right now but Jones is likely to get game time tonight.
The new Premier League champions face Brighton and Klopp is full of praise for opposite number Graham Potter.
He said: “What he is doing is very impressive. He is bringing in a proper football style – he is doing a really good job.”