Liverpool likely to hand Tiago Ilori and Kevin Stewart first-team debuts after loan recalls

Liverpool FC have officially confirmed the recalls of Tiago Ilori and Kevin Stewart from their respective loan deals, having already brought back Ryan Kent and Sheyi Ojo in the last few days.

Jürgen Klopp's first-team has been severely depleted by as many as 13 senior injuries, crippling his options at the time of a hectic January period.

Having previously called Liverpool's various players out on loan back to Melwood so he could inspect their qualities first-hand, he has taken the decision to bring back Stewart and Ilori to strengthen his defensive options over the coming weeks.

All four of his first-team centre-backs, Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Touré are currently out due to various problems, with both Stewart and Ilori expected to make their first-team debuts for the Reds in their FA Cup third round tie at Exeter City on Friday evening.

Stewart and Ilori likely to fill in for injured first-team players at Exeter

Stewart had been out on loan at Swindon Town, making eight League One appearances before suffering a medial ligament injury in a Johnstones' Paint Trophy victory over Newport County

The 22-year-old was signed on a free transfer in July 2014, leaving Tottenham Hotspur to move to Merseyside, and has since spent time out on loan at Cheltenham Town, Burton Albion and Swindon.

With an ability to play in midfield or in the back-four, Stewart is likely to be handed a berth alongside Joe Allen and Academy graduate Cameron Brannagan, who made his senior debut in the Europa League earlier this season.

Ilori, meanwhile, returns from an unsuccessful loan spell at Aston Villa. The Reds' Premier League opponents paid £1 million to secure the Portuguese defender's services on deadline day of the summer transfer window.

But after battling back from injury and making several appearances for Villa Under-21s on the way to full fitness, Ilori - who signed for Liverpool for £7 million in 2013 - never broke into the first-team after a change of manager. 

Villa therefore agreed to cancel the defender's season-long loan and the 22-year-old will be given a chance to prove he should be in Klopp's first-team with a start alongside the out-of-favour Jose Enrique in the heart of defence.

Wingers Ojo and Kent considered for first starts

With top-flight clashes against Arsenal and Manchester United on the horizon, the German manager is expected to ring the changes and Ojo and Kent should also benefit, having returned from more fruitful spells at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Coventry City.

18-year-old Ojo found himself on the fringes of the first-team more recently, making a late appearance off of the bench as his only Championship action in December.

But having made 17 appearances, including five starts, and scored two goals - the teenager returns to Anfield having gained crucial first-team experience and should be trusted with a forward role against League Two outfit Exeter.

Kent's successful loan at Tony Mowbray's Coventry was cut short to avoid him being cup-tied and he is also likely to be given his debut for the Reds, after scoring one goal in 17 League One appearances for the Sky Blues.

They could also be joined by several others who have found senior game time limited, with Brad Smith, Connor Randall, Jerome Sinclair, Joao Carlos Teixeira and Joe Allen, the most experienced player of the bunch, in line for starting spots.

VAVEL Logo