Liverpool can exploit Premier League rule with Kabak transfer after Davies deal

Liverpool will have to make alterations to their Premier League squad with the deadline day arrivals of Ben Davies and possibly another defender.

But if that defender is Schalke’s Ozan Kabak, then they will have a Premier League rule on their side.

Davies will join from Preston North End for around £1.6m after the Reds’ desperate search for a centre-back led them to the Championship.

The 25-year-old had previously been linked with West Ham, and was on the verge of signing a pre-contract agreement with Celtic to join the Scottish giants in the summer.

The fact that the left-sided Davies is English will be seen as key factor in Liverpool's move.

The Reds, like all other Premier League clubs, have to submit a 25-man squad of players who are 21 and over after both the summer and winter transfer windows.

A maximum of 17 players can be non-homegrown, i.e. be 21 and over and having not spent three or more years at an academy or first-team setup of an English or Welsh club before turning 21.

Liverpool ’s squad currently stands at 24 players, with 16 non-homegrown. The Reds submitted that list on October 20, three days after Virgil van Dijk’s serious injury at Everton.

Van Dijk was taken out of the squad after that blow, but with new indications that he could return by April, the Reds appear set to add him back to the group in the new squad list.

That means new arrivals over 21 will have to take the place of an existing player.

The fact that Davies is English means he could easily replace Joe Hardy, the 22-year-old former Brentford B forward who has only recently recovered from an ankle ligament injury. His only senior appearance came against Shrewsbury in the FA Cup last season.

But Liverpool are also eyeing a second defensive deadline day addition, with Turkish centre-back Kabak now coming to the fore.

The fact that Kabak is just 20 means he wouldn’t need to be added to Liverpool’s main squad and could instead take a place on the under-21 list.

Young foreign stars such as Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli and Manchester City's Ferran Torres are on their club’s younger lists, creating space for more experienced homegrown talents.

Marseille’s Duje Caleta-Car, 24, and Arsenal ’s Shkodran Mustafi, 28, are two more centre-backs under consideration.

But should one of those two arrive before the deadline then the Reds will have to remove a non-homegrown player from the squad for them, if Van Dijk is indeed being added back.

Dutch youngster Sepp van den Berg is joining Preston on loan as part of the Davies deal, but at just 19 he isn’t counted on the non-homegrown list.

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