Dylan Gerstley takes a look at the four signings Liverpool has made but emphasises that the real challenge will be siphoning off the unwanted players in the squad.
The unwanted and unsuccessful players the club has on their books could harm Klopp’s training sessions and many need to be sold as soon as possible.
Liverpool were successful in their first friendly of the season but a few notable names were left out of the squad. Jordon Ibe, Mario Balotelli, and Luis Alberto were all left out and transfers have been heavily mooted for Ibe in particular.
Ibe had an inconsistent, patchy season in Klopp’s first in charge but the young English wide man is clearly a talent. He possesses pace, skill on the ball, and a hunger and confidence in attack. The £15 million sale to Bournemouth is actually an incredible deal for Liverpool. The sale would cover the signing fees of Marko Grujic and Loris Karius. Ibe is talented and has potential so it would be difficult to give up on him this early, but if the club insert a buy back clause, it may work out best for all parties involved.
Balotelli is a player that has used up all of his chances at nearly every club in Europe. The striker does best in Italy but Serie A clubs have to judge whether he is worth the risk. The Italian is s player that has no future at Anfield and needs to be sold as soon as possible.
Alberto is a bit of an enigma. The midfielder clearly possesses creativity and technique but it is unclear if he can succeed athletically and physically in the Premier League. The club would not exactly feel a gap from his departure due to his absence at Anfield as the Spaniard left for a spell out on loan. Many Spanish clubs should be interested in him and it is highly unclear if he will succeed under Klopp.
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Martin Skrtel is another misfit in the new age at Liverpool. The center back has served the club well in his eight years but his horrible form of last season did the defender little in a bid to remain. A £5.5 million move is mooted for the Slovakian to play in Turkey and as in Ibe’s case, a move will work out best for all involved.
Christian Benteke was a big money signing just a year ago but the big Belgian was unconvincing in his time under Klopp. The German’s style simply does not fit the striker. Benteke is excellent in the air and skilled enough with the ball at his feet that he can be an incredible poacher. The only thing he needs is a team built around his strengths. The £30 million move to Crystal Palace would recoup the money spent on Mané and give Benteke a chance to revitalize his career.
Joe Allen went from most hated to fan favorite in the space of seven months. The tiny Welsh midfielder was an instrumental player last season with assured performances in the first XI when the games came thick and fast as well as energetic displays off the bench in big matches. Allen has also excelled with the Wales national team at Euro 2016 and is said to be unhappy with his squad rotation role. Swansea and Sevilla are both linked but Liverpool would do well to keep him on for the season, especially as the £15 million fee is not nearly enough to compensate for what Allen brings to the table.
Lucas Leiva is also linked with an exit from Anfield. The defensive midfielder has been a loyal servant and filled in at center back numerous times last season to help the injury plagued defense. The Brazilian is good at what he does and no one has made more tackles in the Premier League than him in his time at Liverpool. He is loved in the dressing room and a vocal member of the club but whether or not he is satisfied with his role is anyone’s guess. It would be a sad day to see one so loyal move on but Klopp may feel he does provide enough dynamism on the field.
Lazar Markovic was unconvincing in his time under Brendan Rodgers and was not the most successful in his time in Turkey either. He possesses the requisite pace for the Premier League but he is still a raw talent and with the competition ahead of him for attacking places, he may do better to move on. Liverpool will be hard pressed to recoup the £20 million spent on him, but it looks clear that the Serbian will not work out at Anfield.
Adam Bogdan is another player that needs to be sold. His free transfer looked a steal last summer but a year on and with all his shortcomings revealed, the Hungarian needs to find a new club. Simon Mignolet and Karius will be enough in the goalkeeping position.
Tiago Ilori and Andre Wisdom should also be on the move as they’ve been wholly unconvincing in the Liverpool shirt or elsewhere on loan.
Klopp and the club have quite a bit of deadwood to shift on but keeping players like Lucas and Allen would serve the German well in his transition to greatness at Anfield. The new era has begun and players like Mané have arrived to usher it in, but many faces need to pass through the exit door for the best work to truly begin.