Regardless of what Liverpool fans think about the clubs owners Fenway Sports Group, it is undeniable that the clubs recruitment in recent years has been incredible. This is due to the Reds transfer committee but more specifically the genius behind the scenes, Michael Edwards. Since Jurgen Klopp’s arrival at Liverpool, his work alongside Michael Edwards has transformed good players into world class players and arguably also club legends, as well as creating one of the greatest Liverpool teams in history.
Players who were completely written off by fans also improved ten-fold and became massively important players for the club and their country also. Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is a prime example of this. But with all teams comes change and as Jurgen Klopp approaches his seventh season in charge, a big change in personnel may be needed if Liverpool are to continue the success they have had in recent years.
Although injuries to key players such as Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and recently Jordan Henderson has had an impact on Liverpool’s form, the Reds squad remains largely unchanged. The same players still inhabit the bench as well as additions to the squad like Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota. There have been little changes in Liverpool’s first team this season apart from regular rotating players such as Curtis Jones, James Milner, Rhys Williams and Diogo Jota.
It is clear the confidence in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi and even Joel Matip is wavering from Jurgen Klopp and recent rumours suggest all four players could depart this summer. These departures need to happen.
Apart from the aforementioned players and regular rotating players, when you look at the rest of Liverpool’s bench you will see either young talent with potential such as Curtis Jones or players who are still new to the club and battling for game time like Kostas Tsimikas. These are players who still have something to offer the club going forward and are unlikely to be sold.
Although Oxlade-Chamberlain, Origi, Shaqiri and Matip all deserve praise for their contribution to Liverpool’s success in recent years, it would appear all four can no longer offer the Reds what they need. Whether because of constant injury or consistent dips in form, it is clear that it must be the end of the road for all four players at Anfield.
Liverpool’s biggest issue which has become more evident this season is that they struggle to win games when their attacking trio is off form. Apart from Diogo Jota, there has been no impact from any other player that has come off the bench for the Reds when it comes to scoring or creating goals.
The current crop of attacking players on the bench offer no competition to Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah and when called upon in competitions like the Carabao Cup and FA Cup, they have failed to get the job done. All four players are talented and can still craft a successful future elsewhere, but for Jurgen Klopp to continue to rely on the aforementioned players next season could be considered madness.
It could be argued that the reason players who no longer offer anything to the squad are still with the club is due to Jurgen Klopp having too much faith in their ability to regain form, but this could also mainly be due to Liverpool struggling to get a satisfactory financial return on these players.
Any player can be bought if a club requests little money in return but as we have seen recently, football is also a business and departing players need to come with a sizable return to the club selling them. We previously saw this in recent years in Liverpool’s reluctance to sell players like Daniel Sturridge and Dejan Lovren until they received an offer they thought was satisfactory, even if it did not match the current form of those players in question.
Before Covid-19, whether some of Liverpool’s squad players had a future at the club or not, they would fade into obscurity on the bench before being sold for a cut price. This is the business nature of football.
Liverpool will undoubtedly take into account Covid-19 when buying and selling players. The Reds may be forced to accept reduced offers for players they wish to clear out from the club as the financial impact of the Coronavirus will make it impossible for opposition clubs to make the offers Liverpool may hope for, for the departing members of their squad. This is even more important when it comes to purchasing players as numerous reports have stated the Reds will once again have to sell in order to buy this summer.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Divock Origi, Joel Matip and Xherdan Shaqiri are just some of the more high profile names on Liverpool’s bench that they will hope to move on this summer, but there are still numerous other members of the squad they will need to consider moving on also as it is clear their future lies elsewhere. Players such as Harry Wilson, Ben Woodburn, Taiwo Awoniyi, Marko Grujic and Naby Keita whos current place in the squad is being debated by fans, are noticeable examples of this.
The potential returns of Harvey Elliott, Takumi Minamino and the possible arrivals of Ibrahima Konte and a replacement for the likely departing Georginio Wijnaldum leaves little room for squad players like the ones named who are already struggling for game time.
This could be a defining summer for the Reds and the importance of not just the incomings but also the outgoings will have a massive impact on whether or not Liverpool can recover from this recent decline in form and march on to glory once again next season.