Paul Glatzel made his first start in six months for the Liverpool Under-23s on Monday, with the striker “well placed” as he intends to revive his fortune at the club.
Almost two years ago, Glatzel was on the sidelines of Jurgen Klopp’s first team – now he is in the process of regaining his fitness after a series of hellish injuries.
This season, the 20-year-old has only played eight times, with Monday afternoon’s 2-2 draw with Leicester only his third start to the campaign and his first since December.
He impressed, kicking off Leighton Clarkson’s opener and winning the penalty for Ben Woodburn to make it 2-1, after moving to the left after an early departure from Morgan Boyes.
Whether Glatzel can return to the senior setup remains to be seen, given the time he’s lost, but U23 manager Barry Lewtas is making sure he’s in the best position to do so.
“He probably could have played a little longer, but I was keen to have another midfielder and it was his first comeback,” Lewtas told Echo of Liverpool.
“He was playing in a different position and the amount of effort he put in, which is why we took him off, but there were no injury issues and he trained really well.
“We weren’t too careful with him and he’s in a good position.”
With Glatzel in good physical shape and sharp on the pitch, Lewtas believes his mentality sets him apart as a ‘true team player’, which may well earn him a place in Klopp’s calculation.
“It probably would have helped if we played 11-11 and he was able to get a bit closer to the goal, but it shows his versatility,” Lewtas continued.
“He’s a great kid. I know I put Elijah [Dixon-Bonner] right back but if I asked Paul to go he wouldn’t be happy, but he would play for the team!
“He’s a fantastic personality and character, great for the team, and he’s a real team player. I cannot speak too much about him.
No longer a teenager, Glatzel appears to have pumped up considerably during his time on the sidelines, and he retained his touch, creativity and lead in the final third.
As Klopp faces a disjointed pre-season with players like Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota set to return late from international duty, he could turn to youngsters to beef up his ranks.
And if given another chance, Glatzel will desperately need to make up for this lost time.