Rhys Williams was left out entirely for Swansea’s 1-1 draw with Huddersfield, but manager Russell Martin has explained that they “can’t send him back” to Liverpool.
Swansea visited the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with Martin’s side frustrated as a dominant performance did not translate to a win.
Williams did not make the trip to West Yorkshire, instead spending a day off in London, with it widely expected that his loan move at the Liberty will be cut short this month.
But due to the terms of their agreement with Swansea, it is down to Liverpool to decide whether to recall the 20-year-old or allow him to stay and fight for his place under Martin.
Saturday was the seventh time Williams has failed to make the matchday squad in the Championship, with his record far from what the Reds would have hoped:
Speaking ahead of their clash with Huddersfield, Martin explained the situation and insisted “the ball is in Liverpool’s court” with regards to terminating the loan.
“We’ve been really honest with Liverpool about the opportunities Rhys has had and the potential opportunities he has moving forward, so the ball is in their court,” he told WalesOnline.
“We can’t send him back…That’s the danger of doing loans. The parent club is always in control, to an extent.
“I think Rhys is in contact with them constantly about what’s happening.
“I think the frustrating thing for Rhys is that he’s really happy here, he’s enjoying training, he feels he’s improved, but the one disappointing thing for him is that he’s had limited opportunities.
“He’s wanted to play more and I’m pretty sure Liverpool feel the same way, so we’ll have to see what happens with that one, but that’s down to them.”
Martin is hoping for clarity of Liverpool’s stance in the coming days, but it is telling that Williams was left out of the squad entirely on Saturday, with 19-year-old academy player Azeem Abdulai preferred.
That was also the case for left-back Jake Bidwell, who is due to leave for Coventry this month, which suggests that the Swansea manager is already looking ahead when it comes to his long-term squad options.
Williams has struggled when called upon throughout his loan spell, with his lack of pace seeing him exposed on a number of occasions, while physically he has found himself at odds with strikers in the Championship.
If he were to return to Merseyside, it is likely that another loan deal would be arranged – which may be why he has not been recalled already, unlike Leighton Clarkson.