It had been claimed that Ben Davies would be set for a season-long loan away from Liverpool this summer, but now the Merseyside press insist the centre-back will stay.
Within the Reds’ pre-season squad in Austria, Davies is an anomaly.
The defender, signed from Preston North End in February, has more in common with Taiwo Awoniyi than he does Virgil van Dijk, having failed to make a single appearance for the club at any level so far.
Unlike the Nigerian striker, he has been eligible to do so.
It came as no surprise, then, that the Mail reported last week that Celtic, Bournemouth and a number of other English clubs were looking to sign Davies on a season-long loan, while the Reds “would rather sell for a hefty profit.”
With Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all back fit, and joined by new signing Ibrahima Konate, it is safe to say Davies’ chances of seeing any action at first-team level next season are increasingly slim.
The 25-year-old is also, it would seem, behind Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams in the pecking order, while last season Klopp preferred loanee Ozan Kabak – deemed not worthy of a permanent £8.5 million move – and midfielders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson too.
Despite this, The Athletic‘s James Pearce claims that Davies “has been told he’s not available for transfer.”
So why would that be the case, when he was not even trusted in the most desperate of injury crises?
There is, of course, the prospect of Davies eventually proving himself and challenging the likes of Gomez, Konate and Matip, but the outlook does not look hopeful.
Instead, the short answer when it comes to the future of Liverpool’s No. 28 comes in administration and the Premier League homegrown rules.
With Kamil Grabara having already left the club to join Copenhagen in a £3 million deal, and Phillips, Harry Wilson, Ben Woodburn and Sheyi Ojo all expected to leave in the coming weeks, the club could be left with only seven homegrown players.
The Premier League requires at least eight homegrown players to be registered in order for clubs to name a full 25-man squad for the season (excluding players aged 21 or under), which leaves Klopp in a tough situation.
Given Liverpool are in a better position to capitalise on Phillips’ rise in value, Davies looks poised to take his place as fifth or sixth-choice centre-back while filling a crucial homegrown slot.
It is not an ideal situation for Davies, but at 25 he could then be lined up for a move elsewhere in 2022, with his profile undeniably boosted through mere association with Liverpool.
For supporters, it will be a strange scenario to contemplate – and it may well manifest itself in a prolonged stay for either Woodburn or Ojo in the under-23s, too.
But for those within the club, it is a means of ticking all the boxes for the Premier League.