Newcastle lost young winger Luis Longstaff to the clutches of Liverpool in 2015, when the player was still 14, and the Reds’ ridiculous fixture schedule looks set to provide him with a huge opportunity.
With Jurgen Klopp’s first team squad currently in Qatar, their EFL Cup quarter final side for the game at Aston Villa is going to be made up of a bunch of hungry young fringe and under-23 players.
Longstaff – no relation to Sean and Matty – is likely to see his impressive form for the Liverpool second-string be rewarded with a place in the side for the game, which is being overseen by Neil Critchley, the under-23 head coach, who knows all about the youngsters.
Newcastle had high hopes for Longstaff, who had been with the club since the age of nine, but were powerless to stop Liverpool making their move, and he has gone from strength to strength since then.
Newcastle lost a couple of future stars to Merseyside
Newcastle lost another youngster to Merseyside not too long afterwards, with Lewis Gibson joining Everton, and although Newcastle are trying to lure their former defender back to Tyneside, there seems little chance of a similar outcome happening for Longstaff.
He is clearly highly regarded by the Anfield club, and was on the bench for their earlier EFL Cup game against MK Dons in September.
Should he get the nod against Villa, and impress, he could force his way into the first team picture at Liverpool for the latter half of the season.
When he makes the breakthrough to the Premier League squad eventually, you can bet he will go on to be another of those players you watch, and wonder just how on earth Newcastle managed to let him get away.
But for now, we would like to wish Longstaff luck if he is handed a starting spot, and hopefully every Newcastle fan will watch his performance with interest, and maybe a hint of envy.