Liverpool will now have to make a final decision on Kalvin Phillips after their initial enquiry to Manchester City. They're not the club igniting the race.
This comes from 90min. They report that Liverpool are one of several clubs to have enquired about Kalvin Phillips this year.
Aston Villa, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Borussia Dortmund and Juventus have also asked for more information as Phillips is expected to leave Manchester City. The player hasn't wanted to do that and actively refused a move in the summer - but that will likely change in 2024.
None of these clubs are the one igniting the race here, however. That's Newcastle United, with 90min claiming they're going to push forward on a move.
That will force the hands of the others, who are now running out of time to sign Phillips.
Newcastle have a need for a new midfielder after Sandro Tonali was banned for his involvement in the Italian betting scandal. Phillips, a player with plenty of Premier League experience, fits the bill nicely as someone almost certainly available in the winter window.
The Magpies can essentially guarantee him a role for the rest of the season at least and an opportunity to play football at the top end of the Premier League. If anyone believes they can rival that, they'll have to ready their offer ASAP.
It feels unlikely that Liverpool will be one of the teams vying for Phillips in January. The Reds overhauled their midfield in the summer and an enquiry into the former Leeds United star made a lot of sense.
But with the eventual influx of new signings, the need for Phillips isn't necessarily there. An out-and-out defensive midfielder makes a lot more sense and likely one a good few years younger.
Newcastle are in a much better position to sign Phillips and if they want him, they'll likely get him. Liverpool will ultimately need to make a decision here but it will likely be to let this chance pass them by.