Jurgen Klopp has revealed he will have the necessary chats with Ozan Kabak after Liverpool's final game of the season, as the Reds weigh up whether to sign the Schalke 04 defender on a permanent basis.
Kabak, who was signed as Klopp's men hit an injury crisis during the mid-way point of the season, has been fairly impressive during his nine Premier League appearances for the Reds so far. He's helped Liverpool complete a staggering turnaround to their campaign, as they entered the top-four on Wednesday evening for the first time since February.
How's he done so far?
Initially, the 22-year-old was partnered alongside Jordan Henderson or Fabinho. However, after Liverpool's captain was ruled out for the season, with a groin injury, Fabinho has since been reinstated into midfield; allowing Liverpool's newest cult hero, Nat Phillips, to line up alongside the Turkish international.
The fact that Liverpool enter the final weekend of the domestic campaign with a place in next season's elite European competition in their own hands, is a testament to just how well Kabak and Phillips have done since they were thrown into a free-falling Liverpool side in the early months of 2021.
With Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip all expected to be fit for the start of next season, in addition to recent reports that Liverpool are looking to bring RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konaté to Anfield. Kabak's future could well be away from Merseyside, due to no fault of his own.
After the unparalleled amount of injuries Liverpool have suffered in their defensive department this season, Klopp will not want to be left short-handed in future campaigns. After all three of Liverpool's senior centre-backs return from their injuries, especially Van Dijk, there will be extra caution to manage their minutes accordingly, to ensure the possibility of a relapse is minimal.
The extraordinary rise of Kabak's defensive partner, Phillips, could mean that Liverpool opt out of the deal to make his move from Germany a permanent one for just £18million in the summer window. Due to the rise of Phillips showing Klopp they already have sufficient cover in-house.
The Turkish international recently spoke about his desire to stay at Liverpool in an interview with The Times: “It’s Liverpool. Of course, I want to stay. These five months have been very valuable for my career, my personality. I have met with very good people, very good footballers.''
What's been said?
Ahead of Liverpool's season-defining fixture this weekend, Klopp was, understandably, not keen to get into discussions about the future of current individuals. However, he was extremely complimentary of Kabak's time at Liverpool so far, telling reporters: "Ozan was absolutely incredible, he did a great job, not to forget he is a young, young, young boy! He has incredible experience already with different clubs, moving early from Turkey to Germany and played with two big clubs in Germany in difficult situations, that obviously wasn’t his fault."
Klopp revealed that all, surrounding Kabak's future, will be discussed in the coming weeks, as he added: "Yeah, all about the future we will talk about really after the last matchday and there’s enough time for that. Nothing else really to say about that."
However, with Phillips' stock as high as it could, ever, be. Liverpool could look to cash in on the 24-year-old. Alternatively, Phillips, as it is expected will have many queuing up for his signature this summer, may want to leave Anfield if he isn't guaranteed the minutes he will so desperately crave after his triumphant campaign.
All scenarios, as Klopp says, are to be dealt with at a later date, as many will be impacted by the destiny that awaits Klopp's men in the final test of this grueling season. Liverpool have one chance to wash away the smears of this campaign and one more win should be enough to put their name in the hat for the Champions League group stages in August.