Expected to leave Liverpool this summer, Portuguese defender Tiago Ilori is instead set to stay and play U23s football for 2016/17.
Having been recalled from an unsuccessful loan spell with Aston Villa in January, before going on to make just three FA Cup appearances for Klopp’s side, Ilori was widely tipped to leave on a permanent transfer this summer.
Olympiakos, Eintracht Frankfurt, Freiburg, Valencia and former loan club Granada were all reported to be interested in signing the 23-year-old.
Liverpool though did not want the centre-back to head out on loan again and instead wanted £4 million for the unwanted player.
Ilori will now drop down to the Reds’ U23s ranks, and turn out for Michael Beale’s side in Premier League 2.
This will be a setback for Ilori, who will have been looking to salvage his career with a transfer this summer.
Persistent injury issues have hampered his development since an initial £4 million move from Sporting CP in 2013, with Ilori very much in need of a fresh start.
Instead, he will serve as a senior influence for the U23s, working alongside Beale and academy director Alex Inglethorpe to improve the likes of Juanma and Conor Masterson.
Klopp has been pushing for a loan move for the out-of-favour Frenchman, but Sakho is said to have dug his heels in, hoping to instead impress his manager on the training field.
It could be that Sakho partners Ilori in the U23s defence at times this season, with Klopp no doubt eager to maintain the 26-year-old’s fitness despite his lowly standing within his squad. That would also test Sakho’s professionalism.