Wednesday 23 August 2017

Seven underperforming Liverpool stars who are heading for the exit door this summer

Mark Critchley

Liverpool’s struggles since the turn of the year have set the spotlight on Jürgen Klopp’s squad, which some claim is not strong enough to compete for major trophies.

The former Borussia Dortmund manager is known for standing by his players, and he rarely admits that any of them, even those who are out-of-favour, could leave.

Such loyalty is admirable, but he will know that changes must be made come the summer, or next season may unravel in the same manner as this one.

Read more: Zlatan Ibrahimovic's unusual football boot decision is costing him millions of pounds

Here are seven stars who are playing for their futures between now and the end of the season.

Daniel Sturridge

An electric frontman just three years, Sturridge has now lost a bit of that spark, courtesy of his persistent injury problems. He could potentially still contribute if he easily slotted into Liverpool’s dynamic frontline, which was so effective in the early part of the season. Unfortunately, that unit appears to lose its balance once Sturridge is inserted into it.

Survival rating: 3/10

Alberto Moreno

Frozen out of the starting line-up since the opening day win at Arsenal, kept out of it by a makeshift left-back, Moreno is surely in line to depart this summer. Although he offers an obvious attacking threat, his lack of composure has cost Liverpool too many times in his short Anfield career.

Survival rating: 2/10

Simon Mignolet

He may have won his battle with Loris Karius for the starting spot between the sticks, but both may have lost the war. Neither have convinced when given an opportunity. Mignolet is simply the man in possession. There will be concern if that’s still the case come next season’s opening weekend.

Survival rating: 5/10

Emre Can

A player with undoubted potential, but one who has under-performed when called upon several time this season. His contractual situation is more pressing, however. Can’s current deal expires in the summer of 2018 and, with negotiations progressing slowly, Liverpool could be tempted to cash in.

Survival rating: 6/10

Lucas Leiva

A club stalwart, a fan favourite, but a player undoubtedly coming to the end of his time at Anfield. His contract expires this summer and a renewal would be one borne out of sentiment rather than sense.

Survival rating: 2/10

Ragnar Klavan

Brought in as a fourth-choice centre-back last summer, Klavan shot up the pecking order following Mamadou Sakho’s discipline issues. Joel Matip’s injury problems saw Klavan promoted further still and, though he has put in a handful of solid displays, others have been below-par. If a new centre-back arrives and Joe Gomez’s development continues apace, Klavan will be back on the fringes.

Survival rating: 7/10

Loris Karius

Like Mignolet, Karius' future will depend on whether Klopp decides to enter the market for a goalkeeper once again. If he does, last summer's signing from Mainz will have a long road back to the first team. He is young, though, and status as a relatively new signing could work in his favour.

Survival rating: 7/10

(© Independent News Service)

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