Salah conundrum, Keita in doubt: The Liverpool players who could leave this summer
Liverpool can justifiably point to injuries as the main reason behind this season’s disastrous Premier League title defence.
The loss of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez to serious knee problems and lengthy absences for the likes of Jordan Henderson, Diogo Jota and Thiago Alcantara throughout the campaign have no doubt played their part in the Reds going from champions to top-four hopefuls in the space of 12 months.
But, even considering those setbacks, Jurgen Klopp has clearly learned plenty this year about the shortcomings in his squad that need addressing over the summer.
Here, we take a look at who could be set to depart.
Alisson Becker’s position as first-choice goalkeeper has never been in question and Liverpool are in fact keen to reward his role in the major successes of recent years with an improved deal.
However, the role of back-up to the Brazilian appears to still be up for grabs.
After being leapfrogged by Caoimhin Kelleher in the pecking order this season, Adrian San Miguel was widely expected to leave upon the expiry of his contract this summer.
However, the Spaniard revealed this week that talks are taking place over a possible extension, telling Marca: “The club has made me see that they are happy with me. We are in talks, but nothing is clear yet.”
It could be that the Reds are preparing for the possibility of the highly rated Kelleher seeking regular football elsewhere by lining up an extension for Adrian.
Should both men leave, then Klopp will need to dip into the market for a back-up shot-stopper.
Klopp gambled by going into this season with just three senior central defenders and was made to pay badly in the form of long-term injuries to each.
As such, the German will be more keen to bolster his numbers in that position than let anyone go this summer.
With that in mind and money still tight for clubs across Europe as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, any big decision on the future of the injury-prone Joel Matip is going to have to wait another year at least.
But a huge call must be made on Ozan Kabak, who Liverpool could secure for just £18m from Schalke as a result of a clause negotiated in the loan deal between the clubs in January.
Klopp has yet to give anything away on whether he will sign the Turk permanently, while links with RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate suggest the Reds remain unsure.
No matter which way that decision goes, though, it is likely that Nathaniel Phillips will be moved on this summer despite faring better than his manager might have expected when called upon this term.
Georginio Wijnaldum is fast approaching the end of his contract with no suggestion that an impasse in negotiations over an extension will be resolved.
Consequently, Liverpool are prepared to enter next season without the Dutchman.
He is not the only Reds midfielder whose future in doubt but, once again, the impact of the pandemic on finances of other clubs is sure to have a big say.
Naby Keita’s early withdrawal during the recent Champions League quarter-final first leg against Real Madrid and woeful injury record since moving to Anfield suggest that his time would be up in normal circumstances.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has also barely featured of late despite overcoming his own injury issues to feature more regularly in the squad.
Whether clubs who would typically be interested in that pair can stump up the cash will decide if they are given a stay of execution.
Were it not for the pandemic, Liverpool would probably be braced for an offer from Real Madrid for Mohamed Salah this summer.
But, even should the Egyptian wish to take on a new challenge ahead of next season, the Reds won’t be willing to let him go on the cheap, which could extend his stay.
Takumi Minamino would also surely be let go should a suitable offer be received off the back of his loan stint at Southampton.