Liverpool have decided to retain Ben Woodburn for the remainder of the season, in a move that will likely have an impact on their January transfer plans.
The highly-rated 18-year-old was all set to link up with former Wales manager Chris Coleman at Sunderland on loan for the rest of the campaign, but the Reds’ sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona has forced them to alter their plans.
The Liverpool Echo have reported that Jurgen Klopp doesn’t want to weaken his attacking options any further, suggesting that Coutinho will not be replaced in this transfer window. The Premier League side have been linked with a move for French international Thomas Lemar, but Monaco’s prohibitive asking price means that a deal is very unlikely to be negotiated before the summer.
Woodburn has only made one first team appearance this season – 45 minutes in the Carabao Cup defeat to Leicester in September – but the Welsh forward is very highly-regarded around Anfield and signed a new five-year contract with the club in October, and has been starring in the UEFA Youth League with Steven Gerrard’s U19 side.
He may yet still not feature in the Premier League this season, but Klopp is not prepared to take that chance with a busy period of league, FA Cup and Champions League matches coming up.
One player who has departed Anfield on loan, however, is Marko Grujic. The Serbian international has joined Championship side Cardiff City until the end of the season, where it is hoped that increased first-team football will greatly help the promising midifleder in his development.
In our first Mixer Irish Football Podcast of 2018, we discuss Martin O’Neill’s rejection of the Stoke job and what that means for his Ireland role, a new era at Limerick and all of the latest League of Ireland transfer news.