Jurgen Klopp has ruled out a January loan move for Joe Gomez, with the Liverpool manager not expecting to send any of his players out on temporary deals next month.
Having begun last season as first-choice partner to Virgil van Dijk, Gomez has suffered a miserable 2021, with injuries limiting him to just eight appearances over the calendar year.
He missed the majority of last term with a serious knee injury, which also ruled him out of the Euros with England, while this time a calf problem has halted his challenge for a starting spot.
Behind Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate in the pecking order, Gomez has clocked fewer minutes for Liverpool this season than every senior outfielder bar academy players such as Neco Williams, Tyler Morton and Conor Bradley.
That has led to suggestions of a mid-season loan, with Aston Villa mooted as a possible destination, but Klopp insists his No. 12 will not be leaving.
“It was obviously not the best year for Joe, with the injury then coming back and having another injury, because that’s how it can go,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“We didn’t rush his recovery or rehab from the tendon injury, but there’s a moment when you start playing again, training again.
“Then we had three 100 percent fit centre-halves, four 100 percent fit centre-halves, that’s why it’s not so easy to get game time immediately.
“Then you have game time, then you play and your body is not ready for it. That’s it.
“We are patient, and I think Joe is patient now as well. That’s the situation.
“I have no plans to give anybody on loan in the winter. I am not the driving force, let me say it like this.
“Nobody came to me and asked me ‘can I go somewhere?’.
“Joe is now only back for a proper week or so, because of the circumstances he could be involved in the squad, but he needs still time.
“He still needs time to train, to get where he has been before.”
In fact, a report from The Athletic claims that clubs and agents are not expecting a busy January window particularly in terms of loans, with clubs reluctant to lend their players out in fear of COVID-19 impacting their squad depth.
This could certainly be the case for Liverpool, albeit with injuries another looming issue, and with Nat Phillips due to depart on a permanent transfer, Klopp can ill-afford to see Gomez move on too.