Liverpool's young guard

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The Independent Online
Jamie Redknapp

Age 21. Position Midfield.

Confident and self-assured, he has never been afraid to air his views with managers. Energetic approach, a good counterpoint to the now quieter influence of John Barnes, has won him a place in the England squad. Still developing, however. Ball control can improve, along with goal-scoring. A passer who also supports the man in possession well and links neatly with the other young players in the team, Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler.

Steve McManaman

Age 23. Position Winger.

A throwback to the days of the emaciated winger, his image is deceptive. McManaman is one of the dwindling breed willing to take on defenders and his close control and pace represent the biggest threat to Bolton in Liverpool's approach play. Given a freer role by Roy Evans, he roves from right to left and even plays in the hole behind Rush and Fowler. Also willing to compete for the ball, he has replaced carelessness with some consistency.

Robbie Fowler

Age 19. Position Striker.

Fortunate to be learning from Ian Rush how to contribute to the team and become the first line of defence. His finishing is exceptional - 28 goals this season, four in the Coca-Cola Cup. Only 5ft 9in, but leaps and heads soundly. Main asset is speed, both of body and mind. "It's remarkable how far he's come and how far he can go," says Rush. "I have aboslutely no doubt that he will become an established England player."

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