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Old 01-02-21, 12:14 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by Shaggy View Post
He's been on loan at Newport County, Southport, Fleetwood and York City. I bet he can't fucking believe it. Andy Lonergan-esque.


Jamie Vardy-esque even. Vardy did not leave Fleetwood until he was 25 and did not play in the PL for the first time until he was 27.
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Old 01-02-21, 01:40 AM   #82
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He's been on loan at Newport County, Southport, Fleetwood and York City. I bet he can't fucking believe it. Andy Lonergan-esque.
And guess what Lonergan and Davies have in common..
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Old 01-02-21, 01:46 AM   #83
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Also for those (maybe not here) wondering why we're signing a Championship player, Ben White was a Championship player last season.

And he's still better than Harry 'Herman Munster' Maguire!
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Old 01-02-21, 03:41 AM   #84
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Went to a preseaon friendly vs Preston in 2014, he came on in the second half and he spewed up on a ball boy and went off again.

All 24 players in that Liverpool squad have now left.


That is brilliant
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Old 01-02-21, 09:07 AM   #85
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Old 01-02-21, 09:10 AM   #86
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Long passing you say.....a few corkers in here

https://twitter.com/cf_comps/status/1355985579050209288
He looks Fabinhoesque with his interceptions & his distribution isn’t half bad either. Looking forward to seeing how Klopp can improve him.
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Old 01-02-21, 09:49 AM   #87
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Brave, Calm on the Ball: What Liverpool can expect from Ben Davies

The Athletic - James Pearce and Simon Hughes

(Other contributors: Adam Crafton and Mark Carey)

Ben Davies was poised to sign for Celtic. Talks were at an advanced stage to bring forward a move that was initially due to happen when his contract with Preston North End expired this summer.

However, the landscape changed dramatically at the weekend after Liverpool decided he was the answer to their defensive crisis. An initial enquiry last Thursday turned into serious interest on Sunday when sporting director Michael Edwards made his move.

The Athletic understands a cut-price fee of around £1.6 million was quickly agreed with the Championship club, who also have a 20 per cent sell-on clause. An official announcement is expected today following the completion of a medical. Liverpool under-23s centre-back Sepp van den Berg is set to head in the opposite direction on loan for the rest of the season.

Bournemouth were also keen on securing Davies’ signature and willing to pay a higher fee but once the 25-year-old was alerted to the fact Liverpool wanted to bring him on board, he only had eyes for Anfield. Celtic are understood to be “gutted”.

Having become a father for the first time shortly before Christmas, Davies has now landed an unexpected dream move to the home of the Premier League champions.

“His life will change overnight and we’re all so happy for him,” a source close to the player tells The Athletic.

It’s both a creative and surprising solution to an injury crisis that has left Liverpool without Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip. Even Fabinho, who has played as a makeshift centre-back in recent months, is currently sidelined.

Captain Jordan Henderson and Nathaniel Phillips started in the middle of defence in Sunday’s impressive 3-1 over West Ham United — Liverpool’s 12th centre-back combination in 21 Premier League games this season.

With money tight and the availability of top targets an issue during the January window, Liverpool’s recruitment staff had to look further afield.

The claims of dozens of centre-backs across Europe were evaluated but they ultimately felt that Davies ticked the right boxes in terms of value, experience and skillset to bolster their squad. He had been on Liverpool’s radar since he established himself in the Preston team in the 2017-18 season. He had also previously attracted interest from the Bundesliga and he impressed Manchester City after featuring against them in the EFL Cup last season.

The fact Davies had entered the final six months of his contract meant he was available for such a low price. He already has 250 senior appearances under his belt, including loan spells at York City, Tranmere Rovers, Southport, Newport County and Fleetwood Town.

As well as the data analysis and scouting reports, the character references they secured were flowing.

Another attraction is his status as a homegrown player. Signing someone from overseas would have left manager Jurgen Klopp with a tricky decision to make over who to leave out of his revised 25-man Premier League squad.

