Liverpool under-23s striker Paul Glatzel has returned to training following his latest injury setback, with the youngster now looking to make up for lost time.
It now seems a lifetime ago that Glatzel was making his first forays into the first-team setup, having been involved in pre-season training in 2019 only to suffer an ACL injury.
Having worked his way back into contention for the U23s earlier this season, the striker then sustained ankle ligament damage in a 0-0 draw with Southampton in November.
Jurgen Klopp was watching on that day, and accompanied his young hopeful as he underwent initial treatment at Kirkby at half-time, with there clearly still being hope he can make his senior breakthrough.
Now, after missing almost three months of action, Glatzel is back in training with the U23s along with Abdi Sharif, who is another player to experience rotten luck with injuries of late.
“Paul and Abdi have been two boys who have been through the mill recently with a few setbacks,” U23s coach Barry Lewtas told the club’s official website.
“It’s pleasing to get any player back from injury but some have been through it worse than others, like Paul and Abdi.
“So to see them back on the grass and training hard is a real positive for them but also the group as well. It’s just great to see the smiles back on their faces.”
Glatzel turns 20 on Saturday, with time still on his side as he looks to cement a place within Klopp’s squad at Liverpool, but it cannot be overlooked how his progress has been stunted.
“They missed so much football last season through injury and then in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic and then getting injured again this season, so it’s been really tough for them,” Lewtas continued.
His last full season in the academy, alongside Bobby Duncan with the under-18s in 2018/19, saw Glatzel score 29 and assisted 10 in 34 appearances, with there obvious quality in the Scouser.
But he will require a big measure of luck as he beds back into the U23s side, who have largely employed Luis Longstaff as centre-forward but have also seen Joe Hardy make his comeback this year.
“They are two really positive lads and two very popular members of the group and when they are fit they will certainly add their quality to us,” Lewtas said of Glatzel and Sharif.
“It’s great to have them back around.”