Teenage forward Ben Woodburn is set to stay at Liverpool rather than go out on loan for the rest of the season. Sunderland’s hopes of landing top target Ben Woodburn appear to be over with Liverpool refusing to let him leave on loan.
The Championship strugglers were reportedly in negotiations with Jurgen Klopp’s Reds over a deal to borrow the 18-year-old for the rest of the season. But Liverpool Echo understands that the prospects of Black Cats boss Chris Coleman reuniting with the Welsh wonderkid in this window now look dead.
It is believed that Woodburn, who scored a matchwinner for Coleman’s Wales on his debut against Austria last September, was keen on a move to Wearside to play regular first-team football. However, Klopp has decided that he needs to keep hold of the Wales international as the Reds look to maintain a challenge on three fronts.
Following the departure of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, Liverpool are concerned that they would be left short of numbers in attacking areas if they allow the teenager to leave Anfield. After Klopp sanctioned the loan move of Marko Grujic to Cardiff City on Wednesday, it became clear our German gaffer wouldn’t allow another young gun to leave the club on a temporary basis.
Woodburn has only played 45 minutes of first-team football this season and was keen to go out on loan in order to secure more regular action by linking up with Coleman. The Welshman enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2016/17 – making 9 appearances – but he hasn’t played in the Premier League since last May.
So unless there is a major U-turn before January 31, our gaffer has decided to keep Woodburn in his first-team thoughts despite the youngster’s lack of game time this season. Woodburn’s rapid progress under Klopp was rewarded with a new five-year deal in October but he has found first-team opportunities hard to come by due to our prolific attackers.
If Klopp has decided against a loan move, this can be interpreted as further evidence that an additional attacking signing to Liverpool might not be imminent.
Or, conceivably, Klopp must have seen or spotted something in training to feel confident that the forward could be used in the team during the important run-in that includes matches in the Premier League, Champions League and the FA Cup.