Liverpool’s rising star Conor Bradley is mourning the death of his father.
Bradley has been playing amid the background of his dad, Joe, bravely battling serious illness. His passing was confirmed on Saturday, just three days after a coming-of-age performance from the 20-year-old defender in the Premier League.
The news underlines the courage of the Northern Irish player as he has given a series of standout performances since breaking into Jurgen Klopp’s side.
A club statement from Liverpool read: “Liverpool FC is deeply saddened by the death of Conor Bradley’s father, Joe, today.
“The thoughts of everybody at the club are with Conor and all of the Bradley family at this very difficult and sad time.
“On behalf of Conor, LFC strongly urges that the family’s privacy is fully respected at this time.”
He was man-of-the-match in the club’s midweek win over Chelsea, when he scored and was responsible for two assists, and was due to travel with the rest of the squad to London ahead of Sunday’s game against Arsenal.
Bradley had been tipped to start the game ahead of Trent Alexander-Arnold but was left out of the squad entirely.
Since moving to Liverpool - first spotted by Anfield scouts as a nine-year-old when he was playing for his local team St Patrick’s in County Tyrone - Bradley has been represented by his parents rather than an agent.
The praise for his performances has been effusive from Jurgen Klopp, and the tragic news will put those stellar displays into a new perspective.
Bradley is the first Northern Ireland-born player in 70 years to score for Liverpool in the top division of English football.
Last Wednesday, he was given the ultimate accolade when his name was chanted vociferously by the Kop.
Naturally, he can anticipate the club and supporters to rally around him even more in the aftermath of such an awful event.