Oussama Assaidi
Assaidi is set to leave Liverpool after having his loan deal cut short Getty Images

Oussama Assaidi is close to becoming Liverpool's first exit during the January transfer window after the club recalled the Morocco international from his loan spell at Stoke City having accepted a bid from a Middle Eastern club.

Assaidi has made just one Premier League start this season during a second year on loan at the Britannia Stadium but his career in English football is likely to be cut short.

The 26-year-old moved to Anfield in the summer of 2012 but a big offer from a team within the Middle East ends his association with both Stoke and Liverpool after just two and a half years.

"Ossie has been frustrated this season because I haven't been able to give him as much game time as he would have liked," Potters boss Mark Hughes said.

"He was a player we liked but he has found it difficult to force his way into the team over the past couple of months.

"As a consequence of that Liverpool requested to recall him, which we have accepted, after receiving an offer from a side in the Middle East. It frees up a loan opportunity for us and obviously we will look to utilise that before the end of the month."

A like-for-like replacement for winger Assaidi is expected to be the primary target for Hughes, whose Stoke side have scored just 22 goals in 21 league matches despite currently being 11<sup>th in the table.

Youth trio Kevin Stewart, Jack Dunn and Lloyd Jones have already left Liverpool on loan during the January window, all moving to League Two side Cheltenham Town for a month while the likes of Lucas Leiva and Rickie Lambert have been linked with moves away.

Lambert has had a limited impact with The Reds since moving from Southampton in the summer but his immediate future appears increasingly likely to remain in Merseyside after Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew ruled out on a move for the player.

"I did have a conversation with Brendan but I don't think that Rickie is going anywhere," he said. "I think that Rickie wants to stay there and try and win his position. I have no doubt that he can do that."