The acquisition of Dominic Solanke felt like a real coup for Liverpool last summer.
The Merseyside outfit had secured the signature of a hugely talented 19-year-old striker who was widely regarded as one of Chelsea’s most promising youngsters.
Chelsea wanted to keep him but Solanke, frustrated with his lack of first-team opportunities at Stamford Bridge, decided he would have more luck playing under Jurgen Klopp at Anfield.
Solanke, who won the FIFA Under-20 World Cup with England last summer, was right. He’s made 23 first-team appearances this season in all competitions. Klopp has given him plenty of chances to impress.
However, as we enter the final weeks of the season, the young forward is still looking for his first Liverpool goal.
Solanke, who the Reds paid around £3 million for, has never scored a first-team goal in English football. He proved he can score goals by netting seven in 26 games while on loan at Dutch side Vitesse during the 2015-16 campaign, but his lack of goals in his home country is starting to become a real concern.
Solanke was handed a big opportunity to break his duck against Everton in the Merseyside derby earlier this month but fluffed his lines, missing one big chance to score from close range. He played the full 90 minutes at Goodison Park but was unable to break the deadlock and subsequently found himself back on the bench for the next two matches against Manchester City and Bournemouth.
Solanke played for Liverpool U23s on Monday night
Keen to ensure that Solanke gets some minutes under his belt, Klopp made the 20-year-old available for Liverpool Under-23s’ Premier League 2 Division One match against Everton at Haig Avenue on Monday night.
Solanke scored a penalty in the first half but how was his overall performance?
Well, the majority of Liverpool fans who tuned in to watch the game were left distinctly underwhelmed.
They expected to see Solanke look a cut above every other player on the pitch but that wasn’t the case.
Reaction to Solanke's performance v Everton U23s
The Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce, meanwhile, handed Solanke an unflattering 6/10 rating, adding: “Tucked away the penalty but should have had a couple more.”
It seems even at U23 level, profligacy is a problem for the Reading-born striker. However, there are supporters who believe that Solanke does have *something* and that his first season as a Liverpool player might have been better served out on loan somewhere.
Critics will say they're making excuses for a player who simply hasn't taken his chances this season.
But it's important to remember that this is a striker who doesn't turn 21 until September. His best years are ahead of him.
Is Dominic Solanke good enough for Liverpool? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
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