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Ben Davies’ former manager lifts lid on ‘humble’ player Liverpool are signing

Ben Davies’ former Preston boss believes the defender is destined to flourish under Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds have agreed a deal to sign the centre back from Championship side Preston, with the Premier League champions running out of options in defence amid an injury crisis.

A fee of around £2million has been agreed for the 25-year-old, whose contract at the second-tier side ends in June. The deal is set to be completed on transfer deadline day on Monday.

Young Liverpool centre back Sepp Van Den Berg will head the other way on loan until the end of the season.

Preston North End’s Ben Davies is on the brink of joining Liverpool

And Graham Westley, who handed Davies his Preston first-team debut as a 17-year-old, has no doubt that the imminent signing will shine under Jurgen Klopp’s stewardship.

He told The Athletic : “I like courage in players, courage to receive the ball and work the ball forwards, courage to succeed in the challenge, courage to undo an opponent’s attacking assets and work hard enough and persistently enough to see those assets off.

“In a defender, it is the final two qualities that are the most important. It was obvious to me at a very young age that Ben had all three. That’s why I debuted him so young and believed so strongly in his potential.

“If there is a challenge, you want a player who keeps his eye on the ball and truly means to win it. Without hesitation, that’s Ben.

Jurgen Klopp has been desperate to bolster his defensive ranks
Jurgen Klopp has been desperate to bolster his defensive ranks

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“He’s a very straightforward and level-headed lad. He looks you in the eye, he takes praise and criticism well. You’d want him on your side.

“I was willing to gamble on his talent and give him games. It cost me. Early on he conceded an unnecessary late penalty that lost us a game at Deepdale that we were pressing to win. Because Preston was a promotion-focused club, it was difficult to let youth play. I understood his slow curve and loan-based evolution.”

Ahead of the window shutting at 11pm on Monday, the Reds have been pondering ways to address what has become an increasingly problematic situation with regard to Klopp’s backline.

With Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez already sidelined, fellow central defender Joel Matip and first-choice back-up Fabinho recently joined the injured list.

Graham Westley handed Davies his Present first-team debut
Graham Westley handed Davies his Present first-team debut

Westley believes Davies can solve their problems and added: “I think that Ben, as a good learner, was always going to grow as a player.

“But the raw ingredients aren’t ingredients you give a player. They say ‘show me the boy of seven and I’ll show you the man’. Ben was a humble young man with courageous raw ingredients. His upbringing gave him a perfect platform.

“I’m not surprised Liverpool have gone for him. In my eyes, he always had the ingredients needed at the very top.

“Jurgen Klopp hurts players hamstrings in training with his intensity. In that regard, Ben thrived in my intense regime so I’m absolutely certain he’ll dig in and sweat the necessary blood!”




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