Jarell Quansah’s Remarkable Rise: Liverpool’s New Defensive Star
This time last year, some Liverpool fans could even be forgiven for not knowing who Jarell Quansah was.
That may be taking it too far, depending on your level of die-hard fandom, but not a soul expected him to play a prominent role this season.
He seemed like another talented young player in an academy that is thriving. Still, the inevitable loan moves away and eventual exit felt like a natural outcome, as with so many youth team stars at Anfield.
A Seamless Transition to First-Team Football
Almost from nowhere, however, Quansah has enjoyed a meteoric rise as impressive as any young Reds ace in recent years, making the step up to first-team level seamlessly.
There were understandable calls for a centre-back to be a priority target during last summer’s transfer window. Still, the Englishman’s performances have made that far less of an issue, even with Joel Matip suffering a season-ending injury.
On Saturday, Quansah was drafted into the starting lineup to face Burnley alongside Virgil van Dijk due to Ibrahima Konate’s suspension – his first-ever start at Anfield – and barely a soul seemed worried about it.
That sums up the impact that the 21-year-old has made in such a short period and the faith we already have in him, producing consistently slick performances, whether it be with the ball at his feet or remaining switched on in his defensive work.
Quansah was typically excellent in the 3-1 win over the Clarets, winning two tackles, eight out of nine aerial duels and making five clearances, all while having 125 touches. As per journalist James Martin on X, he is attempting over 100 passes per game and is in the top 10 for aerial duel wins in the Premier League.
Jarell Quansah is attempting over 100 passes per game in the Premier League, completing 91.2.
Third in the league on both counts. Small (but growing) sample size.
— James Martin (@JamesMartin013) February 12, 2024
If Liverpool had broken the bank on him last summer, the masses would be raving about him, and rightly so.
It is genuinely hard to think of many poor moments he has had all season, barring the odd lapse that any defender experiences throughout a campaign, and he has shone across all 18 appearances he has made.
Learning from the Best
Quansah couldn’t be learning from a better role model in Van Dijk, and he possesses a similar level of cool that is hard not to get excited about.
This isn’t decrying him as the next Van Dijk or anything close to the legendary Dutchman’s level. Still, he looks like a superb squad option, potentially saving Liverpool a lot of money.
The Need for a Long-term Van Dijk Successor
A left-sided centre-back is still required to replace Van Dijk in the long-term – Portugal and Sporting CP favourite Goncalo Inacio or Bayer Leverkusen ace Piero Hincapie look like a strong candidate – but there is no reason why Quansah can’t be the perfect understudy to Konate moving forward.
There may be blips along the way, at which point there shouldn’t be a desperation to write him off, and he should only grow as a player for years to come.
A Bright Future Ahead
Twelve months ago, Quansah had never even appeared for Liverpool’s first team, but one year on, he deserves all the praise coming his way.
Klopp has called him a “special” player, and judging by what we have seen, the Reds’ next manager will have a gem of a player to call upon.