As Jurgen Klopp acquaints himself with some of Liverpool’s young loanees this international break, he may be considering a recall or two.
Expressing his surprise at the charitable nature of the English loan system in October, Klopp suggested that he may look to implement an overhaul during his time as Liverpool manager.
“I try to learn all about English football because it is completely different to other countries. Liverpool a few years ago had 20 to 25 players out on loan,” he said.
“Maybe we need to cool down the situation a little bit, hold on to these guys longer and let them play in our second team and develop as a team.”
Klopp is seemingly of the opinion that Liverpool’s young players will benefit more from time at the club, and with this in mind the German could recall some of his loanees this season.
However, it was interesting to note the words of Spanish winger Sergi Canos this week, who despite not being a regular starter for Brentford in the Championship, does appreciate the benefits of the move.
“To get the chance to play at Championship level is unbelievable and I also get the opportunity to train with men,” Canos explained.
“I’ve been there for three months now and I feel like a new player, which is really good for me.”
Canos is one of few players to have left Liverpool on loan this summer and gone on the progress significantly, with the Spaniard impressing as a squad player at Brentford.
This should be no surprise, as Canos is physically and mentally developed beyond his 18 years, and while he has started just once for the Bees in the Championship, he has slotted in well at the club.
So it’s not quite as simple as recalling any player who would just bolster the ranks.
Liverpool currently have 18 players out on loan, although a dozen of them are injured.
Meanwhile, agreements involving fees – such as with Tiago Ilori, Andre Wisdom and Lazar Markovic – are difficult to terminate, meaning Klopp is only free to recall any youngsters whose temporary moves don’t involve a fee.
That doesn’t leave many options, given that the likes of Sheyi Ojo and Ryan Kent are benefitting from regular playing time at Wolves and Coventry respectively. It would be detrimental to recall them early if they weren’t to get an opportunity.
Here, then, are three players who aren’t really benefitting from their loans, and who Klopp could recall without involving a fee.
Loan Club: Aberdeen
League Appearances 2015/16: 4
While Danny Ward excels as Aberdeen’s No. 1 goalkeeper, Liverpool academy team-mate McLaughlin has struggled for game time in the Scottish Premiership.
The Northern Irishman is a well-rounded right-back option, but with Dons manager Derek McInnes settled on Shay Logan as his first choice, McLaughlin has made just two starts since his move from Liverpool, and only one of these has come in the league.
Beyond these two appearances, McLaughlin has made three one-minute cameos in the league.
After performing well during a short spell with Barnsley in the Championship last season – prior to injury, it is a surprise that McLaughlin has made such little impact in Scotland.
While his current deal with the Dons is set to come to an end in January, it would be beneficial for Liverpool to terminate this agreement early, and add McLaughlin to Klopp’s ranks at Melwood.
There were reports prior to the international break that McLaughlin would spend the international break at Melwood so Klopp can take a closer look, but he did not feature in the behind-closed-doors friendly with Wolves on Monday so perhaps this didn’t materialise.
It’s certainly debatable whether the 21-year-old has the ability to cover for Nathaniel Clyne in the Premier League, but McLaughlin would provide a welcome backup at right-back until Jon Flanagan is match fit.
Loan Club: Blackpool
League Appearances 2015/16: 8
Three months into his season-long loan with Blackpool, Jones’ progress was halted by a serious knee injury, with the centre-back ruled out for three months at the beginning of October.
Jones has since returned to Liverpool for treatment, with an eye on heading back to the Bloomfield Road on his recovery.
But, while Jones is treated at Melwood, Klopp would be wise to familiarise himself with the 20-year-old, with his own defensive options hampered by injuries this season.
The decision to loan Jones to a club as turbulent as Blackpool was a bizarre one, with the instability of life under chairman Karl Oyston hardly aligned with harmonious youth development.
Blackpool are currently 21st in the League One table, with Neil McDonald’s side rocked by Jones’ absence.
Jones is set to return to full training in January, and Klopp could look to recall his finest academy defender to serve as cover to his first-team ranks.
Loan Club: Crewe Alexandra
League Appearances 2015/16: 5
On paper, Wilson’s move to Crewe Alexandra was a perfect fit.
Crewe were receiving one of the brightest attacking talents in Liverpool’s academy, and Wilson was joining a club famed for their approach to youth development.
But, after struggling to make an impact in his first months at the club—as well as missing a number of games due to international commitments with the Wales U21s side—Wilson is currently stagnating.
The 18-year-old has made just two starts for the club in League One, along with three substitutes’ appearances, stationed on the right wing.
For a player who took up a key role in Michael Beale’s U21s side last season, this could be detrimental to Wilson’s development, and having returned to Melwood during the international break, he could look to take Klopp’s advice and rejoin the Reds full time.
Wilson has the potential to be a star in Klopp’s first team in the future, and a return could boost his chances.