Liverpool left-back Owen Beck has been recalled to the club following a difficult loan spell at Bolton Wanderers. The Welshman has struggled to get meaningful playing time with the League One side since he joined at the end of August, making just one start in five appearances. 

Beck playing in Bolton’s League 1 fixture against Bristol Rovers last month. (Getty Images)

The loan spell was set to run until the end of the 2022/23 season, but was ended by mutual consent last week. The Fanzone Pod host Ben Timberlake feels it was too much too soon for the 20-year-old.

“I thought in the brief spells we saw of Owen during his time at Bolton he was okay, but unfortunately he just couldn’t perform at the same levels as the rest of the side.”

“There’s quite clearly potential there for a player to develop, but unfortunately it may have been the case that a team chasing the playoffs in League One was a jump too far.”

This is the second recall of the season for Beck after a tough couple of months in Portugal’s top league at Famalicão, where he didn’t make a single appearance. He was then sent on loan to Bolton, with the hope of finding form in the nature of Conor Bradley – his close friend and Liverpool Academy teammate who is also on loan at the club. Bradley like Beck is a full back, and has been one of Bolton’s standout players so far this season.

Beck’s disappointing time at the club has left some fans at Bolton puzzled – it was thought Beck would be like Bradley but on the opposite flank, given their similar successes and records in the Reds’ youth ranks. Timberlake thinks Bradley may just be that crucial step ahead of Beck, highlighted by his run out in the Champions League last season:

“I think there could be a number of reasons Owen hasn’t been able to reach the same heights, but ultimately I think it comes down to talent – Bradley is really highly rated in the Liverpool youth setup having made appearances in European competitions and might just be a step ahead of Beck in his development.”

Wanderers manager Ian Evatt operates with a 5 at the back system, where the wing backs like Beck and Bradley push on and play a key role in both attack and defence. Their playing style utilises a high, intense press as well as keeping possession and passing the ball to create chances, and has become a popular destination for Premier League clubs when sending their youngsters out on loan.

Manchester United midfielder Shola Shoretire and Southampton forward Dan Nlundulu have both recently joined Evatt’s side for the rest of the season, while Manchester City goalkeeper James Trafford also continues to master his trade at Bolton. 2023 marks Trafford’s second season on loan with the club, following a successful time out in 2022.

The Left wing position back hasn’t been nailed down so far this season for the Whites, as seen with their recent signing of Randell Williams, who has taken up the role ahead of the likes of Beck and Declan John. This has also raised some eyebrows as to why the Liverpool loanee didn’t get as much of a run in the side. Timberlake said: “I think although we’ve seen some rotation in the left wing back spot, it may be the case that Beck was brought in as a more temporary replacement until we found a more permanent solution to our lack of depth and quality in that area. Ultimately as Randell has arrived, Beck has been pushed further down the pecking order”.

The next half of the season for Beck may have to be spent back in the Liverpool Under 23s – FIFA regulations only allow a player to sign with a maximum of 3 clubs during a season, meaning he would need an exception to move elsewhere.