How ex-Portsmouth triallist Elijah Dixon-Bonner used Blues set-back to re-launch Liverpool career following Carabao Cup appearance against Preston
Former Pompey triallist Elijah Dixon-Bonner has used his Blues disappointment to kick-start his Liverpool career.
The midfielder was introduced from the bench by Reds boss Jurgen Klopp on Wednesday night as the Premier League giants bypassed Preston to book their place in the last eight of the Carabao Cup.
And although it was just a cameo appearance, really, replacing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with 90+1 minutes on the clock, it’s was a run-out which the youngster probably could not have envisioned just three months earlier.
Dixon-Bonner appeared to be surplus to requirements at the six-time European champions in the summer – following one senior appearance for the Anfield outfit – and was granted the opportunity to leave with the club looking to shift a number of their under-23 players.
As a result, the 20-year-old arrived at Fratton Park looking for a fresh start and to launch a career in senior football.
The midfielder was one of a host of players under Danny Cowley’s magnifying glass as he looked to bolster his ranks following his very own squad overhaul.
This saw him gain opportunities to impress during the Blues’ pre-season programme, as the Fratton Park head coach assessed his quality in friendlies against Bristol City and Luton Town.
However, his spell on the south coast ultimately proved unsuccessful as the club opted against offering him a contract, thus sending him back to Merseyside.
Yet rather than let his Pompey snub get the better of him, Dixon-Bonner used the set-back as a springboard to re-ignite his Anfield career.
On Monday night, he bagged a brace for Liverpool under-23s in a 2-2 draw with Blackburn Rovers which prompted his first-team call-up at Deepdale.
‘Elijah deserved a few minutes, that's how it is,’ Klopp told Sky Sports at the full-time whistle.
With the visitors leading 2-0 thanks to strikes from Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi and the final whistle set to blow, the midfielder’s brief appearance may seem insignificant to many.
But for Dixon-Bonner, it was just reward for his hard-work and improvement after being rejected by the Blues.