Liverpool began the defence of the Premier League title with a blockbuster affair against Leeds last Saturday, with Mohamed Salah’s late penalty ensuring a winning start for Jurgen Klopp’s side as both teams showcased their defensive frailties.
Despite the result, the manner of the performance raised further questions as to whether Liverpool need to dip into the transfer market this summer to successfully stay ahead of the pack this season. However, as widely reported, any activity for Jurgen Klopp depends heavily on outgoings, with Thiago Alcantara‘s potential switch linked heavily to Georginio Wijnaldum while Dejan Lovren’s move earlier in the window paved the way for Kostas Tsimikas to join.
Klopp has always been a manager who prefers a streamlined squad and with a growing number of talented youngsters coming through the ranks, including the likes of Neco Williams, Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Billy Koumetio, who caught the eye in pre-season, the Reds may have to part way with others this summer.
As FSG look to raise funds and streamline the side, just who could Liverpool sell this summer?
Where could Liverpool raise potential funds?
Marko Grujic was Jurgen Klopp’s first signing as Liverpool manager back in 2016 but has yet to establish himself on Merseyside, making 14 appearances for the club. He has experienced four loan spells since arriving as a 19-year-old, with Red Star Belgrade, Cardiff and Hertha Berlin all offering a temporary home.
It was at Hertha that Grujic established himself as a competent midfielder, making a total of 54 appearances for the club, scoring nine goals and registering three assists in his two seasons in the Bundesliga. While his return in the final third needs work, his combative nature and persistence in the press offered hope that he could have an impact at the Reds.
However, Liverpool are now well versed in the midfield area, with Naby Keita’s rise during pre-season and Curtis Jones’ performances at the end of last season adding more food for thought, which would appear to pave the way for Marko Grujic’s departure in order to raise funds for a backup centre-back or additional option to support the front-three.
Lazio, Hertha Berlin and Borussia Monchengladbach have all been reported to be interested in Grujic in the past while Premier League trio Newcastle United, Southampton and newcomers Leeds have all been linked, with Liverpool reportedly only considering permanent offers and demanding bids in excess of £20m, which could be complicated by the current economic climate.
Harry Wilson has done more than most players to try and impress during a succession of loan spells at Derby and Bournemouth. He scored 15 times for Derby, before moving to Eddie Howe’s side in an attempt to prove he could mix it with the big boys.
Netting seven Premier League goals, he showed glimpses of what he is capable of, but consistency proved an issue, and there remain lingering questions as to whether the jump up to offer additional options to Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane his season is too big.
Indeed, as evident with Liverpool’s current options in Divock Origi, there would be a major drop off in quality between the first team starters and Wilson. Like Grujic, Goal have reported that the club won’t allow Wilson to be sent out on loan again, instead looking to recoup £20million for the Welshman.
Karius’ last game for Liverpool came in the 2018 Champions League final defeat against Real Madrid, where a series of high-profile errors appeared to mark the end of his career at Anfield. Indeed, given a chance at rehabilitation in the following pre-season further errors suggested there was too much water under the bridge for Karius to make a way back.
Karius has spent the previous two campaigns on loan at Turkish side Besiktas where he also endured a turbulent time, receiving criticism from his own supporters. Albeit enjoying a slight resurgence, rows over unpaid wages ensured his time in the Super Lig ended with a sour taste.
During his time away from the club, Liverpool have developed from nearly men into serial winners, leaving little space for Loris Karius. Indeed, the mental and psychological impacts of his past could still haunt him, with a move away offering him a fresh start to reignite his career.
It remains to be seen whether the German wants to stay and fight for his place and compete with Adrian as Alisson’s back-up this season, with the potential for minutes largely set to be from domestic cup competitions. However, should a sizeable bid come in for his services, Liverpool appear primed to sell.
Just where is Xherdan Shaqiri?
It is the question on every Liverpool fans lips at the moment. The Swiss international failed to make the bench in the Premier League opener against Leeds and did not feature in a ‘secret’ friendly against Huddersfield – a game that included Rhian Brewster, Takumi Minamino and James Milner.
Shaqiri only clocked up 10 appearances in all competitions last season and hasn’t been a viable option for Jurgen Klopp for a considerable period now. While there is no doubting his quality, which showed during his crucial delivery for Wijnaldum in Liverpool’s dramatic Champions League turnaround against Barcelona, his injury record could pave the way for a summer exit.
If Liverpool can keep him fit, Shaqiri offers something different to the other players on this list in that he is a serial winner and experienced professional. His quality can make a real difference on his day and provide decent backup for the front-three. However, that is all contingent on him staying fit – the million dollar question with no answer as yet.
The economic climate may force teams to reconsider a move for Shaqiri, who could command a fee between £8-15million, but the first question for Klopp to answer is whether he believes the forward can be available to act as an option for the coming season. If the answer is no, the Reds would do well to cash in now before his value tanks even more.