Nathaniel Clyne will leave Liverpool on the expiry of his contract this summer, and the current circumstances have ensured it will be a lonely exit for the right-back.
Clyne is nearing the five-year anniversary of his £12.5 million from Southampton to Merseyside, but for only two of those years has he been a first-choice starter.
After a half-season loan with Bournemouth last term, Clyne was expected to seal a permanent exit, only to suffer an ACL injury on the Reds’ pre-season tour which has left him sidelined for the entire campaign.
He is now back in training but is doing so on his own, with the 29-year-old working on his fitness at an empty Kirkby facility, five miles away from the first team.
According to The Athletic‘s James Pearce, Clyne will leave the club on July 1, with there being no offer of a short-term extension following the delayed end to 2019/20.
Becoming a free agent, it will be a disappointing end to what was initially a strong run at Anfield, with 93 of his 103 appearances for the club coming in 2015/16 and 2016/17.
He had appeared to have finally solved the Reds’ long-term problem at right-back, and Klopp seemed to be a keen admirer of the No. 2.
But the reality of the current situation, and the competition for places at Liverpool, has left no room for sentiment, and recent reports have suggested West Ham will be Clyne’s next destination.
Any claim that this is a harsh decision by the powers that be would ignore the unique circumstances amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Not only have Liverpool been impacted financially, but the risk of infection has left Klopp to effectively pick a squad and stick with it for the remainder of the campaign, supplementing his senior group with young prospects.
To involve Clyne, having not played a minute’s football since the 3-2 loss to Dortmund in Notre Dame, back in July, would arguably be negligent.
It may seem unfair to exile the right-back from the senior squad, but this allows him to work on his fitness ahead of what could be his last big move.
With many clubs short of funds in the wake of the pandemic, free transfers will be increasingly valuable, and it is likely a host of sides have identified Clyne as a proven, readymade solution that would fit their budget.
Lonely it may be, but this seems the most sensible situation for Clyne as he enters his final weeks at Liverpool.