So who is Ben Davies? A stop-gap signing or one for the long term? Can he really make the step up in class? What will he offer a rejuvenated Liverpool in their pursuit of Premier League and Champions League glory?

Born in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, Davies joined Preston’s academy at the age of 11 after he was scouted playing for junior side Furness Rovers.

He progressed through the ranks and was given his first-team debut by manager Graham Westley at the age of 17 against Coventry City in League One in January 2013. Westley was sacked the following month.

“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,” Westley tells The Athletic.

“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.

“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 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.

“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. Ben thrived in my intense regime so I’m absolutely certain he’ll dig in and sweat the necessary blood!”

He signed his first professional deal in May 2013 and was named Preston’s scholar of the year. He spent the 2013-14 season loan at York City in League Two, where former Crystal Palace striker Calvin Andrew played alongside him.

“My standout memory was his eagerness to learn,” Andrew tells The Athletic.

“It’s easy to say about young players but you don’t see it as much these days. They come into a team on loan and automatically think they know the ins and outs of football.

“He was different: he came and asked things, about football, about life in general. He wanted to learn his craft and improve as a player and person. As soon as I saw your text about him, it jumped into my mind: you know what, yeah, I remember that about him.

“Going on loan, it’s sink or swim. You are away from home and learning to look after yourself as well as your trade. He took to it really well. I was more experienced at the time and you can weigh up a young player’s attitude. It’s always encouraging and fills me with pride to see guys who have the hunger and ability to go on to do well, like Ben, or Wilfred Zaha or Nathaniel Clyne.

“Ben was commuting and staying over sometimes. My diet has been a big thing and I am a strict vegan. He asked things about different foods and different preparation techniques, stretches, things that help you in football to elongate your career. He wanted to know things to help him perform his best on a Saturday. He understood that side of the game.

“He played left-back there the majority of the time. He was quite a slight fella. He could move and put good crosses in. He was a standout player. He had real ability. We have got on over the years and stayed in touch. I’ve played against him. He’s a respectful guy and we have a good friendship. He’s always trying to get better.”

What should Liverpool fans expect?

“He’s robust. He can play. He’s naturally a left-back, I would say. He has that ability on the ball, he can play and see passes. But he’s not afraid of the dirty part of the game and puts his head where it hurts; a really brave and talented young man.

“He’s got the mentality to go to Liverpool, 100 per cent. If anything, his career path is better. You often see youngsters at 17 enjoying football and jumping to the top flight, which startles players in the limelight. It can catch people out. He has learned his craft in the lower leagues and been able to make mistakes at that level. Now he is way more ready for the challenge as he has been able to grow himself at Preston. He’s definitely ready.

“You couldn’t ask for a better person to get a move to Liverpool and be top of the tree. It is the fruit of his character and quality. Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope was in our York squad too. The young lads were humble, nice and wanted to learn, always asking questions. We got on really well. I wouldn’t say they knew they would play higher, as they weren’t the sort of people to presume, but those around them could see they had the ingredients; hunger, ability and humility.”

There was a brief loan spell at Tranmere Rovers in 2014-15 and on his return to Preston, he remained on the fringes of a squad that earned promotion to the Championship via the play-offs under Simon Grayson.

In September 2015 he dropped into the National League in pursuit of regular game-time on loan at Southport. He spent the second half of the season on loan at League Two side Newport County where he clocked up 20 appearances.

Paul Carden was his manager at Southport. “I watched him play for Preston’s under-21s against Everton at Haig Avenue,” Carden tells The Athletic. “Everton won 3-1 and were comfortable. Ben made a mistake for one of the goals.”

“I was sat with Simon Grayson and Glynn Snodin (Preston assistant) at the game. I’d spoken to them about who they had available. I’d seen Ben play before and I liked him. They said, ‘Take him.’ The game had been on the Monday and we took him on the Wednesday or the Thursday.

