By recruiting striker Joe Hardy from Brentford for an undisclosed 41, below the radar, Liverpool have quietly made their second signing of the January transfer window amid the fanfare around the coming of Takumi Minamino from Red Bull Salzburg. Together with Rhian Brewster anticipated to depart on loan this month, Hardy’s coming is a boost for Neil Critchley’s U23’s squad, with his side sitting in seventh place at the Premier League 2.Hardy developed before joining Brentford at March 2017, where he has plundered 40 goals in 80 appearances for the B group, including three games this season. Speaking of his move to Liverpool, Brentford’s B team director Neil MacFarlane stated: “He could perhaps arrive at the end of his time in terms of the plan, and also to go to a club the size of Liverpool can only be helpful for him.”The team are flying at the moment, they’re European winners, and possible Premier League winners, therefore being in and about that environment can only be good for Joe. He going that has prepared him properly.”We’ve mentioned it lately, not all our players will go on to play for Brentford’s first group, but what we want to do is give them a career and this is a step forward in Joe’s career and also his head to visit Liverpool and compete with all the under-23 team and see where it takes him.”

Hardy’s arrival represents a continuation of a crystal clear transfer strategy from Liverpool, where they’re not just recruiting players who will quickly come in and play for the very first team, but additionally whose who can improve the U23’s squad and use that environment as a platform for the next stage of the development. Since the likes of Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott have established already this year, Klopp is willing to provide U23s players opportunities in the senior side in the national cup competitions, and also the effect of Elliott, in particular, should set an example of what could be achieved in such a brief space of time after joining Liverpool initially to strengthen the youth group. At 21, Hardy is at the older end of the spectrum for U23’s degree, but distinct players grow at different rates and it is possible that he might turn out to be a relatively late bloomer, together with Liverpool obviously seeing an adequate reason to create a move at this point. He is certainly one to watch on for the U23s between now and the season’s end, and should he impress for Critchley’s side, he may well be involved within the summer with the senior squad.