In case you aren’t already aware, both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino will be unavailable for Liverpool as they look to overturn a 3-0 deficit against Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday evening. Not ideal for the Reds.
Jurgen Klopp has revealed that their absences will pave the way for academy graduate Rhian Brewster to come into the side – in what could be the ultimate baptism of fire debut.
It’ll certainly be a stern test of the 19-year-old’s credentials, but he isn’t the first to be chucked in at the deep end.
Here’s a list of seven of the toughest debut games.
Anthony Martial – Manchester United
He certainly got United supporters excited when he scored a stunning solo goal on his debut against none other than Liverpool. The goal proved to be the winner as the Red Devils went on to win the game 2-1, propelling the French forward to super stardom.
After four years in Manchester, Martial hasn’t become an overwhelming favourite at Old Trafford and his debut remains the high point of his early career.
Gianluigi Buffon – Parma
Buffon did just that, maintaining a clean sheet as Parma recorded an impressive 2-0 win over I Rossoneri. That doesn’t even tell the whole story, as Buffon was kept incredibly busy, making a string of fine saves from the likes of Roberto Baggio and Timothy Weah.
As has been well-documented, Buffon has gone on to enjoy an incredibly illustrious career, winning almost everything there is to win (with the notable exception of the Champions League) and is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.
Luis Suarez – Barcelona
Luis Suarez hadn’t played a competitive game of football for four months prior to his Barcelona debut in 2014, after he received a ban for a bite on Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup.
Surprisingly, his first game for Barcelona came in El Clasico – something even he was surprised about. The Uruguayan got on the score sheet, but he was unable to prevent his side from slipping to a 3-1 defeat.
Suarez has since gone on to become a huge success at Barcelona, registering an impressive 177 goals in 246 appearances.
Matteo Guendouzi – Arsenal
Very few had even heard of Matteo Guendouzi before Arsenal shelled out £7m to sign the youngster from Lorient, so it was a big shock to see him start against reigning champions Manchester City on the opening day of the season.
The Frenchman showed promise, but he looked a little rough round the edges and was often found out by the City midfield.
Guendouzi has been a first team regular under Unai Emery this season and has shown plenty of signs of improvement. If he continues along the same path, he could go on to enjoy a decent career in north London.
Dieter Muller – West Germany
Dieter Muller went to the 1976 European Championships with West Germany as an uncapped 22-year-old and he was given his international debut in the semi-finals against Yugoslavia, coming on as a substitute with 11 minutes left on the clock.
West Germany were 2-1 down and were heading for elimination before Muller found an equalising goal with his first touch in international football. Muller then went on to score two more goals in extra-time, securing a memorable debut hat-trick in the most spectacular of circumstances.
Muller scored again in the final against Czechoslovakia, but West Germany went on to lose on penalties.
Francis Jeffers – Everton
Once labelled as the ‘fox in the box’, Francis Jeffers was regarded as one of the most promising strikers in the English game during the late nineties.
Jeffers made his senior debut for Everton aged just 16, coming on as a half-time substitute against Manchester United in 1997. He went on to endure a few mixed seasons with the Toffees before making the switch over to Arsenal.
That turned out to be a disastrous move and Jeffers failed to make any sort of impact at the top level and his career eventually wound down in Australia in 2013.
Federico Macheda – Manchester United
Federico Macheda’s debut may not have been against a European heavyweight, but it was an incredibly important game in the race for the 2009 Premier League title.
Manchester United were on the brink of a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa which would have provided Liverpool with the upper hand heading into the final stages of the season. Up stepped Macheda, a virtual unknown at the time, to provide a stoppage time winner with a sensational strike from outside the box.
United went on to win the league that year, but Macheda ended up falling by the wayside. The Italian has become somewhat of a journeyman after failing to make the grade with the Red Devils and currently plys his trade in Greece for Panathinaikos. What ever happens, at least he’ll always be remembered for that goal.