“He was a great lad who wanted to listen, wanted to learn… cared. Great trainer. He was desperate to improve. He watched DVDs of each game to understand more about himself and other players. He’d question everything. He wanted to know how he could do better; what type of forward he was coming up against. A really good lad who was destined to play higher than Southport.

“We were bottom of the Conference. That was the thing that really impressed me. We were getting a player from a much higher league who did all the right things. He always prepared himself in the right way.

“Whenever I sign a loan player, I always ask, ‘Have they been out already — have they got their hands dirty?’ He’d been to York in League Two and played 40 odd games, then Tranmere where he played less. I remember him telling me that period was a waste of time. I really liked that he’d gone to York as a young player. He went out of his comfort zone, away from the north west. He did the same thing later at Newport. This will have helped him massively, developing him as a person as well as a player.

“He came to us and played 10-12 games in all competitions. He wasn’t a mute in the dressing room. We had a bad result at home and he kicked off on one or two, which I was pleased about. It showed he wasn’t prepared to lose even though he wasn’t our player. He cared about his own performance and the team. He didn’t want to have his name put to a defeat. That’s a quality trait to have as a young player.

“Preston recalled him and I was gutted because he was just getting going. He was making us a better team. I got a call from Glyn Snodin. They’d had a couple of injuries and they wanted to cover their backs. He didn’t play a lot and went out on loan again.

“He was a different class and I did think he’d get in Preston’s first team. If you’d have asked me whether he’d sign for Liverpool, I probably wouldn’t have said so. But it’s not that much of a shock because of the way Liverpool sign players.

“He can play as a left-sided centre half, on the left of a three, as a left-back or a left wing-back. He’s not the biggest but he’s comfortable with both feet and reads the game really well. He steps out with the ball. I’m a Liverpool fan and everyone’s hoping for a Koulibaly or someone like that.

“Ben won’t be the most fashionable and for many he won’t whet the appetite but I think he’s a shrewd signing because I know his qualities as a person. He’ll try and grasp the opportunity with both hands.

“The deal is a no-brainer for Liverpool. Straight away, Ben’s value increases. Hopefully, it works out but if it doesn’t they’ll be able to move him on to another Premier League club. As soon as he’s got Liverpool on his CV, his life changes. He’s a good age and he’s versatile.”

Patience proved to be a virtue for Davies. A successful loan spell under Uwe Rosler at Fleetwood Town in the second half of the 2016-17 season led to him forcing his way into the Preston team at centre-back the following campaign under Alex Neil. He’s been there ever since. He has scored two goals in 145 appearances for the club.

Former Liverpool striker Neil Mellor spent six years at Deepdale. When he retired in the summer of 2012, Davies was just coming through from the academy.

In his work as a pundit for Sky he has followed the defender’s career closely ever since.

“I trained with Ben a few times and always had high hopes for him,” Mellor tells The Athletic.

“I watched him at York and I watched him score his first senior goal during his spell at Fleetwood. He’s gone on to establish himself in the Preston team and become one of the top defenders in the Championship.

“He can defend and he’s left-footed so he offers good balance. He’s very good at sensing danger and dealing with it. I see too many defenders these days who aren’t aware and don’t sense danger quickly enough.

“He’s not got blistering pace but he’s quick enough. He’s calm and composed on the ball. Liverpool usually dominate possession in games and he’s very comfortable bringing it out from the back. He’s good in the air and he’s not afraid of getting hurt.

“I’ve been surprised a top club didn’t take a chance on him before now. He’s been very loyal to Preston. He deserves this opportunity.

“He’s only 25 but has already played 250 games in his career. He has played from the National League right through to the Championship with his various loans. He’s robust too, playing 30 plus games in each of the previous three seasons and he’s been a regular so far this season.

