x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Ryan Babel poised to leave Liverpool

Ryan Babel looks poised to leave Liverpool and head for a new challenge in the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim.

Ryan Babel looks poised to leave Liverpool and head for a new challenge in the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim.

Babel is negotiating personal terms with his prospective employers after the clubs agreed a fee, believed to be €7 million (Dh34.63m).

He has struggled to nail down a first-team place and was again on the bench on Sunday during the derby draw with Everton.

Babel, 24, cost Liverpool in excess of £10m when he arrived from Ajax in 2007.

But he failed to convince both Rafael Benitez and then Roy Hodgson of his ability to cut it in the Premier League.

Now caretaker manager Kenny Dalglish has decided he can do without the Dutchman, even though his side are only four points off the relegation zone and face fellow strugglers Wolves on Saturday.

Babel, who has scored 22 goals in 146 appearances for Liverpool, may just have played his last game for the club.

He was fined £10,000 on Monday and warned about his future conduct for posting comments and a doctored picture of referee Howard Webb on Twitter following the FA Cup defeat by Manchester United.

About his lack of first-team chances, he said: “For a player of my age it is important to be playing week in week out.”

Babel is set to fill a void which has emerged in Hoffenheim’s attack this winter.

“Following the departure of (Demba) Ba and the injury to (Chinedu) Obasi, we were in an emergency situation,” Dietmar Hopp, the club's owner, told Bild.

“Babel was one of the prime candidates who our general manager Ernst Tanner was most convinced about.”

Babel could make his debut against St Pauli on Sunday. However, the player himself earlier spoke of his hope for a loan move back to Ajax — and stated that deal could form part of Luis Suarez’s potential transfer to Liverpool.

Liverpool are reported to be interested in the Uruguay striker Suarez, who scored three times at the 2010 World Cup before his infamous sending-off for a goal-line handball in the quarter-final against Ghana.