James Pearce has confirmed that Liverpool will not be parting with Ben Davies this summer, as the player is currently being considered as part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans for the next season.
The former Preston North End defender had signed with the Reds in the winter window, though has yet to grace the turf in the famous red shirt as of yet.
Nathaniel Phillips, a player that has impressed during the side’s injury crisis, is likely to be kept on, though there is a possibility of the 24-year-old being sold if a move is desired by both the club and centre-back.
“I’m only expecting Liverpool to buy one centre-half this summer and as things stand at the moment I think that’s likely to be Konate from Leipzig,” The Athletic journalist told The Red Agenda podcast.
“The fascinating thing will be what Klopp does on top of that because I think with the manner of having three centre-backs all coming back from serious injuries you’re gonna have to be more stocked in that department than you would usually be going into a normal season.
“I spoke to people close to Ben Davies and he’s been told that he won’t be going anywhere, that Liverpool still see him as part of the setup next season.
“With Nat Phillips, the smart money suggests he’ll be kept around unless Liverpool gets the kind of offer that makes them think it makes better sense to sell him and he wants to go.
“That’s the other thing with Nat Phillips, whether he’s happy to go back to being a squad man or whether he thinks having had such a taste of it he wants to go somewhere and be a regular.”
With Ibrahima Konate reportedly close to an Anfield switch from RB Leipzig, the club’s options for the centre-half spot next year would appear to include Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Konate, Joel Matip, Nathaniel Phillips, and Davies.
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While we can accept that the 25-year-old hasn’t exactly had an opportunity to prove his worth to this Liverpool side, it’s rather telling that he couldn’t break into a first-XI where Phillips and Rhys Williams were the main deputies for our sidelined starting duo.
To the neutral eye, it would certainly appear that Klopp’s faith in the Englishman’s abilities were somewhat low, particularly given that Ozan Kabak was thrust into the limelight early on in a trial by fire against Leicester City in February.
The on-loan Schalke man had impressed in the heart of our defence up until suffering his own injury towards the latter end of the campaign.
Nonetheless, many had reasonably assumed that the Turkey international had done more than enough to justify a permanent move to Merseyside.
As things stand, however, we’ll be sending the 21-year-old packing to his parent club in Germany, whilst holding on to a defender who couldn’t get any minutes.
With Champions League football – and all the financial benefits attached – assured, it doesn’t exactly make the most sense to overlook Kabak’s £18m option-to-buy, particularly if we’re willing to send Williams out on loan next year.
We at the EOTK will certainly back the transfer decisions of Klopp and Michael Edwards and co. but it’s somewhat difficult to see the benefit of releasing the No.19 when we’re in need of quality centre-halves.