Following Liverpool’s fantastic 2-1 victory against Hoffenheim in the first leg of the Champions League, once again attention turns back towards transfers, ahead of Saturday’s Premier League fixture against Crystal Palace at Anfield.
The saga involving Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk continues to rumble on with no end in sight, while Jürgen Klopp has himself admitted that Liverpool remain on the lookout for a midfielder.
Frustrated in their efforts to sign RB Leipzig’s Naby Keïta, reports have since linked the Reds to Jean Michaël Seri from French side Nice. Clearly, there remains plenty of work still to be done for Klopp and Liverpool, as they look to add to the three incomings they have made thus far.
Yet it is not just about incomings for Liverpool, as the club would like to offload certain players before the summer transfer window closes. However, with progression into the group stages of the Champions League looming, assuming the Reds can hold off Hoffenheim in the second leg, the squad needs strength in depth to cope with the dual fronts of domestic and European football.
Liverpool’s squad last season was threadbare at best, and injuries and absentees stripped away any title hopes and left Klopp’s side clinging onto the fourth and final Champions League place.
Players such as Joe Gomez have returned from long injury spells to provide extra options for Klopp, and youngsters, particularly Trent Alexander-Arnold, are now a year older and able to elevate themselves to senior level.
Liverpool cannot afford to offload numerous senior players without signing a few themselves, yet undoubtedly there are players in the squad whose futures at Anfield are at risk, such as these seven below:
Since arriving on the final day of the summer transfer window in 2013, Mamadou Sakho has certainly experienced a mixed Anfield career.
The former Paris Saint-Germain centre-back played key roles under both Brendan Rodgers and Klopp in Liverpool’s title challenge of 2014 and run to the Europa League final in 2016. However, Sakho missed that final because of a doping investigation by UEFA.
Sakho tested positive for a fat burner, but the case was later dismissed. Yet this caused great damage to the 27-year-old’s prospects at Anfield.
After angering Klopp for unprofessional antics in Liverpool’s 2016 pre-season tour of the United States, Sakho was restricted to under-23 football at the club before being loaned out to Crystal Palace in January, where his consistent performances saw the London club avoid relegation.
Now he is back at Liverpool but with no future at the club. The Reds have been reportedly asking for £30m for Sakho’s services, putting off the likes of Inter Milan, Sevilla and Crystal Palace, who attempted to make Sakho’s loan deal permanent.
There is little point having Sakho in the reserves for another season, with Klopp unwilling to restore Sakho to the first-team. Therefore, Liverpool will in all likelihood lower their asking price and compromise, probably at around £25m.
Liverpool fans may hope Sakho could still be used in a deal to bring van Dijk to Southampton, but, regardless, Sakho should not remain at Anfield for much longer.
As with Sakho, Lazar Marković appears to have no future with Liverpool. Signed during the ill-fated summer business of 2014, the 23-year-old Serbian only showed flashes of his ability during his first season at the club and struggled in subsequent loan spells with Fenerbahce and Sporting Lisbon.
Marković improved during a six-month loan spell with Hull City last season, but not enough to convince Klopp. Liverpool want to recoup as much of the £20m fee that they paid for Marković as possible, but Italian side Fiorentina baulked at the price, while interest from Russian giants Zenit St. Petersburg and Watford (now managed by Marco Silva, who worked with Marković at Hull) has not resulted in offers.
Again the asking price will need to be reduced, perhaps to around £12-13m, in order to secure a permanent deal for Marković before the end of the transfer window. Yet if Marković and Sahko were sold for around £38m, then Liverpool would be recouping their initial outlay on the two players – a good result considering their current status and history since joining the club.
Moving onto players who are not perhaps on Liverpool’s transfer list, but could still be sold, to see Danny Ings’ name here may appear harsh. The 25-year-old has been through injury hell in his two years at the club since joining from Burnley, and I have previously stated that Ings could still be a great asset to Klopp and Liverpool in the future.
Yet that does not mean he is certain to stay this season – far from it. Liverpool have a number of strikers in their squad, too many for a one-player position. Roberto Firmino is Klopp’s first-choice, with Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, Ings and youngsters Dominic Solanke and Ben Woodburn other potential options.
