Who could stay or leave this summer? Liverpool’s squad assessed
Liverpool have built a squad that conquered Europe last season, became World Champions in December last year and are hurtling towards their first-ever Premier League title. Jurgen Klopp, in conjunction with director Michael Edwards, has made some excellent transfer decisions over the past few years, putting in place a top-class squad.
However, as the next transfer window nears, some activities at Anfield are well and truly expected. With that in mind, we take a look at the current Liverpool squad and assess who might stay at the club beyond the summer and who might not.
One of the best in the business, the Brazilian is a pivotal player in Klopp’s side.
Verdict: Stays obviously.
A tricky one, given the high-profile errors that he has made this season. Especially in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie against Atletico Madrid, that eventually led to Liverpool’s elimination from the competition.
While his performances may have been a bit up and down, as a backup goalkeeper, the Spaniard is a decent enough option to have in the squad.
Signed as the third-choice goalkeeper in the summer on a free transfer, owing to Alisson Becker’s early-season injury. At 36, Lonergan doesn’t have a lot of football left in him. Moreover, with his contract expiring, it is hard to see Liverpool offering him an extension.
The reserves’ goalkeeper has been afforded a few opportunities here and there in the first-team this season, all of which have come in the domestic cup competitions. The 21-year-old has done fairly well with the reserves and can be pushed up to the third-choice slot next season when Lonergan’s contract runs out.
Virgil van Dijk
The Dutchman has grown into one of the best centre-backs in Europe. A leader on and off the field, the Liverpool record signing is one of the first names on Klopp’s teamsheet and still has three years on his contract.
Verdict: Stays. Without a doubt.
Van Dijk’s partner in crime, Joe Gomez, at the age of 22, has become Liverpool and England’s go-to centre-half. A regular in the first-team when fit and available, the Englishman is contracted with the club till 2024.
The 2019/20 campaign has been a difficult one for the Cameroonian centre-back, who has struggled with injuries throughout. In fact, he has made just 12 appearances throughout the season.
Despite having not featured heavily this season, Matip penned a new contract only in October last year, extending till 2024. This is a strong indicator that he is a major part of Klopp’s plans. And at 28, he still has plenty left to offer.
The self-proclaimed ‘best defender in the world’ has had a rollercoaster Liverpool career. The emergence of Gomez and Matip’s form over the last couple of years has severely limited his playing time though.
The Croatian is entering the final year of his contract at Liverpool and is well down the pecking order. Moreover, the performance against Watford in Liverpool’s only league defeat of the season will have sealed his fate.
A brilliant bargain acquisition from Hull City, Robertson has grown into one of the best left-backs in England and Europe. At 26, he is entering his prime and still has four years left on his contract, with Liverpool retaining the option of extending by a further twelve months.
The best right-back in the game currently. Trent Alexander-Arnold's importance to this Liverpool side cannot be overstated. The Englishman is leading the assist charts for the league leaders and has also created the most goalscoring chances for the Reds.
Since the 2017/18 season, Clyne has made just ten first-team appearances for Liverpool, with none coming in the ongoing campaign. Injuries have hurt the Englishman, who failed to make the most of a loan spell at Bournemouth last season. Moreover, his contract is set to expire at the end of the season.
The Brazilian enjoyed a fine debut season at Liverpool last time out. But following an injury, his form has dipped a little in the 2019/20 campaign. Nevertheless, Fabinho remains a quality operator for the Reds and is a key member of the team.
The Netherlands international is a pivotal member of the team that doesn’t always get the due credit or limelight. His future has cast into doubts though, as he is entering the final year of his contract, attracting interest from several clubs.
Klopp, though, has shown previously in the case of Emre Can that he will not sell a key player even if he refuses to sign a new deal.
Captain Fantastic. Won the Champions League. Could be the first Liverpool captain to win the Premier League.
Signed for a big transfer fee from RB Leipzig, the Guinean midfield dynamo has failed to live up to expectations so far in his Liverpool career. Well into his second season at Anfield, questions are being asked whether he has a future at Liverpool moving forward or not.
However, there have been glimpses of his potential during this time, which might convince Klopp to give him another season to adapt.
The Englishman has thrived since making the switch to Liverpool from Arsenal in 2017. Only in August last year, Oxlade-Chamberlain signed a new contract with the Reds, extending his stay at the club till 2023.
A player who should be in the twilight years of his career at 34, but continues to play a key role for Klopp with his impeccable work ethic. Milner still has two years left on his current contract with Liverpool and given his ability to operate in multiple positions, there is still plenty of value in keeping hold of him, even if his game time is likely to reduce gradually.
The youngest player to captain Liverpool in an FA Cup clash earlier this season, academy graduate Curtis Jones has been tipped for a bright future.
Rated highly by Klopp and everyone within the Merseyside club, a first-team spot is in the waiting for the midfielder next season. A loan move away could possibly have aided his development, but is unlikely to happen this summer.
The former Southampton man has been a fine servant for Liverpool but has been ravaged by injuries in the past year or so. At 31, he has still plenty left to offer, but with his contract winding down, his time at Anfield too seems to be nearing an end.
A reunion with former manager Brendan Rodgers at Leicester City is mooted as a strong possibility.
The Senegalese speedster has been absolutely terrific over the past couple of seasons and has grown into one of the most lethal attackers in Europe. Naturally, Real Madrid are eyeing a summer swoop for Sadio Mane, but given his cult status at Anfield, a move to the Bernabeu seems a tad far-fetched.
Signed in January earlier this year from RB Salzburg, the Japanese international hasn’t done anything much of note till date. In fact, Minamino is yet to start a game in the Premier League.
However, the 25-year-old's ability was evident in his time with the Austrian outfit. His performance against the Reds in the UCL earlier this year prompted Klopp to sign him up. With more regular involvement, we could see his best in Liverpool colours.
Back-to-back Premier League Golden Boots. In contention for one more this season. Salah has been just unstoppable since joining Liverpool. Although there have been murmurs of discontent due to some friction between him and Mane on the field, the Egyptian remains Klopp’s chief weapon in attack and will not be allowed to leave, unless some club comes up with a world record bid.
Signed from Stoke at a relative bargain, Shaqiri had proved to be a value addition in his debut season. But injuries and general lack of fitness has meant that the Switzerland international has hardly been involved this time out. Moreover, with Minamino’s signing in January, his days at Anfield could be numbered.
The Brazilian has had an indifferent season in comparison to the lofty standards he has set for himself, with his goal drought at Anfield a particularly concerning trend. Moreover, Liverpool have been heavily linked with a move for German striker Timo Werner.
Irrespective of that, Firmino’s value to this Liverpool team is beyond just goals, and a departure from Anfield will be the last thing on his and Klopp’s minds.
The Belgian international proved his worth with some very important goals in the last season. However, it hasn’t all worked out for him this season, despite a solid start early on.
Given Firmino’s squad status and the likelihood of a new striker arriving in the summer, Origi’s name could potentially be on the chopping blocks come summer.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Javier Soriano