Tiago Ilori could be set to end his loan spell at Aston Villa and move back to Liverpool as soon as this January, if he fails to impress new boss Remi Garde in the coming months.
Ilori signed for Villa on a season long loan late on in the summer window, with the Villans paying Liverpool £1million for the privilege, whilst adding the option to buy him for between £6M-£9M at the end of the season, depending on how many appearances he made this term.
Young defender hasn't had a chance as of yet
Exercising that option does look unlikely though, as Ilori hasn't even made the bench for Villa this season. That comes in vain of the B6 side having lost nine of their first 12 games, and keeping two clean sheets along the way.
Ciaran Clark, Jores Okore, Joleon Lescott, Micah Richards and Jose Angel Crespo appear to have relegated him to the sixth choice centre back spot, even though the latter two made their names as full-backs.
However, there is hope for those who'd like Ilori to become a regular fixture at Villa, and that comes in the shape of new manager Remi Garde. It's though that former manager Tim Sherwood wasn't a fan of Ilori, who he went on record to say needed to 'toughen up' to play in the Premier League.
How would Ilori move back to Liverpool?
That may come in line with Sherwood's complaints that he didn't have total control of the transfers at Villa, so may not have wanted the Portugese youngster in the first place. Things may be different under Garde, with every player having the chance to impress the Frenchman.
On the other hand, if he doesn't impress, he could be sent back in January. It's thought that Liverpool can't directly recall Ilori due to the details of the loan deal, but an agreement could be reached between the two clubs regarding Villa cancelling the loan, possibly with a small fee being paid to the Midlands club.
The Reds may be more in favour towards this, due to their current injury crisis. Mamadou Sakho and Joe Gomez both face long term absences, whilst Kolo Toure has been struggling with muscular problems for most of this season, meaning that the L4 club only have Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren as fully fit centre backs. This may lead them to put forward the case that their need for the defender is larger than Villa's.