Brendan Rodgers used his first game as Liverpool manager to give a host of young players a chance.
The Reds took on Toronto FC in a pre-season clash in July 2012, and Raheem Sterling, Suso, and Adam Morgan were three hot young prospects who were introduced for the second half in an experimental 1-1 draw.
All three entered the fray with big reputations, but it was Morgan who popped up with a poacher’s finish to score the first goal of Rodgers’ reign.
It was a dream debut for a teenage striker who had long been touted in Melwood as a potential heir apparent to ‘God’.
The young Scouser had been prolific at underage for the Merseyside club, leading Fowler himself to claim that “as a finisher, he is probably one of the best I’ve seen for a long, long time.”
The clinical forward netted 18 goals in 16 games during the 2010–11 FA Premier Academy League, and scored 13 times in 21 appearances for the u18 side the following season.
After then scoring on his senior debut, Morgan made another substitute appearance against Roma in the Reds’ next friendly, before earning his first start against Tottenham om July 28th.
He made his competitive debut less than a month later, replacing Fabio Borini late on in a 1-0 win over Hearts in a Europa League qualifier. He started the return fixture, and was unfortunate to see a goal ruled out as Liverpool picked up a 1-1 draw at Anfield.
He then started the group stage defeat against Anzhi Makhachkala, but that was as good as it got for the Liverpudlian at senior level for his boyhood club.
Brendan Rodgers eventually called the young striker into his office after a training session in which Morgan struggled greatly against Martin Skrtel, and told the youngster that he wouldn’t make it at Anfield.
The Liverpool manager did not doubt the academy starlet’s ability, but felt he wasn’t ready physically to play in the Premier League. Morgan later revealed that he sat in his car after the meeting and wept.
“Brendan said he didn’t doubt my ability but he said that physically I wasn’t ready and looked out of my depth,” he told the Liverpool Echo.
“He explained that was why he had asked Skrtel to stay close to me throughout the training game. He said he thought I maybe needed to go to a Championship club and kick on from there. He told me it straight.
“I went and sat in my car outside Melwood and cried. It hurt being told my time at Liverpool was over.”
Raheem Sterling quickly established himself as a key player for the Reds before joining Man City, and Suso has developed into an impressive player for AC Milan since leaving Anfield, but Morgan’s career has yet to take off.
Made me feel a lot better this ⚽️👍😢 pic.twitter.com/bC1sv14kU9
— Adam Morgan (@AMorgan94) December 5, 2016
He was loaned to Rochdale and later Yeovil Town in 2013, and signed for the latter on a permanent basis in January 2014. However, Morgan fell out of favour at the English club, and was loaned to St Johnstone, but he made just five appearances for the Scottish side.
His loan spell was cut short, but he benefited from a change in management at his parent club. Yeovil replaced Gary Johnson – who had frozen Morgan out – with Terry Skiverton, and Morgan scored a late penalty (and his first professional goal) upon his restoration to the first team.
It wasn’t enough to change his fortunes at the club, and he spent a year at Accrington before dropping down to non-league level in 2016. His career at Colwyn Bay was cut short when he failed to turn up to a match, but rediscovered his goalscoring touch at his next club, Curzon Ashton.
He scored nine goals in as many games for the club, including a hat-trick for the minnows against AFC Wimbledon in the second round of the FA Cup, but still ended up on the losing side as Wimbledon produced a stunning comeback to win 4-3.
Steven Gerrard was in the studio for the game, and described Morgan as “a fantastic player”.
Now Morgan is on the move again, having recently signed for Sligo Rovers.
— Sligo Rovers (@sligorovers) January 10, 2018
He is still just 23, and Sligo boss Gerard Lyttle – who has described Morgan’s arrival as “a massive signing for the club” – deserves huge credit for convincing Morgan to join the League of Ireland outfit.
“I’m really happy to be here,” Morgan told the club’s official website.
“The move has been on the cards for a while now. It’s the manager that has convinced me to come. I knew there was interest from Sligo and Craig Roddan who is a friend of mine had been speaking to me about possibly come here when it emerged.
“But Gerard (Lyttle) was so keen to get me over and it sealed it for me to move. I really like the way he speaks about football and the passion he has for the game. You can tell he is just a really nice man as well and that he wants to be successful with Sligo.”
Sligo maintained their top-flight status with a strong end to last season, and will be hoping to kick on in 2018, with Morgan likely to be key to any success.
What the forward needs now is confidence, stability, and regular game time, all of which he can find at Rovers.
Morgan says he has joined the SSE Airtricity League club to score goals, and he has certainly made a decent start.
He scored twice on his debut against Linfield in a pre-season friendly last night, in a game which the Bit o’ Red lost 6-3.
It took the instinctive striker just four minutes to get off the mark, and Sligo fans his brace is the first of many this season.
This article originally appeared on The Season Ticket.