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deadline day Why Liverpool made their move for Preston's Ben Davies as he prepares to seal move

Last gasp move for second tier defender was only option on the table for Liverpool

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reacts during the Premier League clash with West Ham United. Photo: Reuters/John Walton

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reacts during the Premier League clash with West Ham United. Photo: Reuters/John Walton

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reacts during the Premier League clash with West Ham United. Photo: Reuters/John Walton

Liverpool made the decision to sign centre-back Ben Davies from Championship side Preston after they failed to make progress with a host of alternative targets, sundayworld.com have been told.

Davies looks set to complete a surprise move to Liverpool ahead of the 11pm transfer deadline on Monday, with his arrival giving manager Jurgen Klopp a welcome boost amid his ongoing defensive crisis.

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are long-term absentees, meaning Joel Matip was Liverpool's only other senior centre-back until he picked up an injury against Tottenham on Thursday night.

Jordan Henderson dropped back from his midfield role to play alongside Nat Phillips in Liverpool's defensive line for Sunday's 3-1 win against West Ham at the London Stadium, with news emerging during that game that a deal had been struck to sign Davies.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon believed his club were close to agreeing a deal to sign Davies as he looks to plug the problems in his defence, with Republic of Ireland defender Shane Duffy suffering an alarming slump in form after his move to Parkhead.

Yet the lure of playing for Klopp's Premier League champions was impossible to ignore for Davies, with the 25-year-old expected to complete a £2million on Monday.

While the move for Davies appears to be something of a panic move, Liverpool were faced with a host of complications as they made a late decision to move for a defender after Matip's injury.

Moves for the RB Leipzig defensive duo Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate were ruled out earlier this month, while financial restrictions meant a push to sign Lille's Sven Botman was out of Liverpool's reach despite claims this deal could be revived ahead of Monday's transfer deadline.

Arsenal's Shkodran Mustafi was also under consideration, but he is currently in talks with Arsenal over terminating the final six months of his contract, meaning Liverpool could not afford to wait to see if the German World Cup winner could be available ahead of Monday's deadline.

Concerns over getting overseas targets into the country amid Covid-19 restrictions were also a consideration as Liverpool made the move to sign Davies.

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Preston manager Alex Neil stated he expected Davies to remain at his club until his contract expired next summer, but that plan changed as Liverpool's interest was confirmed.

The signing of Davies is seen as a sticking plaster by Liverpool's hierarchy, who are expected to name Virgil van Dijk in their Premier League and Champions League squads for the second half of this season, as he makes rapid progress in his return from a knee ligament injury.

While Van Dijk is not expected to return to training until March at the earliest, the prospect of the Dutchman returning to action this season has fuelled hope that Liverpool can navigate a path through this season without a high profile defensive signing.

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Virgil Van Dijk faces at least six months on the sidelines (Peter Byrne/PA)

Virgil Van Dijk faces at least six months on the sidelines (Peter Byrne/PA)

Virgil Van Dijk faces at least six months on the sidelines (Peter Byrne/PA)

Van Dijk is expected to be named in Liverpool's Premier League and Champions League squads for the second half of this season, with Davies providing additional cover for alongside Phillips and Rhys Williams.

Fabinho is on course to return to action for next weekend's showdown with Manchester City, so Davies will be used as a back-up option to proven Premier League performers in the second half of the season.

Liverpool insiders continue to suggest the club will look to make some statement signings next summer, when a squad shake-up may be inevitable as Gini Wijnaldum is set to leave on a free transfer and several fringe players are expected to leave.

Davies would not be the signing Liverpool would have been expecting to make just a few days ago, but the 25-year-old arrives at a moment when Klopp needed a body through the door to add to his squad within a budget that meant this was one of the only deals available in the final hours of the transfer window.

There are suggestions that Liverpool could complete a second defensive signing, but that will depend on a dash to get the deal done on deadline day.

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