This will be a decisive summer for Liverpool, after a campaign that could prove one to forget. So who should stay and who should be moved on?
Out of the FA Cup, out of the Carabao Cup, 10th in the Premier League.
With 18 games to go in the league and 11 points separating them and the top four, it may well be that a Champions League last-16 tie against Real Madrid represents Liverpool’s only hope of salvaging 2022/23.
It is a miserable reality, but one that – scrambling for a silver lining – could prompt the squad overhaul that has perhaps been necessary for a while now.
With six players out of contract and two regular starters entering their final 12 months at the end of the season, as well as question marks over a number of others, a revamp could be in the offing.
Here, we take a look at which players should stay and who should leave.
For all the talk of this being a squad that’s over the hill, there is a growing core of players who can be considered ones for both now and for the future.
Liverpool have moved to bring in Ibrahima Konate, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz, Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez on big-money deals in recent years and they resemble key figures moving forwards.
So, too, do some of those players who have been first-choice starters throughout the successful years under Jurgen Klopp so far, namely Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.
Robertson’s role may reduce as the seasons go by, with the Scot turning 29 in March, but he remains a vital player and one of the best left-backs in Europe.
If possible, Liverpool should look to retain the services of Caoimhin Kelleher, as long-term successor to Alisson as well as a valuable homegrown player alongside Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott.
Calvin Ramsay is yet to get going following his move from Aberdeen last summer, but he was clearly a project signing who will be given time to develop.
Then there are the youngsters that Klopp and his staff can build around, with Stefan Bajcetic now chief among those.
It is, naturally, harder to predict who will step up on a permanent basis, but Ben Doak has shown strong signs early on and there are high hopes for Bobby Clark and Kaide Gordon.
Marcelo Pitaluga and Harvey Davies could provide homegrown goalkeeping options and are being trained from a young age to suit the style required.
Of those returning from loan spell this summer, Tyler Morton seems the most likely to take up a first-team spot.
Kept as part of the transition
While the temptation, at least among frustrated supporters, would be to conduct an almighty clearout in the summer, the reality is that some players remain important for a club in transition.
Virgil van Dijk, Thiago and Mohamed Salah are all into their 30s, for example, but are still deserved first-choice starters.
A decision will need to be made over Thiago‘s future as early as this summer, with the Spaniard heading into the final year of his contract.
By the end of next season, he will be 33, while Van Dijk and Salah hit that age before their deals are up a year later – that may be the right point to part ways, at least with Thiago and Salah.
Similar could be said of Fabinho, though any commitment to the Brazilian, who is contracted until 2026, would depend on the ability to revive his fortunes after a worrying decline.
When it comes to younger squad players, their short-term futures should remain at Anfield with calls to be made if no progress is made.
Falling into that bracket are Joe Gomez, who is tied down until 2027 when he will be 30, and Kostas Tsimikas, whose terms are up in 2025, when he will be 29.
A stuttering start from Fabio Carvalho could even see the young Portuguese fail to establish himself as a long-term option.
Available to leave
After a uniquely challenging season that could very realistically see Liverpool finish mid-table in the Premier League, tough decisions will need to be made.
That should include an appraisal of Jordan Henderson‘s position, with his waning influence on the pitch a major concern given he signed a new four-year contract in 2021 – he will be 35 when it’s up.
Joel Matip, meanwhile, is in the same situation as Thiago, facing the prospect of being sold this summer or handed an extension to a deal that expires in 2024.
By then, he will be a month away from his 33rd birthday, and he is not the durable option that Van Dijk could resemble moving forwards.
Six players are already at a crossroads as their contracts expire in July, with it making sense that Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adrian and Arthur move on.
There will be more consideration when it comes to James Milner and Roberto Firmino, and it could be that the head overrides the heart this time around.
Beyond that, it seems likely that long-serving emergency centre-backs Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams are both granted permanent moves.
Sepp van den Berg and Leighton Clarkson could also be allowed to depart for sizeable fees after their loan spells at Schalke and Aberdeen.
Who stays and who goes?
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