Conor Bradley: Who is Liverpool's newest star?

By Munir Sulaiman 31 Jan 2024
Premier League - Liverpool v Chelsea

We profile 20-year-old right-back

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Liverpool already have one of the Premier League's best right-backs in Trent Alexander-Arnold and they could potentially have another with Conor Bradley.

Alexander-Arnold's absence with an injury means 20-year-old Bradley made his Premier League debut against AFC Bournemouth, and got an assist in the 4-0 win.

He then was directly involved in THREE goals on his home Premier League debut against Chelsea in midweek. 

Highly regarded by manager Jurgen Klopp, Bradley had already made a handful of appearances for Liverpool this season, playing in the FA Cup, EFL Cup and UEFA Europa League.

It is not just at club level he has impressed, with Bradley earning 13 caps for Northern Ireland since his international debut in May 2021 at the age of 17.

But just who is the talented defender?

Bradley's beginnings

Born on 9 July 2003, Bradley joined Liverpool from Northern Ireland side Dungannon United in September 2019 and signed his first professional contract under a year later in July 2020.

During this time, Bradley starred in Liverpool's Under-23s squad, scoring his first Premier League 2 goal against West Ham United. He also played in the Under-18s team that reached the FA Youth Cup final. 

Bradley played 23 times in all competitions for Liverpool's youth sides that season before making the step up in 2021/22.

He travelled with the first team to Austria for pre-season, playing in a friendly match against German side Stuttgart. Bradley would then go on to make his full Liverpool debut in a 3-0 EFL Cup win at Norwich City (below) in September, playing 90 minutes.

Conor Bradley
Impressing at Bolton

Bradley ended the season with five senior appearances to his name, which included three in the EFL Cup - a trophy Liverpool won that season - and was also nominated for Premier League 2 Player of the Season, having registered three goals and eight assists from his 21 PL2 matches.

He moved to League One side Bolton Wanderers in 2022/23 on loan and enjoyed a successful spell, where he made 53 appearances, scoring seven goals and producing six assists as well as winning the EFL Trophy at Wembley Stadium.

Conor Bradley Bolton

Such was his impact, he was voted the club's Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year.

"A real talent"

Much improved from his spell at Bolton, Bradley returned to Liverpool but suffered an injury during pre-season and was forced to miss the first four months of the season.

He made his comeback at the end of November in a Europa League match against LASK with a substitute appearance before signing a long-term contract with the club the following month.

Bradley made his first start of the season in a 2-1 defeat to Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in the same competition before two more substitute appearances against West Ham United in the EFL Cup and Arsenal in the FA Cup.

After Alexander-Arnold suffered a knee injury in the victory at Arsenal, Bradley took his opportunity in the next fixture, a first-leg EFL Cup semi-final tie against Fulham, in which he was named man of the match as the Reds came from behind to win 2-1 at Anfield

"He'll probably fall asleep in the dressing room," Klopp said of Bradley after the 20-year-old's excellent display against Fulham. 

"Exceptional. What a boy! Wonderful character, a real talent, top potential and he's in right team because everybody loves and respects him. Everyone wants him to succeed."

Conor Bradley Klopp

While Liverpool will miss Alexander-Arnold, in Bradley, they have an excellent player eager to make his mark and someone who can become the latest name to star from the club's academy.

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