English Premier League

Zimbabwean teenager Isaac Mabaya makes it to Liverpool FC bench

Zimbabwean teenager Isaac Mabaya makes it to Liverpool FC bench. Virgil van Dijk captained the side, with Andy Robertson, Fabinho, Ibrahima Konate, Curtis Jones and Caoimhin Kelleher all fit to start, along with Roberto Firmino, Kostas Tsimikas and Takumi Minamino on the bench.

Liverpool’s matchday squad for the FA Cup third-round clash with Shrewsbury saw youngsters Melkamu Frauendorf and Isaac Mabaya involved for the first time.

But there are also first-ever starts under Klopp for Max Woltman and Elijah Dixon-Bonner, while there are a host of youngsters among the substitutes.

Joining the ever so slightly more experienced James Norris and James Balagizi are Frauendorf and Mabaya. Isaac Mabaya, 17, who plays in the right-back, and central midfield positions was an unused substitute as the Reds won 4-1 at Anfield.

Born in Preston with Zimbabwean heritage, Mabaya joined Liverpool’s youth ranks as a six-year-old, and due to injury problems his progress to the fringes of the first team is still in its infancy.

But having stepped up from the U16s to the U18s last season, the 17-year-old has been making his mark under Bridge-Wilkinson this time around.

Though he is a natural midfielder, Mabaya has been used as a right-back on a number of occasions this season, and his ability to drive past players with pace and power has made him a standout.

It is this versatility that has seen Vitor Matos recommend Mabaya to Klopp, with both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Neco Williams ruled out for the FA Cup tie. Mabaya signed his first professional contract with the club in September and is tipped for big things in the years ahead.

Source – ThisisAnfield

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