FeatureMeet the Academy: The story of Luke Chambers' Liverpool debut and development

Luke Chambers of Liverpool FC
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By Glenn Price

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Luke Chambers went to sleep with a full heart after Liverpool's Carabao Cup win over Leicester City last month.

For Chambers and his family in attendance, all the sacrifices made during his journey with the club were, in the end, worth it.

A handful of minutes on Anfield's pitch was ample compensation.

The 19-year-old stepped off the bench at the start of second-half injury time to make his competitive senior debut for the Reds – the undoubted high point of his career so far after joining at the age of six.

Recalling that moment a few weeks on, Chambers tells Liverpoolfc.com: "When the third goal went in, I was just clapping and after I sat back down in my seat, I was kind of just fazed out. It was in the 89th minute.

"I didn't hear the gaffer at first and Curt [Jones] next to me tapped me and said, 'Lad, you're coming on, you're coming on.' And then I looked up and he was like, 'Get your shirt on.'

"It was a bit of a blur from then on."

He continues: "You have to put a lot of sacrifices [in]. You miss times where you maybe wanted to go out but you can't. Moments like that, it just shows it's all worth it.

"Especially my mum and dad, taking me to football and leaving work early and putting themselves out for me, it was just as good a moment for them as it was for me.

"It's only the start. I want more, I want more opportunities. It's a good starting point, though."

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Chambers replaced Kostas Tsimikas on the night and slotted in at left-back, one of a number of defensive roles in which he can operate.

His background as a midfielder in younger age groups make him a defender who is more than comfortable with the ball at his feet.

By his own admission, he's not a player at the back who'll be exclusively known for his last-ditch challenges and towering headers.

"I think I'm more of a stay-on-my-feet defender," Chambers says. "I don't really rush in to a lot of stuff, I'm more careful about my positioning. That's why I intercept quite a lot of passes and I'm on the front foot and read the play well.

"When you watch Virg [van Dijk] defending, he's so elegant and he reads the game very well. I think they're the best kind of defenders in this day and age. That's what I base my game off just composure while defending.

"Looking at my versatility now, it really helps me in the game. Having those positions, I just think it opens a lot more doors.

"If you're comfortable on the ball and playing for a club like Liverpool, I think that's what's demanded all over the pitch. Even if you're a goalkeeper or wherever you're playing, you're demanded to play with the ball.

"I think it suits me well, so I'll just have to keep being brave and getting on it."

Chambers' recent development included heading out on loan to Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership for the second half of last season.

That stint north of the border brought about some crucial learnings in a senior dressing room – and in the kitchen as well.

"The cooking at first..." he laughs. "But then after a few weeks I kind of got to grips with it. I had my little ritual meals, my bolognese and chicken wraps that I loved doing. I did learn quite quick I had to or I was going to be in trouble!

"Walking into Kilmarnock, I think it was a bit different because jobs were on the line and it was kind of a different environment. When I was 18 walking into a dressing room like that, it was a brilliant eye-opener for me.

"I think when I came back to Liverpool, it matured me a lot as a person and it gave me lessons I couldn't really learn at Liverpool – like the other side of the game and living on my own."

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Even when not playing or training, Chambers considers himself to be a devoted student of football, watching and analysing any game – whether in-person or at home on the TV.

However, when no matches appear on the listings, the Lancastrian has a somewhat unusual on-screen taste for someone his age.

"I watch some old films like Rambo, I like my old films!" he admits. "The Incredibles one, I love watching that. I love watching the old Toy Story films."

If he were to write a Hollywood script about his own career and his future, Chambers would tell the tale of a rise from U6 level through to becoming an established figure in the men's team at Liverpool.

But for fiction to turn into reality, he's well aware there are plenty more milestones and work ahead.

Chambers finishes: "Short term, I'd like to get a couple more appearances off the bench or even a few starts. Hopefully I get a few more opportunities.

"Long term, I want to cement my place in Liverpool's first team as a left-back and go on to have countless appearances. That's my dream."

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