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Liverpool ‘delay’ Ben Woodburn’s Sunderland loan following Philippe Coutinho exit

Liverpool are yet to sanction Ben Woodburn‘s proposed loan to Sunderland, as they weigh up their options after Philippe Coutinho‘s move to Barcelona.

Woodburn has featured just once for the Reds’ first team this season, as a second-half substitute in September’s 2-0 defeat to Leicester City in the League Cup.

The 18-year-old was expected to link up with his former Wales manager for a half-season loan switch to Sunderland in order to gain further experience at senior level.

And Coleman’s youth-heavy approach, saying this week how “if you’re ready and capable, come here,” looked set to aid Woodburn’s development.

But with Coutinho due to finalise his £142 million move to Barcelona on Monday, after Liverpool agreed a deal on Saturday afternoon, the youngster’s future remains up in the air.

According to the Mail, both Coutinho’s imminent departure and Mohamed Salah‘s current groin injury have prompted a delay in Woodburn’s exit.

They claim that “Klopp has put a block on the move,” and “Sunderland must now wait for Liverpool to give the go-ahead before getting the deal over the line.”

Woodburn had already been forced to wait for the green light to head to the Stadium of Light to provide Klopp with another option for Friday’s FA Cup third-round clash with Everton.

He failed to make the matchday squad at Anfield, but he is likely to have been part of the group who headed to Dubai for Liverpool’s warm-weather training camp on Saturday.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 19, 2017: Liverpool's Ben Woodburn during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Woodburn can be seen as a long-term successor for Coutinho, particularly given his performances in a deeper midfield role during pre-season and for the U19s this term.

But he requires further experience before he can be relied upon on a regular basis in the Premier League and Champions League.

Joining Sunderland on a short-term deal would likely provide that, with Coleman a manager with an in-depth knowledge of Woodburn’s abilities.

Coleman gave Woodburn his senior Wales debut back in September, and was rewarded as the teenager came off the substitutes’ bench to score the winner in a 1-0 victory over Austria.

The 47-year-old employs a hard-working outlook that depends on the unity of his squad, and this could provide Woodburn with an invaluable taster of what to expect at Liverpool in the future.

It remains to be seen if and when he makes the switch, however, as Klopp seeks a replacement for his No. 10.

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