Liverpool unlikely to sell Joel Matip with Nat Phillips among three who could go
According to the Liverpool Echo, Liverpool are unlikely to sell Joel Matip in the summer transfer window with Jurgen Klopp expected to assess the futures of three defenders.
Matip has struggled for game time at Anfield this season after a campaign plagued by injuries, with thigh, back, groin and ankle problems heavily restricting his availability.
The 29-year-old has not featured in the Premier League since making just his ninth start of the term in victory over Tottenham Hotspur in January, when forced off at half-time.
It is the second season running that Matip has cut an outcast figure of Klopp’s tactics due to injuries, after knee and ankle issues held the £100,000-per-week (Spotrac) enforcer to only eight starts from nine appearances last term.
Matip has three more years to run on the contract extension signed in 2019 (BBC) and it is unlikely that Liverpool will look to end the relationship early, with three other defenders expected to be the focus of Klopp’s attention.
Ben Davies, Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips could all leave Anfield in the summer transfer window either on loan or in permanent deals.
Davies joined Liverpool from Preston North End on Deadline Day of the winter market for up to £1.6million (Goal), but is yet to make his debut and has only been named on the bench eight times in all competitions.
Williams was awarded his senior debut in the EFL Cup against Lincoln City in September and has made a total of 17 first-team appearances this term, starting 12, while Phillips has opened 16 of his 18 senior outings in all competitions.
It would be unfortunate for Matip if Liverpool were to look to sell the centre-back this summer given his injury problems over the past two seasons, but the Reds should at least consider any approaches given how infrequently he has been available for Klopp.
The Anfield natives should also not rush into selling Williams at the end of the season as the 20-year-old has shown some potential this term, and a loan spell away from Merseyside to a competitive side could do the England U21 international a lot of good.
Phillips, at 24, offers Klopp a much more pressing issue, though, as the Bolton-born centre-half has two years left on his contract, and will need to be a regular starter next term to either warrant a new deal or be sold for the highest potential value.
Davies poses a problem, as well, having failed to make a single appearance since joining in February for an initial £500,000 (Goal), as Liverpool awarded the 25-year-old a five-year contract he may point to if informed his future lies elsewhere.