Salah in, Oxlade-Chamberlain out: The Liverpool players who need to stay and go

Nicholas Hughes
Salah in, Oxlade-Chamberlain out: The Liverpool players who need to stay and go

Liverpool’s season has gone from bad to worse after a sixth successive home defeat, going down 1-0 to Fulham on Sunday.

The Reds have slumped to eighth on the Premier League table and could be seven points adrift of Champions League qualification by Monday night.

A stretch of eight defeats in 12 games followed a 7-0 demolition of Crystal Palace that seemed to assert Jurgen Klopp’s side as title favourites, but their collapse since then has been remarkable.

It would take a miracle for the Reds to lift a seventh European Cup this season, but such is their dire league form that that looms as their best opportunity for qualification into the competition next season.

Without Champions League football in 2021/22, Liverpool’s summer transfer window could be compromised with both a decrease in available funds and the likelihood of players taking interest from clubs in the competition.

The side will welcome the return of injured players from next season, but what other squad changes will they need to get back to the top in the next campaign?

Players Liverpool need to sell

Divock OrigiForever a Liverpool legend for his Champions League heroics, Divock Origi simply is not up to the level of the Reds. The Belgian has scored just seven goals in 58 games since scoring in the final in Madrid, and he should be the first out the door at Kirkby.

Alex Oxlade-ChamberlainThere was a period where Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was a key player for the Reds in his first season, but persistent injuries and frustrating inconsistency have him very much on the fringes now. For both club and player, a change of scenery would do some good.

Xherdan ShaqiriAnother who simply has not played enough, Xherdan Shaqiri should look for more regular playing time as his prime years slowly dwindle, and Liverpool could raise funds for more important personnel elsewhere.

Nathaniel PhillipsPerhaps a harsh one, but as handy as Phillips has been, he is not a Liverpool player. Recent displays might have bumped his price up by a couple million.

Adrian – Well and truly dropped to third choice behind Caoimhin Kelleher, Adrian will leave Liverpool with a Premier League winner and memories of the Super Cup in Istanbul.

Marko GrujicHasn’t had a look in since he joined, can’t keep going out on loan.

Harry WilsonSee above, never broke into the first team and needs a permanent transfer.

Players Liverpool need to keep

Mohamed SalahThe Egyptian is Liverpool’s best player and without him this season, the situation would look even bleaker. It is essential they ward off interest from Real Madrid and whole onto their No.11.

StatisticSalah in 2020/21
Goals17
Assists3
Shots P903.4
Dribbles P901.3
League minutes only via FootballCritic

Diogo JotaIn his very short Liverpool career, Diogo Jota has exceeded all expectations. He is the heir to the throne of the front three and will be a big player for the Reds for years to come.

Curtis JonesThe next young star to come from the academy, Curtis Jones must stay at Liverpool and will only continue to get better after a brilliant breakout season so far in 2020/21.

FabinhoAs soon as Klopp can get his ‘lighthouse’ back to his customary position, Liverpool should expect to turn their game around. Fabinho remains one of the best defensive midfielders in the world and must stay.

Trent Alexander-ArnoldDespite a disappointing campaign, Alexander-Arnold’s importance to this team remains and he should bounce back soon enough.

Andrew RobertsonIn a similar fashion, Robertson has not lived up to previous campaigns but will be key in turning the ship around.

Joe GomezHard to believe he is still only 23. Gomez is the future of Liverpool’s defence, and England’s for that matter, and so long as he remains fit he will be in the side for years to come.

Playing for their Liverpool futures

Naby Keita – For every step forward, there has been two steps back in Naby Keita’s Liverpool career. He has never really got going since arriving in 2018, and needs a consistent run of appearances and good performances to prove his worth at Anfield.

Roberto FirminoLiverpool’s No.9 has been on the decline for the best part of two years now, and with Jota waiting in the wings and a forward likely to join in the summer, Firmino could be the first of the front three to go if he doesn’t lift his game.

Kostas Tsimikas – Reds fans are starting forget he was signed in the summer. If he can’t get into the side next season, he could be out the door.

Takumi MinaminoCurrently on loan at Southampton, a good spell could get him in Klopp’s plans, a bad one could see him out the door before he even gets the opportunity to play for his future.

Liverpool attacker Takumi Minamino is on loan at Southampton

Liverpool attacker Takumi Minamino is on loan at Southampton

Players who must be phased out over the next year

Joel MatipStill a brilliant centre-back on his day, Matip simply cannot get on the pitch long enough without breaking down. With van Dijk and Gomez to come back and Kabak developing, Matip could see his importance diminish, especially if he remains perennially injured.

James Milner – The vice-captain has been brilliant for Klopp’s Liverpool side, but at 35 years of age his time at the top level is almost up. The Reds would be better served blooding young talent over the next couple of years.