On transfer deadline day in January, Liverpool had some rather large defensive issues that needed to be sorted out.
Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joël Matip were all ruled out for the season, leaving inexperienced duo Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams as the only out and out defenders available in the squad. Despite the rise of the pair – especially Phillips – throughout the campaign, defensive cover was clearly desperately needed.
With limited time left on the clock, the board hit panic stations and brought in Turkish international Ozan Kabak on loan from Schalke, whilst they agreed a permanent deal with Preston North End for their captain Ben Davies.
Since his introduction into the side, Kabak has thrived despite the Reds struggles throughout the latter half of the campaign. He has formed a great partnership with Nat Phillips, where a previously desperate situation now looks more comfortable, with the pair tightening up the Reds defence.
On the other hand, Davies is yet to appear for the Reds, currently finding himself on the bench or out of the squad entirely. It is an odd scenario for the 25-year-old who looked to be a smart pick up by the Reds, even if only as a short-term solution.
Prior to his move to Anfield, the defender had this season successfully completed an average of 2.6 tackles and interceptions per game, with 4.3 clearances in the first half of the season for Preston. These were impressive numbers for the centre-half and, if he had been able to keep these stats up in the Premier League, then Michael Edwards might have pulled off another stellar signing. Yet as of writing this, he is yet to step foot on the pitch for Klopp’s side.
In the eyes of the fans, Davies may never make an appearance for the club, and it’s easy to see why the 94.4pc may think that. As previously mentioned, Davies is also struggling to get into several matchday squads, with Klopp preferring young Rhys Williams instead to back up the partnership of Kabak and Phillips.
However, maybe we are all thinking too soon on the matter, with manager Jürgen Klopp clearly thinking of the long-term when it comes to the defender’s development as a Liverpool player.
“Ben had a test to adapt, it was always clear – a lot of players came here to Liverpool and the most famous story is maybe Andy Robertson,” said Klopp in his pre-match press conference before the Wolves game.Embed from Getty Images
There have been a number of famous examples where Klopp has not used a player straight after buying them, including Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the highly successful Robertson.
All these players have gone on to become main stays at Anfield, with the only exception being Oxlade-Chamberlain who may well have become a fan favourite if not for his horrendous injury against Roma a few years ago and subsequent fitness issues.
The only people who know the truth about the situation are Klopp and Davies himself, and time will tell whether his acquisition will have been worth it.
It’s most likely going to be up to Davies to put the work before the manager shows faith in a player who is an unknown asset at the club and the Premier League.
Don’t miss a thing
Get new content delivered directly to your inbox. It’s free!