Ovie Ejaria was absent as the Liverpool under-23s continued pre-season against League One opposition on Wednesday, drawing 0-0 with Coventry City.
The 21-year-old is free to leave the Reds this summer if an offer close to the club’s £3 million valuation is met, with Brentford among the sides interested.
But there remains the possibility that Ejaria stays, which would see him bolster the midfield ranks ahead of a campaign that sees a first foray into the EFL Trophy.
Liverpool have entered the competition for 2019/20 and an under-21s side will therefore take on clubs from League One and League Two, providing a staunch test of the youngsters’ ability.
However, in a pre-season friendly clearly designed to prepare the young Reds for the challenges of the EFL Trophy, Ejaria was not part of the squad.
The likes of George Johnston, Pedro Chirivella, Herbie Kane and Liam Millar started, though, along with teenagers Morgan Boyes, Dixon-Bonner and Jack Bearne.
After a 5-1 victory over AFC Marine at the weekend, this was a much closer contest, and the final whistle ensured a share of the spoils in Rugby.
Boyes was required to make a goal-line block to keep out the lively Wesley Jobello, while goalkeeper Ben Winterbottom was kept busy throughout the second half—unlike his opposite number in sky blue.
Millar had the best of the chances for Liverpool, but the Canadian’s effort was kept out by Ben Wilson, as a crowd of 2,594 witnessed a stalemate.
Though Ejaria’s absence could well be due to minor injury, or he may have simply been rested, it is interesting that he was not involved so soon after reports emerged that he could be on the way out.
Reading had hoped to re-sign the lofty midfielder on loan, but that is seemingly not an option.
If he departs, Ejaria will do so having made eight appearances for the Reds’ first team, before falling out of favour under Jurgen Klopp who has since revamped his options in the middle of the park.
But if he stays, he can provide Liverpool with an experienced candidate for their push for silverware in the EFL Trophy.