The appointment of Jurgen Klopp has come at a convenient time. The new manager will have over two months to assess his squad and take stock of what he wants and what he doesn’t want before rifling through the transfer market to find the men who can take the club in the direction the new man wants to see it go in.
January could be a very busy month for Klopp, but it’s more likely that he’ll have to wait for the summer for significant changes. Liverpool made lots of new signings in the summer, and players like Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino – if they hit top form – are players who any top coach could work with.
On top of that, players like Jordan Henderson and James Milner will provide a spine of the team that knows English football and who will always give 100% to the cause.
But within the ranks, there are surely some deadwood players who Klopp could be getting rid of in order to bring something new into the club. Once he assesses the squad and looks to bring it on to a new direction, here are five players he might look to axe in January…
The Ivorian has been a major fixture in the Premier League since his arrival at Arsenal back in 2002. But Toure is now 34, and although his experience around the dressing room might count for something, Liverpool’s defence has been the main area with Brendan Rodgers failed at the club.
It’s time for some new blood at the back, and Klopp will have to make room in his squad for a few new defenders who will fit into whatever organisational structure he wishes to impose. The likeable Ivorian might bear the brunt of that, and the song might not be enough to save him!
With Liverpool’s defence looking ropey, Jurgen Klopp needs a man who can anchor the midfield and protect the defenders. But in his entire inherited squad, the only man who is capable of playing that role is Lucas Leiva.
Since the start of the season, Brendan Rodgers has seen this too, and the Brazilian who looked like he was on his way out of the club in the summer has become a fixture in the team.
But given the fragility at the back, this is a very important role, and one that Klopp needs to get right. Lucas will probably be one of the players he observes initially and gives a chance to take the mantle, but if Lucas doesn’t take the chance, Klopp will need to find someone else to perform the role.
Probably the poster boy for Brendan Rodgers’ failings as Liverpool manager ever since the sale of Luis Suarez, Lovren has looked like a liability in the centre of defence every time he has played for Liverpool.
One of Brendan Rodgers’ raids from Southampton, the Croatian was a member of one of the meanest defences in the league. But at Liverpool, some comedy defending has infuriated Liverpool fans and they turned their anger on Rodgers. Lovren wasn’t able to repay his former manager for the faith he showed in him, and given Klopp’s main task is sorting out the defence, the German coach may not fancy putting his faith in him too.
Signed almost on the back of his impactful performances at the World Cup in Brazil, the Belgian starlet went back to old club Lille on loan, but his performances weren’t great.
He was part of a struggling team in France, but he himself was booed off the pitch by the Lille fans after missing a penalty against Wolfsburg in the Europa League.
His return to Liverpool hasn’t seen him hit the heights we thought he might hit, and although the new manager might give him a new lease of life, if he doesn’t make an impact before January he might see himself shipped out once again in order to make room for a new signing Klopp might have in mind.
Targeted by Liverpool goalkeeping legend Bruce Grobbelaar last season as the reason Liverpool were struggling, Mignolet is a sometimes erratic goalkeeper who lives very much on the edge.
His on the edge style sees him make some remarkable saves, but it also sees him let in goals that look soft, mess up clearances and come for crosses he has no chance of claiming.
If Klopp wants to make an impact on a defence that has been failing for years, he should start with a commanding goalkeeper who can instill confidence in his backline. Simon Mignolet is not that goalkeeper.