It's been a little over two years since Tomas Kalas, fresh from what could be put down as a successful loan stint at Vitesse Arnhem, started that game at Anfield and held his own against the likes of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. Since then, in what might seem like an eerily familiar narrative, Kalas' development hasn't gone as planned.
He was sent out on loan to FC Koln in Germany later that summer, with the intention of providing him with first team football at a higher level than the Eredivisie. However, the Czech defender didn't make a single appearance in the Bundesliga and was recalled in the winter, then farmed out to the Championship, to promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough. Kalas adapted well at Teesside, and after making 17 appearances, he opted to spend the whole of this season there as well (while also signing a new three-year deal with Chelsea).
Middlesbrough finished second in the Championship and won automatic promotion to the English top flight, with Kalas making 30 appearances over the course of the season at both right-back and centre-back. Speaking to the Gazette, Kalas talked a bit about his experience of winning promotion at the Riverside Stadium and, more importantly, about his future.
"I don't know how many games I've played since I came, probably around 40, which is not bad in one and a half years. That's why I came here, to play games, and hopefully I'll keep playing next season - maybe here."
"If I could get the deal (to move to Boro permanently) I would really think about it. Yes, why not!"
-Tomas Kalas; source: Gazette
Having turned 23 only a few days ago, it looks likely that a definitive decision will be made about Kalas' future at Chelsea this summer. With the recent contract renewals of John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill, not to forget the impending return of Kurt Zouma from injury and perhaps a new signing in the summer, the odds seem against Kalas yet again. It's only understandable that in such a situation, he'd prefer to stay at Middlesbrough, who are well-acquainted with his talents and where he has a greater chance of playing regular Premier League football.