Liverpool are preparing to lose Alberto Moreno on a free transfer next summer - with youngster Adam Lewis in line to benefit most from the Spaniard’s departure.
Moreno’s Anfield contract is due to expire at the end of this season, and talks over a new deal have proven fruitless.
Liverpool are not currently in negotiations with the 26-year-old and his representatives, and the player is understood to be exploring alternative options. Moreno would be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club from January 1.
He started last season as first-choice left-back, only to lose his place to Andy Robertson following an injury. Despite this, he finished the campaign having made 27 appearances in all competitions. His Liverpool total stands at 137.
Were he to leave for free, he would be the second player in as many years to do so, following in the footsteps of Emre Can, who joined Juventus in July .
Can, like Moreno, was recruited by Liverpool in the summer of 2014 as part of a significant re-building of the Reds’ squad under Brendan Rodgers. The former Sevilla man has, however, failed to convince both Rodgers and Klopp of his ability to nail down a regular place. James Milner, a midfielder, was preferred for the entirety of the 2016-17 campaign while Robertson’s status as first choice is now unquestionable.
Should Moreno depart - and it looks increasingly likely that he will - then Klopp will give teenager Lewis the chance to stake his claim for a place in his first-team squad.
The 18-year-old, Walton-born and who has already established himself as part of Neil Critchley’s under-23 squad, has been promoted to Melwood in recent weeks to train with the senior side, and is understood to have impressed Klopp and his staff with his quality and attitude.
Lewis, an England under-19 international, was a team-mate of Trent Alexander-Arnold at schoolboy level, and Klopp sees similarities in the two players in terms of their technical abilities. Like Alexander-Arnold, Lewis has been used as both a full-back and a midfield player, though his long-term future undoubtedly lies as an attacking left-back.
Steven Gerrard, who coached him at under-18 level last season, was a huge fan and even enquired as to the possibility of signing him on loan for Rangers in the summer.
Lewis has been at Melwood during this international break, and is hoping to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Alexander-Arnold, Rafa Camacho and Curtis Jones by making a more permanent move there in the future. Moreno’s expected exit should accelerate that process.