Three of Liverpool’s most high-profile loanees, Danny Ward, Jon Flanagan and Lazar Markovic face an uncertain future on their return in the summer.
The trio left on season-long deals at the beginning of the 2016/17 campaign, with Ward joining Huddersfield Town, Flanagan moving to Burnley and Markovic signing up with Sporting CP.
Markovic later saw his spell in Portugal brought an end, before joining up with Premier League battlers Hull City.
At 23, 24 and 22 respectively, Ward, Flanagan and Markovic are coming to the stage of their careers when they need to secure regular first-team football—be that at Liverpool or elsewhere.
And speaking as part of a Q&A on Wednesday afternoon, the Liverpool Echo‘s James Pearce provided an insight into their chances of a future on Merseyside.
“He’s rated very highly. Klopp wanted him to go to Huddersfield and play regularly at a decent level and he’s done that,” he said of Ward.
“Whether Klopp sees him as a potential No. 1 next season, I’m not sure. Time will tell.”
While Ward has made 31 appearances for the Terriers so far, playing every minute of every Championship game he’s featured in, Flanagan has appeared just eight times for Burnley.
“Hopefully he can enjoy a strong end to the season and give Klopp plenty to ponder,” Pearce continued.
“But it’s clearly going to be tough because it’s not just Nathaniel Clyne he has to shift for that right-back spot.
“This season has also seen the emergence of teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold, who Klopp is a big fan of.”
Flanagan signed a new deal with the Reds in March of last year, keeping him on the books until 2019, but his chances of remaining at Anfield beyond the summer are very slim.
The same could be said of Markovic, given Klopp overlooked his availability in January despite a paucity of options out wide.
While moving to the KC Stadium gives him a better chance of proving himself to the Liverpool manager, Pearce believes Markovic “faces an uphill battle to force his way into Klopp’s plans.”
“The Serb failed to impress Klopp during pre-season last summer,” he explained.
“I wouldn’t say the door is shut but he’s up against it. He’s got three months at Hull to change the manager’s opinion.”
The writing should be on the wall for Flanagan, but there is a case to suggest both Ward and Markovic should come into contention next season—particularly if the Reds qualify for Europe.
But Pearce’s view could well be telling, and it would be no surprise to see at least two of the three moved on in the summer.
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