Tiago Ilori to be given Liverpool chance in pre-season

Tiago Ilori will be afforded the opportunity to prove himself at Liverpool during 2015-16 pre-season, according to his father. 

The 22-year-old defender signed for the Reds from Sporting CP two years ago for a £7 million fee, but has yet to make his bow for the first-team.

Instead, Ilori has since spent time out on loan at La Liga side Granada CF, before injuries restricted him to just 15 appearances at Ligue 1's Bordeaux last term.

However, the promising Portuguese U21 international - who is currently representing his country in Czech Republic, as they recently overcame England with a 1-0 win - will have the chance to force his way into Brendan Rodgers' pre-season plans later this summer.

Tiago's father, Kola, told radio station Antena 1: "We spoke with Liverpool last week about Tiago’s future.

"They said that he will have an opportunity and will go on the pre-season tour of Thailand."

He further admitted that Liverpool had received interest from Sunderland to take the youngster on loan, but suggested there would be little chance of him spending a third season away in the North East - calling it a "cold city."

Centre-back yet to make Liverpool debut 

Ilori's spells away from Anfield have been largely unproductive so far, making just 24 appearances across 18 months in Spain and France, scoring a single goal.

Nevertheless, the towering centre-back, who is still renowned for reportedly breaking Cristiano Ronaldo's sprint speed records whilst a youth prospect in Lisbon, is rated highly.

His impressive pace, combined with his tactical intelligence and excellent ability on the ball means he still stands as one of Europe's most promising talents in his position.

Given the Reds' continued struggles in defence last season, as £20 million signing Dejan Lovren endured a testing first 12 months at Anfield, whilst the rest of their back-line remained less than convincing.

Chances have been at a premium for the club's young defensive talents in recent years and with Martin Skrtel set to sign a contract extension, in addition to Kolo Toure's decision to stay for another year, and the signing of promising English defender Joe Gomez, means Ilori will need to make the most of his opportunity this summer. 

But the impending departure of Uruguayan defender Sebastian Coates, who is nearing a permanent move to Sunderland, means there may still be a spot for Ilori.

Reds to embark on extensive pre-season campaign

The Reds will travel almost 30,000 miles on their lengthy pre-season, which begins against a Thai All Star side on July 14, before finishing a week before the opening day of the 2015-16 Premier League season against HJK Helsinki on August 1.

The tour takes Rodgers' side to Thailand, Australia, Malaysia and Finland as they look to get off the ground running when it comes to the beginning of the league season.