Premier League • England

EXCLUSIVE: Liverpool among suitors as Edwards considers shock swoop for Scottish-based star

Ryan Kent, Jamie Hamilton, Rangers v Hamilton in the Scottish Premiership

Hamilton Academical are increasingly likely to lose prized defender Jamie Hamilton, who is out of contract at the end of the season, TEAMtalk understands.

The 19-year-old has come through the youth system at Hamilton and has over 50 first-team appearances to his name. The right-sided defender though has plenty of admirers though and looks likely to be not short of options.

We understand that Celtic, Hibernian and Aberdeen are all keen to secure his signature. However, the interest from England is also strong.

Liverpool, Brighton, Brentford, Newcastle, Burnley are among those keen in the Premier League. Middlesbrough, Blackburn, Blackpool, Barnsley and Sunderland are also reportedly considering pre-contract offers for the Scotland youth star.

Perhaps the strongest interest, however, comes from Liverpool.

We understand sporting director Michael Edwards is considering Hamilton as a recruit should Nat Phillips depart.

Phillips impressed last season during Liverpool’s centre-back shortage, making 17 Premier League appearances and scoring one goal. He also featured three times in the Champions League before the quarter-final defeat to Real Madrid.

The 24-year-old fell down the pecking order following the arrival of Ibrahima Konate in the summer. Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip are also back to full fitness, giving Phillips little chance of becoming a first-team regular.

Jamie Hamilton seen as Nat Phillips replacement

As a result, he has made just three senior outings this term. Manager Jurgen Klopp admits the player could leave, and fellow English clubs are looking to pounce.

And while Jurgen Klopp would like to keep him, he accepts his first-team prospects look limited.

West Ham are interested in Liverpool's Nat Phillips

West Ham are interested in Liverpool's Nat Phillips

West Ham are preparing a £15million bid for Nat Phillips.

And should he depart – the Reds have already rejected a £7m approach – the Reds could turn to Hamilton as a replacement.

The plan would be for him to gain experience in their Under-23s set-up and provide first-team cover should the need arise.

However, with plenty of sides also on the trail for Hamilton, he may be persuaded to move elsewhere if he feels it’ll serve his first-team prospects better.

Klopp dismisses Thiago fears

Klopp, meanwhile, has rejected claims about the ongoing absence of Thiago Alcantara, though did shed light on the injury issue that has afflicted the Spaniard.

The 30-year-old has looked more comfortable in a Reds shirt this season after an underwhelming debut campaign. After overcoming a calf injury that saw him miss the entire month of October, Thiago became a mainstay in Klopp’s midfield three.

With a fully fit compliment to choose from, Liverpool’s strongest midfield trio is arguably Fabinho flanked by Jordan Henderson and Thiago.

However, the classy midfielder soon returned to the sidelines in mid-December through a Covid-enforced absence.

But around a month later, Thiago has not returned to Liverpool’s matchday squads and was again missing for their FA Cup clash with Shrewsbury despite the Reds being short on numbers.

That gave added weight to the speculation in the media that Thiago has suffered a potentially season-ending injury.

Speaking after Liverpool’s 4-1 victory over the Shrews, Klopp was pressed for an update on Thiago. The German did admit his midfielder is missing through a hip issue. However, he allayed fears over Thiago being out for the season.

“No. Neither March nor end of season is in my mind.,” said Klopp (via the Mirror).

“It is something around the hip. That is the situation he needs time. He didn’t train this week but we expect him to start rehab from Monday.

“It’s not the case that he is out until the end of season.”

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