“For £2 million, he’s an absolute steal. Liverpool would be able to sell him for five times that amount. He’s a £10 million defender.

“I’m confident that he can grasp this amazing opportunity he’s been given. My only concern is whether he really believes that he belongs in the Premier League. He’s quiet, shy, reserved lad. I know he’s good enough but I don’t know if he believes himself just what a good player he is.

“That’s where having senior players around like Jordan Henderson and James Milner will be crucial in helping him to settle in. Working for a manager like Jurgen Klopp and having a top sports psychologist like Lee Richardson around will help too.

“Ben will be made up to be there. He won’t get ideas above his station. He won’t unsettle the dressing room.

“People will inevitably look at this as a short-term fix but I think the ball is in Ben’s court on that front. I believe he’s good enough to establish himself in this Liverpool squad for the long-term. It’s down to him.

“Look at someone like James Tarkowski. He spent a number of years in the lower leagues with Oldham and Brentford before stepping up into the Premier League with Burnley.

“You can’t establish yourself at the top level until someone gives you the chance to do so. Centre-backs always mature a bit later.”

The Athletic’s data analyst Mark Carey assesses Davies’ output for Preston during the current season. He has started 19 of their 27 Championship matches. He was sidelined for a month due to a hamstring in October.

Looking at his smarterscout ratings this season (which use advanced metric data to produce an overall score between 0-99 — a bit like video-game FIFA’s ratings for players, but using real-life data), you can better understand Davies’s playing profile.

The first thing that stands out in Davies’s profile is his ability on the ball.

Stylistically, he is a player who is comfortable in possession and looks to frequently step out with the ball — as shown by his carry and dribble volume (79 out of 99).

This could be a good trait to have in the Liverpool side in stepping out of defence as Matip likes to do — particularly against sides who often like to sit back against the Premier League champions.

His tendency to carry the ball may explain his average ball retention ability for a centre-back (49 out of 99). However, with the higher quality players around him at Liverpool (and Jordan Henderson bellowing in his ear), that would be an attribute that would most likely change quickly.

Despite his ability on the ball, it is interesting that his defensive profile does not particularly stand out. A particular focus to look at would be defending impact, which looks how often the player is the most relevant defender when his side are out of possession. A high number typically indicates a player who is often applying pressure and making proactive defensive actions. Davies’s rating of 26 out of 99 does not stand him out from the crowd. For context, Fabinho and Matip both rate 82 out of 99 for defending impact this season.

Using smarterscout, we can look to see which players have a similar profile to Davies, across Europe. In the Premier League, the closest profile is David Luiz at Arsenal — which matches the profile of someone who is capable on the ball without being known especially for his defensive ability.

Interestingly, former defender Liverpool Ragnar Klavan (now of Cagliari in Serie A) also profiles similarly to Davies — and he became something of a cult hero on Merseyside. Finally, highly rated Spanish defender Pau Torres also profiled similarly to Davies stylistically — once again for his ability on the ball more so than his defensive profile.
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Old 01-02-21, 10:13 AM   #88
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...Phillips isn't in the CL squad, so I take it Davies (and any other Jan signing) wouldn't be able to be added to it either?
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Old 01-02-21, 10:17 AM   #89
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Can't the make changes to the CL squad for the knockout stages?
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Old 01-02-21, 10:18 AM   #90
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...Phillips isn't in the CL squad, so I take it Davies (and any other Jan signing) wouldn't be able to be added to it either?
You are able to make a limited no of changes to CL squad so he and Phillips could potentially be added.
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Old 01-02-21, 10:52 AM   #91
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Old 01-02-21, 11:02 AM   #92
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Sounds like a great deal for us only £500k upfront potentially rising to £2m on appearances us winning trophies and him playing for England We've paid more for players who have never got near first team, and given how highly rated he is in Championship it seems there would probably be a few clubs willing to take him for at least what we paid if it doesn't work out.

