On Friday afternoon Liverpool announced that 20-year old Irish defender Conor Masterson would be involved in their squad for the Merseyside club’s huge clash with Manchester United on Sunday.
Masterson has been drafted into the provisional squad following injuries to Liverpool’s central defenders Joe Gomez and Joel Matip as well as a knock to right-back Trent Alexander Arnold.
The 20-year old has been impressive for Liverpool’s underage sides and featured on the bench during last season’s Champions League semi-final against Manchester City but who exactly is Conor Masterson?
Here is everything you need to know about Liverpool’s Irish centre-half.
Date of birth:
8th September 1998.
Where Is He From?
Masterson is originally from Co. Kildare and grew up playing for west Dublin side Lucan United before making what was a big money move to Liverpool, reportedly around £900,000, on the day of his 16th birthday in 2014.
What Position Does He Play?
The 20-year old is primarily a centre-back but can also play in front of the back four in defensive midfield.
Style Of Play?
Masterson is everything you’d want in a modern defender. He is a commanding centre-half whose height makes him a strong presence at the heart of the defence and understandably adds to his ability in the air.
Also proficient on the ground, Masterson is well able to get the ball down and play as well as having a knack of picking out his teammates with long diagonal balls from the heart of the defence.
What Current/Former Premier League Player Does He Resemble?
He’s nowhere near this man’s level of quality yet, but it’s easy to see the resemblance that Masterson shares with current Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk.
Like the Dutchman, Masterson is a commanding defender who is good in the air and with his feet, with the confidence to run from deep or clip a diagonal ball 50 yards to one of his wingers.
A lofty comparison but in terms of style of play, there’s no doubt that Masterson has been learning from and watching one of the best in the world in Van Dijk.
How Has He Performed For Liverpool’s Underage Sides?
Generally quite well. Masterson became the captain of Liverpool’s u18s side when Trent Alexander-Arnold was called up to the senior setup two seasons ago and during the 2016/2017 he made a host of appearances for that side as well as appearing twice in the Premier League 2
Last season Masterson featured heavily for the U23s in the PL2 making 10 starts and making the bench on five occasions in addition to an excellent run in the UEFA Youth League for the Liverpool U19s and a couple of appearances on the bench for the senior side.
This campaign, although Masterson has found starts in the PL2 hard to come by due to injury, (only 2, along with a host of appearances on the bench according to Transfermarkt) the 20-year old will surely be given a huge boost by his inclusion in the senior setup once again.
How Has He Fared At International Level?
While also featuring for Ireland’s U15, 16s and 17s Masterson was a staple of the Irish U19s squad for just under two years back when he was eligible to play at that age group.
He captained his country in their European Championship qualification campaign although he is yet to make the step up to the U21s side.