The relative glut of first-team talent in central defense was always going to make life difficult for the younger squad members to break through; both Andre Wisdom and Martin Kelly were set for shifts in the middle as the season progressed, and the addition of Tiago Ilori only spread the scraps out further among those not established as first-team regulars. And while Kelly is pegged as backup on the right for now with Ilori logging most of his minutes with the U21s (as has Kelly), it was clear that Wisdom needed regular time in the first team somewhere to further his development.
He finally got that move earlier in the week, with a loan to Steve McLaren's Derby County side, who currently sit eighth in the Championship table. The former England manager, who arrived in September after replacing Nigel Clough, has the East Midlands side on a run of three matches unbeaten in league, and has overseen a style of football that's proven easy on the eye and mostly effective.
Injuries at the back were cause for concern, however, and the signing of Wisdom on loan not only meets McLaren's needs, but, according to the manager, should also serve as an opportunity for the player to get the minutes he needs:
"Andre is a very good and a promising player who we're delighted to welcome to Derby County. Liverpool obviously think a lot of him but he's at the stage of his development where he needs to play some first-team games, and we're delighted they see Derby as the place to do that. We've had a few injuries in defence of late and Andre will bring extra qualities as well as more competition for places, which is always welcome."
He might have to wait a bit to get his chance, as the typically busy Championship calendar doesn't pick back up again in full until December. From there, like Liverpool, Derby are set for seven league matches in the month, and Wisdom will certainly have a chance to make an impact at some point. It could come sooner, of course, with Birmingham City set to visit Pride Park this weekend, and matches with QPR and Sheffield Wednesday to follow over the next two weeks.
His chance seems to be coming at some point, though, and the hope is that it turns out to be beneficial for all involved over both the short- and long-term.