Premier League • England

Liverpool defender makes decision on future after solid loan start

Ben K Davies Sheff Utd loan September 2021

Liverpool defender Ben Davies has already made his mind up about his immediate future as he begins to re-establish himself back in the Championship.

The Barrow-in-Furness-born centre-back landed a shock move to Liverpool in February 2021. He arrived with Ozan Kabak on transfer deadline day with Jurgen Klopp hunting for defensive cover.

Klopp had Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all suffering from long-term injuries. And the German needed bodies in at Anfield. Still, despite the crippling injury list, Davies failed to force his way into the first-team reckoning.

Davies has in fact yet to make an appearance for Liverpool and in August he was granted a season-long loan move to Sheffield United.

But the former York City man has started to find his feet after half a season of inactivity.

Davies has made six appearances in the Championship and started to form a solid partnership with John Egan. The Blades are also finding their feet in the second tier and with a new manager to boot too in Slavisa Jokanovic.

It’s understood Jokanovic would be interested in signing the 26-year-old on a permanent basis next summer.

But Davies has no thoughts of extending his time at Bramall Lane. Speaking to Yorkshire Live reporter Nathan Hemmingham he has made it clear that he would like to return to Anfield in the summer and push for a first-team place.

Things may well look different next June, but Klopp has added another centre-back in Ibrahima Konate and so Davies’ chances already look slim.

However, Davies is apparently expecting to spend next pre-season with the Premier League club.

“I spoke to Ben recently,” said Hemmingham, on the Blood Red podcast.

“He said first and foremost he’s not thinking about anything major. It’s just about this season and playing again – and playing to the best of his ability. And trying to get back to the player he was at Preston when Liverpool came in for him.

“Then in the summer he wants to go back to Liverpool to see if the door is open. Because you don’t know what happens.

“He wants to have a good pre-season with Liverpool. See where the land lies, and see if he can try and impress the manager, Jurgen Klopp.

“But if Liverpool are happy to let him leave permanently, I’m sure, providing he impresses and become the player everyone who has tracked him these past 12 months have been convinced he is, Sheffield United will be looking at that.”

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The Blades have been keeping tabs on Davies for some time and tried to sign him in the summer of 2020, while Chris Wilder was in charge.

If Davies is allowed to leave Liverpool next summer, a move to Yorkshire will depend on the Blades’ financial position. Of course an instant return to the Premier League would certainly provide them with the finances to invest in their squad.

But after not paying a transfer fee for a player in the summer. It’s unclear whether there would be the funds available to land Davies permanently.

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Davies was a long-term Blades target

Liverpool paid £1.6m to Preston for Davies, who was out of contract in the summer. And allowed Sepp van den Berg to go on loan to Deepdale as part of the deal.

“Ben was a player they tried for the summer before last, but couldn’t afford him. And they tried again in January, but then the decision was made for no signings, because of United’s position in the table at that time,” added Hemmingham.

“So they’ve been tracking Ben for a long, long time.

“He’s settled in really well and he looks comfortable on the ball. Which is good, because Jokanovic likes to roll it out from the keeper, and draw the press on. Which you can imagine for the 30,000 fans at Bramall Lane, it’s not what they’ve seen before.

“There’s a few heart-in-mouth moments. But having Ben in there, who is so comfortable at receiving the ball, both under pressure and bringing it out and striding into midfield with it, is good.

“He’s struggled a little bit for fitness to start with. They’ve had to manage him after each game, because he’s gone from playing every week, to training a little bit, to training a lot, and not playing, to back to where he was at Preston.”

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