Premier League • England

Incredible lifeline for Liverpool man as likeliest exit takes fresh twist after costly Klopp blow

Jurgen Klopp overseeing a Liverpool game

Ibrahima Konate has suffered an injury which has put into fresh doubt the chances of another Liverpool player leaving on deadline day, according to reports.

Konate picked up an injury to his hamstring during Liverpool’s loss to Brighton in the FA Cup at the weekend. Now, as relayed by the Liverpool Echo, the defender is due to miss at least two weeks’ worth of action.

He will not recover in time for their trip to face Wolves on Saturday, as well as the Merseyside derby against Everton nine days later. His involvement against Newcastle on February 18 and Real Madrid three days after that is also in serious doubt.

The news comes as a major blow to Jurgen Klopp, who has struggled to inspire consistency from even his strongest players this season. In defence, he is already without Virgil van Dijk due to an injury of his own.

The pair’s absences could have prompted an unexpected opening for a back-up defender who looked likely to leave on deadline day.

Indeed, Nat Phillips has been heavily linked with a move to Turkey with Galatasaray. At Liverpool, he has been fifth in command when everyone has been fit.

But now, only Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are ahead of him in the list of centre-backs available to Klopp.

Therefore, the report from the Liverpool Echo has claimed that Phillips’ potential departure may be “impacted” by the news about Konate.

Liverpool did recall Rhys Williams from a loan spell with Blackpool recently. Thus, there is another option to cover in defence. But still, having just three available centre-backs for a crucial run is not ideal.

Hence, there is a chance that Liverpool could block an exit for Phillips, despite him only managing two Premier League appearances so far this season.

Nat Phillips must aim for Liverpool exit in summer at latest

Liverpool still have him under contract until 2025. But with his 26th birthday coming up in March, remaining as a backup player will not necessarily have been in Phillips’ plans at this stage of his career.

Getting to represent a club like Liverpool for a little longer will be an honour if he does stay. However, only having 29 senior appearances for them up to this point is not a great record.

Besides, Konate will obviously usurp him in the pecking order again when he recovers from his setback within the next month, all being well.

Phillips has been useful when filling in before, so it is understandable if Klopp wants to keep him with the next few weeks in mind. But in reality, he has never been anything more than a stand-in option at Anfield.

And he should be approaching the peak of his career in the next couple of years. Thus, he will need to get going – somewhere else – at some point soon.

Alas, he may have to wait until the summer to be able to further himself elsewhere.

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