Thursday 21 November 2019

Raheem Sterling and Mario Balotelli among 10 players who could leave Anfield this summer

Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling

Liverpool could be set for a second squad shake-up in as many seasons with a number of players facing the Anfield exit following their below-par campaign.

Liverpool face an uphill task to qualify for the Champions League, with fourth-placed Manchester City currently seven points ahead of the Reds, while they suffered an early elimination in Europe and crashed out of the FA Cup in Sunday’s semi-final defeat to Aston Villa.

Manager Brendan Rodgers admitted that the performance at Wembley was a disappointing one, and looks set to shake things up given that a number of those brought in last summer have simply failed to perform to the required level at Anfield.

Steven Gerrard is already on his way out after 17 years of loyal service, but there could be as many as nine other players joining the club captain with a number of leading stars facing an uncertain future at the club.

Here, we take a look at those who could leave the club come the end of the season.

1. Steven Gerrard

The Liverpool captain is a certainty to leave this year as he has announced a move to Major League Soccer franchise LA Galaxy, following in the footsteps of his former England team-mate David Beckham and ex-Reds colleague Robbie Keane. Having made his Liverpool debut in 1998, the final Premier League game this season – against Stoke – will bring the curtain down on a tremendous career at Anfield.

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard looks dejected

2. Brad Jones

The goalkeeper situation at Liverpool is a tricky one, given that Rodgers elected to drop first-choice Simon Mignolet earlier in the season after his poor run of form up to Christmas. In came Brad Jones, but the back-up was far from convincing and suffered an injury which allowed Mignolet to return to the starting line-up and rekindle something of his best form. The club are believed to be actively searching for a goalkeeper to provide competition for Mignolet, which would likely spell the end of Jones’ five-year stay at Anfield.

Brad Jones is currently Liverpool's first-choice goalkeeper

3. Glen Johnson

The England defender has been hampered by injuries this season and has fallen down the pecking order on the international stage as a result. His current deal expires at the end of the season, and with no sign of a new offer coming his way – given his current £120,000-a-week wages – it looks as though the 30-year-old will be available for a free transfer in the summer.

Glen Johnson is out of contract in the summer

4. Kolo Toure

While Johnson is on his way out, Kolo Toure has the option of whether to stay at Anfield or move on. The club have offered him a new short-term contract with his current deal expiring in just over two months. However, while the Ivory Coast international mulls over his future, the belief is that he could hold the key in luring his brother Yaya Toure to the club should he leave Manchester City.

Liverpool defender Kolo Toure has a big decision to make about his future

5. Martin Skrtel

A third defender could be set for an exit with Martin Skrtel’s future far from clear. The Slovakian captain is yet to agree a new contract, and German club Wolfsburg have emerged as a possible suitor for the 30-year-old should he decide to leave the club in the summer.

Martin Skrtel2.jpg
Liverpool's Martin Skrtel clashes with Manchester United's David De Gea

6. Javier Manquillo

The Spanish full-back in currently on a season-long loan deal with the club from Spanish side Atletico Madrid, with the Reds holding an option to sign him on a permanent transfer in the summer. Having appeared both on the right and the left of defence as well as further forward in midfield, Manquillo has struggled to tie-down a permanent position in Rodgers’ side, and the club are unlikely to take-up the option to complete a permanent move for him, paving the way for him to move back to Madrid.

Bolton Wanderers' English midfielder Darren Pratley (L) vies with Liverpool's Spanish defender Javier Manquillo (R) during the FA Cup fourth round football match between Liverpool and Bolton Wanderers at Anfield

7. Raheem Sterling

Much has been made over the interest in Raheem Sterling given his refusal to sign a new £100,000-a-year contract with the club. Sterling has put off talks until the end of the season, but with two years remaining in his current deal, the club stress they will not be forced to sell this summer. That could change though should Manchester City or Chelsea come calling with a large offer, while European heavyweights Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and most recently Juventus are continuing to be linked with a move.

Liverpool's Raheem Sterling

8. Mario Balotelli

The Italian’s £16m move from AC Milan has been nothing short of a disaster, and he looks set to leave the club in the summer after just one season with the club. Balotelli has failed to find anything close to his best, and with Rodgers losing patience over the 24-year-old, who recently ruled himself out of two important matches in their hunt for a top-four finish, it appears his stay at the club will be brought to a premature end.

Mario Balotelli reacts after being caught by the studs belonging to Tom Cairney of Blackburn during the FA Cup Quarter Final match at Anfield

9. Rickie Lambert

Rickie Lambert arrived in the summer in a fairy-tale story that culminated a full circle, having been released by the club he supported when he was a young boy. With a relatively cheap £4m transfer fee from Southampton, Liverpool hinted that Lambert would never be the go-to striker, but even by those standards he has seen his opportunities significantly limited, and needs to leave the club in the summer if he is to make anything of the later years of his career.

Rickie Lambert has revealed a potential move to Aston Villa came 'at too short notice' for him to quit Liverpool

10. Fabio Borini

Another Italian striker who was determined to show Rodgers just what he was made of proved he couldn’t cut it at the club. Fabio Borini rejected a second loan spell with Sunderland in order to admirably fight for his place, but the return of Daniel Sturridge and Rodgers’ decision to push Sterling further forward limited Borini to brief cameos from the bench at best. The expectation is that he will join Balotelli and Lambert in being shipped on this summer.

Fabio Borini of Liverpool celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates

The one positive on the Liverpool front comes with reports that Jordan Henderson appears to have agreed a new long-term contract worth £100,000-a-week, with the expectation that the England international will take on the armband when Gerrard leaves.

However, Liverpool have refused to comment on the situation, although an unveiling of Henderson's new deal could go through at some point this week.

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