Ings should not rush back from his injuries, but he will need some top-level football, and if he is competing with five players for one position then his chances will be limited.
A loan move may suit Ings and Liverpool, and the former may still want to succeed at Anfield after everything he has been through, yet a fresh start at a familiar place may also appeal.
Burnley have been linked with Ings following the sale of Andre Gray to Watford, and if a permanent offer is accepted by Liverpool, then Ings will have a tough decision to make. However, a loan move would be best for all three parties concerned.
If Ings remains at Anfield, then Divock Origi could instead consider his future. Signed from Lille in 2014, Origi, at only 19, had already led the line for Belgium at the 2014 World Cup ahead of Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke. Liverpool’s £10m outlay appeared a steal.
After being loaned back to Lille for a year, Origi arrived at Liverpool at the end of Rodgers’ reign, and grew quickly under Klopp, with the German speaking of his delight at being able to work with a player who was a target of his at Borussia Dortmund.
Origi began challenging Daniel Sturridge as Liverpool’s first-choice striker in the early months of 2016, and was playing fantastic football before his season was abruptly curtailed by a horror tackle from Everton’s Ramiro Funes Mori.
Last season, Origi actually scored more goals than in the 2015/16 campaign (eleven to ten) but he struggled with his performances and confidence, and now appears a shadow of the player who threatened to take Anfield by storm less than eighteen months ago.
Now behind at least Firmino and Sturridge as Liverpool’s third-choice striker, Origi would benefit from a move – permanent or loan – where he is first-choice, in order to rediscover himself and prove to Liverpool that he can fulfil the potential the club saw in him.
There were tentative links earlier in the window with Lazio and Monaco, but, for a loan, a Premier League club would be the ideal option for Origi.
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Brought in on a free transfer in 2015, Ádám Bogdán became Simon Mignolet’s understudy. However, when he was selected, Bogdán’s unconvincing performances, such as in Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat to Watford in December 2015, saw Klopp buy Loris Karius the following summer, and Bogdán was loaned out to Wigan Athletic. The 29-year-old then suffered a knee ligament injury which ruled him out for the remainder of last season.
Bogdán is still recovering from his injury, which is probably the only reason why he has not left Liverpool. Yet if the likes of Nottingham Forest follow up on their interest, Liverpool will probably allow Bogdán to leave on a free transfer and end his two year association with the club.
‘Just when I thought I was out – they pull me back in!’
Michael Corleone may have nothing in common with Alberto Moreno, but the latter, whilst hoping for a chance again at Liverpool, surely was not expecting to start the very first two games of the season.
After Moreno’s horror show in the second half of the 2016 Europa League final against Sevilla, the 25-year-old barely had a kick last season as midfielder James Milner took over at left-back.
Now however, it seems a three-way fight has emerged for the position between Moreno, Milner and new signing Andrew Robertson, and currently Moreno has found himself at the front of the queue again.
The Spaniard performed reasonably well against Watford, but struggled at times against Hoffenheim so the jury remains out on his Liverpool future.
Numerous sides have been linked, including Swansea City and Moreno’s old club Sevilla, but none have met Liverpool’s reported asking price of £15m. Yet if Klopp still sees a future for Moreno at Anfield, that price may have gone up.
Conversely, Moreno may find himself on the sidelines once again when Robertson is ready for action, but will that happen before the end of August?
Jon Flanagan – born and bred in Liverpool. Fans love nothing more than to see a local player succeed, as Trent Alexander-Arnold is currently demonstrating. Yet before Alexander-Arnold came along, Flanagan was Liverpool’s local and bright prospect at full-back, deployed on the left to great effect in 2014 as Liverpool almost won the Premier League title.
Since then, the 24-year-old has been decimated by injury and struggled to regain any confidence on loan at Burnley, as he barely featured under Sean Dyche.
Both full-back positions at Liverpool appear too competitive for Flanagan to break back into. Should Flanagan not rediscover his form of three years ago, the England international will remain a squad player at Anfield, which he will not accept for long. If Flanagan does not leave in August, then it will likely be in January.
Whenever Flanagan departs, it will be a shame to see him and his potential go, but his future lies elsewhere. For Liverpool, there is a new young star exciting everyone now.