Liverpool – Who should stay and who should go

Liverpool might have stuttered to a 2-2 draw last time out against strugglers Sunderland, but no one can deny that under Jurgen Klopp they look like real Premier League title contenders this season.

In that draw with the Black Cats boss Klopp gave his players the chance to sit the clash out if they were feeling tired, but no one stepped forward.

However, while Liverpool might not have European football to contend with they are fighting battles on three fronts as they sit second in the Premier League, have a two-legged EFL Cup semi-final with Southampton to navigate this month, and now kickstart their FA Cup adventure with League Two Plymouth Argyle the lucky ones in for a money-spinning trip to Anfield on Sunday.

But with the games coming thick and fast and Sadio Mane away at the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal, Klopp’s squad will be pushed to the limit.

Time for a bit of tinkering perhaps? We select three players who could go through the Anfield exit door in the January transfer window, plus choose a trio of stars who could replace them.

Daniel Sturridge

OUT – Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturrdige’s injury woes aren’t the only thing the striker has had to worry about this season with Klopp seemingly not favouring the England frontman. The 27-year-old limped off again in the 2-2 draw with Sunderland and after Klopp announced that the problem is not that serious, it would seem that Liverpool fans have had enough of Sturridge – with some calling him a ‘bottler’. What the striker needs is a fresh start and West Ham are rumoured to be sniffing around for him. However, his fitness issues could come back to haunt him, as well as his wages, while Liverpool will surely be looking for in excess of £25million. He did score less than a minute after coming off the bench in a 4-1 win over Stoke, while his shot that hit the post against Everton saw Mane score the rebound for a late winner. He can do the business, but he might be strutting his stuff elsewhere in January.

IN – Gabriel Barbosa

Gabriel Barbosa helped Brazil to Olympic gold in Rio before making a big-money move to Italian giants Inter Milan. However, he has struggled to force his way into the starting line-up for the Nerazzurri since his arrival from Santos and the 20-year-old has been restricted to just three appearances in Serie A with a total of 20 minutes played.

With Mane away at the Africa Cup of Nations and Philippe Coutinho continuing his comeback from injury, Liverpool are a little light in the wide areas and Klopp could be looking to the Brazilian to provide some much-needed depth.

OUT – Mamadou Sakho

The French defender’s fall from grace at Anfield has been highly publicised. He put in some big performances at the heart of Liverpool’s defence this season, particularly in the Europa League as the Reds made it all the way to the final. However, a fallout with Klopp this season has meant his opportunities to shine have been few and far between. Add in the fact that free signing Joel Matip has been a revelation since arriving at Anfield and it could be best for everyone that Sakho severs his ties and finds a new home – at 26 he still has plenty to offer.

Joe Hart

IN – Joe Hart

The one thing that has haunted Liverpool this season has been their defensive frailty, with the fingers more often than not pointed at the goalkeeper. Simon Mignolet was between the sticks at the start of the season before Loris Karius was given his chance. However, that didn’t work out and after a public bust-up with pundit Gary Neville over Karius’ ability, manager Klopp has reinstated Mignolet. But the doubts are still there and Klopp will be looking for a far sturdier replacement, with the German rumoured to be eyeing up a swoop for Joe Hart.

Hart is currently on a season-long loan at Torino after being snubbed by Pep Guardiola at the start of the season and could be available for £15million.

OUT – Lucas Leiva

A jack of all trades, master of none, Lucas has endured a fractious relationship with Liverpool fans who now – rightly or wrongly – believe at 29 that his best days are behind him. He has been a loyal and committed servant to Liverpool for almost a decade now, but with his contract expiring in the summer this could be the end of the road for the Brazilian. If he does go – with AC and Inter Milan rumoured to be interested – then Lucas can surely look back on his Liverpool career with his head held high having played more than 300 games for the club since being signed by Rafa Benitez in 2007. He won the 2010-11 Liverpool Player of the Year and was also part of the League Cup winning team in 2012, but those days seem past him now.

IN – Julian Brandt

Liverpool have been linked with a host of Bundesliga talent since Klopp took the Reds hotseat and this time he is apparently eyeing up Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt. The 20-year-old winger broke into Leverkusen’s first team in 2014 and has a highlight reel of skills, tricks and goals to outshine the most talented of Premier League stars. However, that means the German club would surely be looking for a similar fee to the £37million Manchester City paid Schalke for Leroy Sane.


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1 Comment

  1. Hart has played for 2 teams already this season in CITY and Torino AND is ineligible for transfer as a result.

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