The form of Nathaniel Phillips has reportedly forced Liverpool into a rethink of their upcoming summer transfer business with a move for Ozan Kabak now unlikely.
Long-term injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have seen the likes of Phillips and Rhys Williams get a chance in the first team this season.
Liverpool were even forced into the January transfer window to try and solve their centre-back issues with Ben Davies joining from Preston, while Kabak arrived on loan from Schalke.
The Reds are understood to have an £18m option to sign Kabak if he impressed at Anfield but the Turkish international hasn’t played since Liverpool drew 1-1 with Newcastle United at the end of April.
Phillips has shone in Kabak’s absence and a report in the Sunday World claims that Liverpool have ‘shifted their position on signing’ Kabak but that the Turkey international ‘could still have a big impact’ on their summer transfer plans.
That’s because Kabak is apparently interesting RB Leipzig, with the Bundesliga side’s centre-back Ibrahima Konate likely to move to Liverpool in the summer as he’s believed to be their ‘top defensive target’.
The Sunday World call it an ‘intriguing twist’ as there are ‘suggestions that Kabak’s future could lie elsewhere, but his next move could be crucial to Liverpool’s efforts to sign Konate.’
Kabak ‘has impressed Jurgen Klopp and his coaching staff during a loan spell from Schalke’ but it looks likely he will now return to Germany.
Meanwhile, Liverpool legend John Aldridge recently said that he doubts that Kabak will be a necessary signing with a wealth of options at the back once everyone returns to fitness.
“There has been a feeling for some time now that they would sign two central defenders this summer, but I suspect they are looking at things differently right now,” Aldridge said.
“Nat Phillips was outstanding in the win against Manchester United on Thursday night and I’m sure Klopp is looking at the way he is developing and thinking he could be developed into a top defender.
“There is a feeling that Konate will come in from Leipzig, so the decision will be whether they need to sign a second defender or look at a line-up of Van Dijk, Gomez, Matip, Phillips and Williams and think that is enough.
“For me, I would look to off-load Joel Matip this summer. He has been fantastic for Liverpool over the last few years, but he can’t play more than two or three games in a row without getting injured.
“The same problem has been there for Gomez, who is injury prone and that has to be taken into consideration when Liverpool make their decision on defensive signings this summer.
“I don’t think they can rely on Gomez and Matip to be fit for a full season, so signing Kabak would be the right way to go as they can’t leave themselves so short at the back again.”