Also van den Berg gets 6 months championship experience and maybe more.
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Old 01-02-21, 11:31 AM   #93
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Van Den Berg couldn't even get on the bench this season...... with all of the injuries that is a pretty poor showing from him.

Hopefully Davies will turn out to be another Robbo. Who knows. The fact that Tsimikas hasn't exactly ripped it up either means that even when our first choice defenders do come back, then he has a chance of fighting it out for a left back spot in the event that Robbo is unavailable.

500k up front is ridiculously cheap. 3 players wages for the week. They literally could have had a whip-round for that

Even if all of our defenders were fit and available, then this deal would have made sense. As someone mentioned, even if he never kicked a ball for us, LFC could probably sell him on for a lot more.
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Old 01-02-21, 12:24 PM   #94
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I'm getting the impression Tsimikas, his injury aside, isn't getting a sniff as we've been in a bit of a performance dip and without main CBs partnerships, changing either LB and/or RB as well from time to time won't do anything for the style of play or system?

I'd like to think that.. as opposed to the fact, he's actually just a bit shitter than we thought so Klopp won't play him. Similar to Taki...
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Old 01-02-21, 12:39 PM   #95
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Van Den Berg couldn't even get on the bench this season...... with all of the injuries that is a pretty poor showing from him.

Hopefully Davies will turn out to be another Robbo. Who knows. The fact that Tsimikas hasn't exactly ripped it up either means that even when our first choice defenders do come back, then he has a chance of fighting it out for a left back spot in the event that Robbo is unavailable.

500k up front is ridiculously cheap. 3 players wages for the week. They literally could have had a whip-round for that

Even if all of our defenders were fit and available, then this deal would have made sense. As someone mentioned, even if he never kicked a ball for us, LFC could probably sell him on for a lot more.
Especially as he is homegrown as well, the fact that we haven't been able to fill our 25 man squad because of a lack of homegrown players probably makes a £1.6m deal almost a no brainer in itself.
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Old 01-02-21, 12:42 PM   #96
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I'm getting the impression Tsimikas, his injury aside, isn't getting a sniff as we've been in a bit of a performance dip and without main CBs partnerships, changing either LB and/or RB as well from time to time won't do anything for the style of play or system?

I'd like to think that.. as opposed to the fact, he's actually just a bit shitter than we thought so Klopp won't play him. Similar to Taki...
I thought Tsimikas has been OK when he has come in, most of his games have been in weakened sides and Robertson has been one of the few who have retained his level through the teams poor period, so making so many changes at the back doesn't make sense.
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Old 01-02-21, 06:15 PM   #97
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In my mind this chap replaces Lovren. Vincent Tabak replaces Matip.
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Old 01-02-21, 06:56 PM   #98
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I wouldn't see them as replacing anyone for now. Both him and Tabak's deals are low risk as they don't involve huge fees. Just gives us a bit of breathing space for now to evaluate in the summer when things might be different to how they are now.
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Old 01-02-21, 07:04 PM   #99
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Aye, hopefully we been pretty shrewd here.
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Old 01-02-21, 07:09 PM   #100
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Good thread this. I think he's going to surprise people.

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Old 01-02-21, 07:15 PM   #101
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I like rooting for the underdog and those types generally thrive in Klopp teams - where there’s no expectations and they can develop their game without any pressure.
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Old 01-02-21, 07:18 PM   #102
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Despite his ability on the ball, it is interesting that his defensive profile does not particularly stand out. A particular focus to look at would be defending impact, which looks how often the player is the most relevant defender when his side are out of possession. A high number typically indicates a player who is often applying pressure and making proactive defensive actions. Davies’s rating of 26 out of 99 does not stand him out from the crowd. For context, Fabinho and Matip both rate 82 out of 99 for defending impact this season.

