Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Liverpool winger Rafa Camacho will not be leaving the club in January, after a proposed deal with Sporting CP fell through.
Camacho was initially expected to rejoin his former club on an 18-month deal, and despite suggestions he would sign a new long-term contract with the Reds a £13.5 million future fee was also touted.
But with Nathaniel Clyne joining Bournemouth for the rest of the season and the 18-year-old making his debut in the 2-1 loss to Wolves in the FA Cup, Klopp has changed his stance.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Brighton, which could see Camacho named among the substitutes, Klopp said: “No. Rafa will not go.”
Along with the Portuguese, both Ki-Jana Hoever (16) and Curtis Jones (17) made their first appearances for the club at Molineux, while Caoimhin Kelleher and Isaac Christie-Davies (both 20) were on the bench.
Shamal George (21) was part of the travelling squad, while the likes of Adam Lewis (19) and Liam Millar (19) have been involved in training in recent weeks.
Asked his advice for those aiming to break through the ranks, Klopp gave a simple response.
“Improve. Improve. Everyday, that’s how it is with the boys,” the manager told reporters at Melwood.
“Using their potential, they are in because their potential is fantastic.
“We have a lot of young players, all good. We won the indoor tournament in Germany with the U18s, and it wasn’t even the U18s.
“The youngest team in the tournament. That shows the next generation is already waiting.
“It’s not easy then to show up, be in that group, be in Melwood, in the dressing room and around.
“But if you do that it shows you’ve done a lot of things right already.
“And now they have to use the training with these world-class players around them, stay confident, be humble, stay on the ground but show up.
“That’s what these young boys have to do. We give them the best we have, and give them, on top of that, time to develop. And everything will be fine in the future.”
Given the Reds are currently facing injuries to Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez, Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rhian Brewster, with Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson doubts for Saturday, youngsters could continue to be involved.
The decreased schedule with exits from the FA Cup and League Cup will limit their opportunities for the rest of the season, however, but Klopp is clearly patient.
And with Camacho deemed reliable enough to remain on Merseyside, rather than heading out to gain experience, he could be the most likely to see more regular game time between now and the end of May.
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