Everything is rosy in the Liverpool garden at the moment with Brendan Rodgers’ side currently third in the Premier League and 11/10 to claim a Champions League spot.
Always keen to improve his side furtherRodgers is already eyeing up his targets for the January transfer window and Will Hughes has caught the eye with his fine performances for Derby.
Hughes has upped his output with three goals and three assists in this campaign, more than he managed in the whole of last season.
The pasty playmaker turned plenty of heads in breaking through to the Derby first team last season, with Liverpool one of several Premier League sides linked with a summer move.
Now 18, Hughes has stepped up another level this season, directly contributing to a fifth of Derby’s goals in the Championship.
The Rams sit just outside the play-off places after going unbeaten in four and Hughes extra prolificacy in front of goal could help fire up a promotion bid.
Despite being just 18, Hughes is a regular in the England Under-21 side, with four caps to his name.
Making his England Under-21 debut when he was 17, Hughes is the second-youngest player ever to feature for the side.
Although he was forced to withdraw from Gareth Southgate’s squad for the recent matches against San Marino and Lithuania through injury, Hughes has become an important part of the new manager’s plans and his profile will continue to grow with international exposure.
Hughes has more experience than Steven Gerrard did at his age and can be the long-term replacement for Liverpool’s talisman.
It will be an ominous challenge for any player to be given the mantle of replacing Gerrard at Liverpool, but Hughes has already been likened to the Anfield icon.
At Derby Hughes plays a similar attacking role in central midfield, currently averaging two key passes per game – the 12th best tally in the Championship – and he is more established than Gerrard was at the same age.
Hughes has made his club and England Under-21 debut earlier than Gerrard and has already scored more goals in this campaign than the 33-year-old bagged in his first two seasons in the Reds’ side.