Keep, sell, loan: Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool squad assessed amidst Premier League struggles

  • Kobe Tong
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Liverpool are licking their wounds after losing their Anfield unbeaten record.

Over 1,300 days of wins and draws on Merseyside were wiped out by Burnley's historic win last week, raising serious questions about Liverpool's credentials as Premier League title challengers.

Besides, it wasn't as though the Burnley defeat was an anomalous result with Liverpool still awaiting their first league win of the year after going four consecutive games without scoring.

Liverpool's Premier League struggles

And with Manchester United rubbing salt into their wounds by dumping them out of the FA Cup, there's been a real need for introspection within Jurgen Klopp's camp over the last few days.

As a result, we wanted to inspect how Liverpool could potentially arrest their mid-season slump by taking a closer look at their first-team squad for 2020/21 and where they should go from here.

We've taken each and every player and decided whether Liverpool should keep, sell or loan them over the course of 2021.

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Verdict on Liverpool squad

Many of the decisions were obvious, but others were incredibly tough, so keep scrolling to see our verdict on how Liverpool should manage their squad to return to Premier League dominance.

Goalkeepers

Alisson Becker - keep

Adrian - sell

Caoimhin Kelleher - keep

I think we can all agree that Alisson is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and that Kelleher has now established himself as the best number two option at Anfield.

I was unsure about Liverpool's move for Adrian from day dot and after conceding nine goals in his two Premier League appearances this season, it's fair to say that my opinion hasn't changed.

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Defenders

Virgil van Dijk - keep

Joe Gomez - keep

Konstantinos Tsimikas - keep

Andrew Robertson - keep

Joel Matip - keep

Rhys Williams - keep

Nathaniel Phillips - loan

Neco Williams - loan

Trent Alexander-Arnold - keep

Sepp van den Berg - loan

If you're thinking I've been rather generous here, then you're probably not wrong, but considering this season has exposed Liverpool's back of depth in defence, they don't have the players to lose.

Nevertheless, I think that Phillips, N.Williams and Van den Berg need minutes elsewhere as the weakest links in Liverpool's youngsters, while R.Williams and Tsimikas should stick around as solid back-up options.

Other than that, the trio of Van Dijk, Matip and Gomez are some of the Premier League's best defenders on their day, while Robertson and Alexander-Arnold's track records speak for themselves.

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Midfielders

Fabinho - keep

Georginio Wijnaldum - keep

Thiago Alcantara - keep

James Milner - keep

Naby Keita - sell

Jordan Henderson - keep

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - sell

Curtis Jones - keep

Xherdan Shaqiri - sell

Ben Woodburn - sell

Here's where things become a little cluttered and frankly, Liverpool need to be a far more ruthless than they've been in recent years because many of their signings simply aren't kicking on.

In my opinion, the likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri and Keita have been given more than enough time to prove themselves at Anfield without ever really string together consistent form.

As a result, the time could be nigh for Liverpool to get as much money from them as possible, while also doing everything in their power to ensure that Wijnaldum doesn't wriggle out of their grasp.

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Forwards

Roberto Firmino - sell

Sadio Mane - keep

Mohamed Salah - keep

Takumi Minamino - keep

Diogo Jota - keep

Divock Origi - sell

As much as some Liverpool fans might tell you that cashing in one Mane and Salah wouldn't be the worst idea in the world as they approach their 30 birthdays, I'm inclined to think that it's Firmino who should bite the bullet.

Yes, we know he brings more to Liverpool than goals, but with his scoring statistics and general form falling through the floor, the Merseyside club should cash in while his transfer value, currently standing at £64.80 million, is still high.

Other than that, I think Minamino deserves more time given Klopp's hesitant deployment of him and it's long overdue that Liverpool ditch the sentimentality with Origi because he simply isn't up to scratch.

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Liverpool squad changes needed

For a team that romped its way to more than 95 points for two Premier League seasons on the bounce, it's amazing to see how much deadwood has accumulated in their first-team squad.

And it couldn't have been more apparent than in the Burnley defeat with the likes of Shaqiri and Origi cutting shadows of the Liverpool attacks that won them their first Premier League title.

Sadly for Kopites, Liverpool don't quite have the financial resources of the Manchester clubs, but they could do much worse than instigating some spring-cleaning ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.

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As much as I would love to be proven wrong, it's hard to look at the current Liverpool squad and think that they can dominate the Premier League in the way they did during 2018/19 and 2019/20.

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