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Why aren’t Liverpool giving Tiago Ilori a chance?

The former Sporting Lisbon youngster is yet to make his mark for Liverpool.

Liverpool's young central defender Tiago Ilori is no closer to breaking into the first team squad under Brendan Rodgers. 

Last summer, the young Portuguese defender was signed for a big fee from Sporting Lisbon, believed to be as much as £8 million.

Defence was the one area of concern for Liverpool for much of last season's league campaign. That remains an area Brendan Rodgers is looking at this summer, with the Northern Irishman also having to contend with replacing former talisman Luis Suarez.

So why hasn't Rodgers sought to integrate Ilori into the first team setup at Anfield? It makes sense to sign Dejan Lovren, but the club now have five international centre backs with little place for the former Sporting Lisbon man.

Last year the defender went out on loan in January to La Liga side Granada, making 9 appearances as the Andalusians just about kept their place in the Spanish top flight. By all accounts Ilori was seen to have had a successful spell, despite his young age. 

There is plenty of talk about Ilori's next move ahead of the new season, though little of it is considering the possibility for the Portugal Under-21 man to join Liverpool's first team picture.

Rather, further loan moves to the likes of Deportivo La Coruna and even Borussia Dortmund have been mooted, which given the fact that Daniel Agger's and Kolo Toure's future are both uncertain may seem like a surprise.

Liverpool fans may well want to keep hold of Agger should they get the chance, but Toure struggled last season despite his experience, and bringing in someone with as much potential, not to mention speed as Ilori would be a really positive move by Rodgers. 

Even if Toure did leave, Ilori would only be at best fifth choice - so when will he get his chance?

The fact Mamadou Sakho exhibited several instances of naive defending in his debut season, and given his difficulty in adapting to the pace of the Premier League, could mean the Liverpool boss is reluctant to incorporate another young defender into his first team squad.

It may end up that Liverpool will know by next summer whether Sakho is the top class centre back he really should become at Anfield, or whether Ilori can be brought in instead as the younger defender in the Reds' squad. Either way, as long as Brendan Rodgers keeps the Merseyside club on an upward curve, it is difficult to question his strategy too much.

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