Mateusz Musialowski is enjoying a blossoming reputation in Liverpool’s academy, with the 17-year-old summer signing catching the eye in first-team training in March.
For the first time this season, a player not named Mohamed Salah has won the Reds’ Goal of the Month award.
It is a minor honour, but Musialowski’s exceptional solo strike against the Newcastle under-18s has been voted the best scored by a Liverpool player in the month of March.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 16, 2021
Salah had won the previous six for the season, with Musialowski breaking a stronghold established by a player who he could eventually succeed as part of the first-team attack.
These are lofty projections for a player who joined the club from SMS Lodz on a youth contract last summer, but such has been the impact made in his first months on Merseyside, he is being widely heralded as a future star.
“Mateusz Musialowski – remember this name,” urged Zbigniew Boniek, president of the Polish FA and 80-cap former Poland international, in 2016.
The youngster was three weeks shy of his 13th birthday at the time, but in the following four years he produced a run of form that saw him score 133 goals in 88 games at youth level and earn a move to Merseyside.
He left his family behind to do so, moving to Liverpool to live with houseparents in a turbulent year clouded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It took Musialowski time to settle into a rhythm at Kirkby, with injury hampering his progress, but he is now a first-choice starter for Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s under-18s, and has already been given first-team exposure.
That came with a call-up to senior training during the March international break, joining team-mates Jarell Quansah, James Balagizi, James Norris, Melkamu Frauendorf and Kaide Gordon among those to flesh out the ranks.
Musialowski made a big impression, and his close control made traction on social media, with a clip of the Pole tearing Owen Beck, Naby Keita and Nat Phillips inside-out before seeing his left-footed strike headed off the line by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain going viral.
It is becoming something of a trademark for the teenager, weaving through bodies at will and firing a goalkeepers or teeing up team-mates, gaining unwelcome comparisons with Lionel Messi.
“I love to take the ball, just dribble through everyone. This is my style of playing football,” he told LFCTV‘s The Academy last month.
“When I dribble the first player, I feel more confident, but when I just start running, I just go.
“Coaches from Poland and here never told me to stop, so that’s why I continue!”
Already, Musialowski has scored seven goals and laid on a further two assists in 19 games in the academy, and his versatility is becoming an invaluable asset for Bridge-Wilkinson.
Able to play in every role across the forward line, the youngster is most regularly deployed as a centre-forward, but is equally comfortable on either flank or as a No. 10.
In an interview with The Athletic, UK-based Polish FA scout Przemek Soczynski described Musialowski as “not a player Polish people are used to,” as he possesses “the wow factor.”
“What he’s showing is that he is a top prospect,” Soczynski added.
“I don’t think many people expected this. In Poland, we knew he was an exceptional talent but he was never challenged at this level.”
That highlights the impact Musialowski has made in his first season with Liverpool, and though it is early days – having yet to even make his debut with the under-23s – there is clearly a lot to be excited about.