Joao Teixeira running out of time to save Liverpool career

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Like any top club, there are always players who are on the verge of breaking into the first-team.

They usually fall into two categories; local-born players who've been at the academy since a young age or someone who's been signed in their late teens and forged a considerable reputation at their previous club.

Down the years, Liverpool have had a number of both types of players who haven't progressed sufficiently and have subsequently not made it at Anfield.


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Jack Robinson became the Reds' youngest player at just 16-years-old in 2011 and represented England in the 2013 Under-21's European Championship but is now playing his football on loan at Huddersfield Town from Queens Park Rangers. The Reds also signed Suso from Spanish side Cadiz in 2009 when he was just 16, beating both Barcelona and Real Madrid to the signing, but he never made an impact and was sold to AC Milan last year.

At a club like Liverpool, who have the fortunes to spend millions of pounds each transfer window on new recruits, opportunities in the first-team for up-and-comers can be difficult to come by. When a youngster is given the nod, it's vital they take the opportunity by the scruff of the neck and grab their chance.

Jon Flanagan is the best recent example and was a regular when Liverpool came within a whisker of winning the title in 2014 and emerging talents Cameron Brannagan and Kevin Stewart have also grabbed the bull by the horns this term.

Joao Teixeira was the subject of a £850,000 move from Sporting Lisbon in 2012 after being highly impressive and scoring against Liverpool's under-19's in a NextGen Series match. When he moved to Merseyside, he was 19, dubbed the 'new Deco' by some and likely thought he'd be breaking through into the first-team sooner rather than later.

Four years on since his transfer, the Braga-born playmaker has not progressed as he sufficiently would have liked and, at the age of 23, is in danger of letting his career pass him by.

Impressive efforts

Liverpool supporters had heard rumours of Teixeira's talents at the club's academy in Kirkby and they finally got to witness his talents first hand.

Brendan Rodgers threw Teixeira into the deep end when Liverpool were in the Premier League title hunt in 2014. Drawing 2-2 with eventually relegated Fulham, he replaced Raheem Sterling with eight minutes to go at Craven Cottage and played a significant role in the build-up to Daniel Sturridge winning the Reds a penalty which Steven Gerrard slotted home.

Teixeira wasn't to make another appearance that season but his performance was enough to whet the appetite of Kopites.

He was sent out on loan to Brighton and Hove Albion for the 2014/15 season and had a successful stint on the south coast, scoring six goals from 35 appearances before suffering a broken leg in April last year. Nonetheless, he was still awarded the club's Young Player of the Season and returned to Liverpool with high hopes of nailing down a regular place at Anfield.

“I came to Brighton to become more mature and get more experience, and hopefully next year I will be playing for Liverpool. That is my dream,” report the Guardian.

With Liverpool in the Europa League, it meant that Teixeira would be granted more game time. FA Cup replays against Exeter City and West Ham and the Reds reaching the League Cup final has also given him more opportunities than expected.

Time is ticking

However, the jury is still out on him and he's quickly running out of time to prove his worth.

Teixeira's contract runs out at the end of the season and, based on his performances this term, it's looking more and more likely that he'll be allowed to leave Anfield this summer on a free transfer.

Teixeira has not created any fireworks for the Reds. His finish in his side's 3-0 victory in the FA Cup third-round replay against Exeter City was calmly slotted away; however, he's not done enough to force his way into Klopp's staple squad.

Although he was lively enough against Exeter, and in Liverpool's 1-0 win against Bournemouth in the League Cup third round, he's failed to dazzle and make Jurgen Klopp sit up and take note of his efforts.

He's managed just one top-flight performance this season, coming off the bench against Leicester City last month, and he admittedly hopes for more pitch time.

The perception is that Teixeira is still one for the future but he's just six months the junior of Philippe Coutinho, who is arguably Klopp's main protagonist.

Teixeira has big-money purchases Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana for competition at Anfield and he's done very little to jump in front of any of them in the pecking order.

Mark Lawrenson believes that Teixeira is unlikely to be given a new contract come the end of the season.

"Teixeira has great ability, great ability, but he is another number 10," the BBC pundit said after Liverpool's win over Exeter.

"He is in that position where we have Coutinho, Firmino and Lallana There is too many for him. He is not better than them and probably isn't going to be better than them. So eventually, he'll probably end up getting sold."

Time is not on Teixeira's side but, luckily for him, he has a couple more opportunities to impress Klopp and salvage his Anfield career.

Does Teixeira deserve a run in the first team to prove his quality? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!

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