Who is Connor Randall?
28 OCT 2015
BY NEIL JONES
Young defender will make his senior debut for the Reds against Bournemouth tonight
It was the game nobody at Liverpool really wanted to be a part of. An end-of-season friendly in Ireland, just days after the Reds' title challenge had finished in disappointment? No thanks.
Brendan Rodgers' side took on Shamrock Rovers in the Aviva Stadium without their star names. No Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho or Daniel Sturridge. It was a squad of the forgotten, the fringe and the young which made the trip across the Irish Sea.
For one of the youngsters, Connor Randall, it was a first taste of senior football in a Liverpool shirt. Now, just under 18 months later, he is set for another. A proper one, this time, as he starts the Capital One Cup fourth round clash with Bournemouth at Anfield tonight.
It promises to be an unforgettable evening for the 20-year-old Academy graduate, who has caught the eye of new Reds boss Jurgen Klopp with his performances and attitude in training. Randall will start alongside fellow youngsters Cameron Brannagan and Joao Teixeira, as part of a much-changed line-up.
Who is he?
Melling-based and a boyhood Red, Randall has been with Liverpool since the age of six and has progressed steadily through the club's youth ranks.
He enters the senior setup as a quick, defensively sound right back, but he has also featured in a number of other positions throughout his fledgling career, including centre back, centre midfield and, briefly, centre forward.
An England international at England U17 level, the former Maghull High School student captained Liverpool's U18 side before making the step up to U21 level during the 2013/14 season. He ended that campaign with the Shamrock Rovers friendly, in which he used his second-half substitute appearance to set up a goal for Jack Dunn in a 4-0 win.
Liverpool's Connor Randall has a shot on goal during the Friendly match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, IrelandLiverpool's Connor Randall has a shot on goal during the Friendly match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland
What does he do well?
Get forward! Randall is a thoroughly-modern full-back who loves to support the attack, and is able to carry the ball forwards with strength and speed down the right flank. His size, 5ft 9in, is not particularly imposing, but the youngster has excellent upper body strength and uses it well.
He possesses a powerful shot with his right foot, uses the ball economically, and likes to defend with aggression and tenacity, though his strength undoubtedly lies going the other way. His delivery from wide areas is a threat.
Randall has brief Football League experience from a loan spell at Shrewsbury Town earlier this year, in which he made one substitute appearance. He has, though, found himself elevated to Melwood in recent weeks, appearing in the Reds' matchday squads since Klopp's arrival.
In a Q&A with Liverpool's official website back in December of last year, Randall stated that his "ultimate dream" was to represent the club at first team level.
Tonight, he gets his chance to shine.
Copyright - Liverpool Echo