Andy Robertson was surely one of the first people Calvin Ramsay spoke to as soon as Liverpool made their interest in the young Scottish right back known. After all, Robertson has already proven how to succeed on Merseyside as a full back from north of the border. Ramsay certainly has a role model to look to at his new club.
At 18 years old, Ramsay is raw. It’s highly unlikely he will receive many first team opportunities in his first season as a Liverpool player, particularly with Trent Alexander-Arnold one of the very best in his position, but the Reds have spent around £6m on a player they believe has a lot of potential to grow and develop.
Ramsay was one of the breakthrough stars of the 2021/22 Scottish Premiership season. He made 24 appearances for Aberdeen and proved himself as one of the best full backs in the league, attracting the attention of many admiring suitors before Liverpool made their move. Bologna reportedly made an offer for the teenager in January, but didn’t meet Aberdeen’s asking price.
At international level, Ramsay has still to make his senior breakthrough, but most believe he will be a part of Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad at some point in the near future. Scotland, of course, now boast two young right backs at Merseyside clubs with Ramsay at Liverpool and Nathan Patterson at Everton.
For Liverpool, Ramsay could be the perfect deputy for Alexander-Arnold. Like the England international, Ramsay likes to get forward with the ball and is an excellent crosser of the ball. Also like Alexander-Arnold, the 18-year-old started out as a midfielder before being moved to right back. That gives him a level of technical ability not always seen in defenders.
“Calvin is another exciting young player, so we’re very pleased,” Klopp said. “He has bags of potential. He is only 18 years old at the moment, although turns 19 soon and already has a decent number of first-team appearances for a defender of his age. He is athletic, smart, confident, with good technical ability and – always crucial – is eager to learn. So there’s lots to like.”
Last season, Jurgen Klopp used Joe Gomez and James Milner at right back when Alexander-Arnold was unavailable or needed a rest. Both players proved themselves adept in this position, but it is neither player’s natural role. It gave opposition teams a weakness to target, and Milner in particular was made to look vulnerable more than once over the course of the campaign.
Kostas Tsimikas flourished as a depth option behind Robertson at left back last season with some Liverpool fans even calling for the Greek to be handed more first team opportunities. This shows Ramsay what he can achieve if he makes the most of the game time that comes his way. He must grasp every chance Klopp gives him.
There is no better place than Anfield for Ramsay to be at this stage of his career. The modern game has placed a greater focus and emphasis on full backs and Klopp’s Liverpool use their full backs even more than most. It’s where the majority of their creativity comes from. It’s the thing that differentiates them from other sides.
Klopp is building his new great Liverpool team, as demonstrated by the recent signings of Luis Diaz, Ibrahima Konate and Darwin Nunez, and Ramsay could be part of that team. Not much was expected of Robertson when he arrived at Anfield five years ago, but he was integrated in the right way and is now invaluable to the Reds. Ramsay has the natural game to follow this path.