Using smarterscout, we can look to see which players have a similar profile to Davies, across Europe. In the Premier League, the closest profile is David Luiz at Arsenal

Uh oh.
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Old 01-02-21, 07:26 PM   #103
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He won't be doing that much defending in our team though as we look to dominate the ball all the time. He needs to be reliable on the rare occasions when called upon, one of the reasons it has not been a disaster whenever we've played midfielders at centre back. An utmost quality in our team is to be able to play and have the courage to play and both of them seem to have that.
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Old 01-02-21, 07:35 PM   #104
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Good thread this. I think he's going to surprise people.

https://twitter.com/gorn__/status/1356256543600242696
He looks excellent in that and he might excel with better players around him - a few of his passes were butchered by a poor first touch from the receiving player
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Old 01-02-21, 07:43 PM   #105
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Old 01-02-21, 08:59 PM   #106
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Old 01-02-21, 09:03 PM   #107
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Liverpool have completed the signing of Ben Davies from Preston North End on a long-term contract.

The 25-year-old centre-back has put pen to paper on a deal with the Reds on deadline day to tie up his transfer from the Championship club and bolster Jürgen Klopp’s defensive ranks.

Davies told Liverpoolfc.com during his first interview at Anfield: “I’m obviously delighted to be here.

“It’s a huge opportunity. Obviously it came as a bit of a surprise when it first came but once you start to get your head around it, the opportunity that is in front of me is incredible. I’d be silly to not make the most of it and learn off the players [at the club]. It blew me away yesterday when I got the call, and I spent the entire evening deleting tweets in preparation for signing.

“I’ve never actually been to Anfield and I haven’t had a look around yet. I had a quick look out and had a look at the pitch and it looks like carpet, which obviously you’d expect.

“I haven’t actually walked out of the tunnel yet, so I’m looking forward to that. Just to be in this kind of atmosphere is brilliant.”

Davies graduated through the academy ranks at Preston and went on to represent them on 145 occasions, scoring two goals, following his senior debut in January 2013.

The Englishman, who will take the vacant No.28 shirt at Liverpool, claimed Preston’s 2019 Player of the Year award for his form.

“I want to come in and play games to start with, I want to get my foot in the door and make myself a Premier League player rather than obviously a Championship player. And then take it from there really,” he said.

“I know we’ve got some top players here and players I can certainly learn from. Once you get your foot in the door then you’re here as well. Hopefully I can take my chance and then move forward with it.

“I’m looking forward to coming in and playing in front of everyone and showing everyone what I can do. I’m sure a lot of fans and people don’t know [me], or haven’t even seen me play.

“It’s definitely an exciting time and I think they’ll quite enjoy watching me when I’m playing well.”
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Old 01-02-21, 09:06 PM   #108
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Old 01-02-21, 09:08 PM   #109
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Please dont be shit.
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Old 01-02-21, 09:09 PM   #110
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Please just be available
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Old 01-02-21, 09:11 PM   #111
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Old 01-02-21, 09:13 PM   #112
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Old 01-02-21, 09:19 PM   #113
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He really said that.

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I had a quick look out and had a look at the pitch and it looks like carpet
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Old 01-02-21, 09:24 PM   #114
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Wasn't Emlyn Hughes from Barrow too? He turned out pretty good.
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Old 01-02-21, 09:30 PM   #115
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This is the one I've been waiting for for years
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Old 01-02-21, 09:49 PM   #116
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Bloody manure fan, he better be brilliant...
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Old 01-02-21, 10:03 PM   #117
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He must be absolutely buzzing.
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Old 01-02-21, 10:27 PM   #118
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Some of his signing pics are great........he almost looks like he's still waiting for one of his mates to pop out for a prank to end all pranks.
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Old 01-02-21, 10:29 PM   #119
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Some of his signing pics are great........he almost looks like he's still waiting for one of his mates to pop out for a prank to end all pranks.


This one looks like he is taking a piss in front of the This is Anfield sign.
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Old 01-02-21, 10:38 PM   #120
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