With just over two weeks until the end of the 2021-22 summer transfer window, Rovers have made Blues fan, Leighton Clarkson, the club’s first signing of the season, after the 19-year old signed on a season-long loan from Liverpool.
The Blackburn-born midfielder, who was also a Rovers season-ticket holder, follows in the footsteps of Liverpool teammate, Harvey Elliott, who enjoyed a fruitful loan spell at Ewood Park, last season.
After signing a new ‘long-term’ contract with the Reds, last July, Clarkson has gone on to show his value to Jürgen Klopp, with the German handing the teenager his Champions League debut away in Denmark, as the already advanced Reds drew with then-Danish champions FC Midtjylland, with Clarkson playing the full 90 minutes.
Alongside his European exploits, Clarkson has been utilised by Liverpool domestically, with his debut coming in December 2019, in the Carabao Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa, which concurrently came during the Red’s Club World Cup campaign. With a young side left to travel to Villa Park, Clarkson came off the bench to make his debut for the Reds and play 13 minutes, but couldn’t he help the young side overpower an experienced Aston Villa team.
Clarkson’s first domestic start for Liverpool came in their FA Cup Fourth Round replay against Shrewsbury Town, at Anfield in February 2020, as another very young Liverpool side narrowly overcame the League One outfit, in-front of more than 50,000 spectators, with Clarkson playing most of the tie, before being replaced in added time at the end of the second period.
Despite being a regular within Liverpool’s under-23s side – where he also netted a late equaliser against Rovers in April 2021 – Clarkson is not a stranger to silverware at youth level, with him being part of the under-18s Reds side who won the FA Youth Cup in 2019. It seems like goals against Rovers is a key aspect to Clarkson’s game, as he also netted against the first-team in June 2020, when the Reds beat Rovers 6-0 in a friendly, just prior to the return of football, following lockdown.
Since graduating from the Liverpool academy, after spending much of his childhood within Rovers’ youth categories, Clarkson has caught the eye of many EFL clubs, with Tony Mowbray in-particular taking a fancy in the technical midfielder, who has been described by Liverpool’s website as a ‘threat at set-pieces’. After spending pre-season with Klopp’s side, where he played in five of Liverpool’s eight friendlies, Rovers will undoubtedly be looking to utilise Clarkson’s quality, both from dead balls and his range of passing, in order to bulk up the centre of their midfield.
Welcome home and Good Luck, Leighton!