Liverpool have built a reputation of being able to nurture some of the brightest young talents and turn them into superstars.
Recent examples include Trent Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones, who have progressed right through the youth ranks of the Reds to reach the dream of playing for the first-team.
There have also been examples of young English players being signed from rival clubs and making the step up on Merseyside. Harvey Elliott is the one who springs to mind.
And in recent years, Liverpool have also looked abroad for some young stars who have the potential to be stars of the future.
One of those arrived at Anfield in 2020 from German club Hoffenheim.
That summer, Liverpool signed teenage starlet Melkamu Frauendorf initially on a scholarship deal after he impressed the club’s scouts, joining Polish goalkeeper Fabian Mrozek from FC Wroclaw and midfielder Mateusz Musiałowski from SMS Lodz .
Then aged just 16, Frauendorf had already shown those at Liverpool that he has the talent to become a gem in the future.
Frauendorf can play in any of the front three positions or as a number 10 – versatile, like first-team stars Roberto Firmino , who was also signed from Hoffenheim , Japanese attacker Takumi Minamino , and now Diogo Jota .
Slotting straight into the Under-18 team, Frauendorf immediately made himself at home.
Making his debut against Stoke City in September last year, it took just five games for him to score his first goal, which came in the mini-derby in a 4-0 away win over Everton.
It wasn’t just in the league where the teenager shone, but also in the cup competitions as well.
The 2020/21 campaign saw Liverpool’s Under-18 side reach the FA Youth Cup final, and Frauendorf played a significant role in helping his side reach the showpiece.
Despite not winning the trophy, Frauendorf scored the decisive goal in the semi-final win over Ipswich Town, as well as a consolation strike in the final against Aston Villa.
His debut campaign as a Red, while not resulting in silverware, showed those in the Anfield hierarchy that they made a wise decision in bringing Frauendorf to Merseyside.
Frauendorf’s first season at Liverpool was rewarded with his first long-term contract being signed in July .
At the age of 17, Frauendorf was handed a significant show of faith by Liverpool after spending less than 12 months at the club.
This would have come as no surprise to Danny Galm, who was Frauendorf’s coach for two years while he played at youth level for Hoffenheim, between the summer of 2018 and him signing for Liverpool in 2020.
Galm spoke exclusively to Blood Red about his former player last year.
He said: “Mel is a very flexible player. He is straightforward with a good technique and very, very good endurance. He didn’t score the most goals, but he was involved in almost all offensive actions.
“For me, he was a very important player, who often initiated decisive moments with his dynamic and straight dribbling.
“I’m not a fan of comparing players to others but Mel is a special player. He is fast and has good endurance, and he wants to learn, but remains creative.
“He will develop physically in the next months and will grow [in responsibility] in Liverpool. I will follow his development and I hope he will soon experience the spirit of Anfield.”
The current season is only six games old and already Frauendorf has two goals and two assists to his name. The talent is there for all to see, and at such a young age, as well.
At the age of 17, despite having just one year’s worth of experience under his belt at Liverpool, Frauendorf is showing that the decision to prise him away from Hoffenheim was wise.
While talk of him reaching the first-team is likely to be some years in the future, with one or two loan spells in between, Liverpool should be excited by the talent they have at their disposal in Melkamu Frauendorf.
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