FIVE players who could be axed by Liverpool in January

The January transfer window has never been an ideal time to buy, but it represents an important opportunity for Premier League clubs to offload some of their deadwood.

That’s something Brendan Rodgers should bear in mind as we approach the winter window – his Liverpool squad, although designed to cope with the added burdens of Champions League football this season, includes a number of players that are quite frankly surplus to requirements.

With that in mind, here’s a list of FIVE players the Reds could axe in the New Year; some have contracts winding down, others were expected to leave during the summer and a few have simply outlasted their relevance on Merseyside.

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GLEN JOHNSON

Glen Johnson
Hot off the press this morning, England international Glen Johnson has admitted his Liverpool career could soon be coming to an end:

With his current deal set to expire at the end of the season, the 30 year-old is yet to sign the one-year contract extension offered to him during the summer. Upon the turn of 2015, he’ll be allowed to talk to foreign clubs regarding a bosman move.

The right-back’s experience and continuity could soon prove vital for a chaotic Reds defence that currently has the fifth-worst goals conceded column in the Premier League as he returns from a six-week injury lay-off, having featured as a substitute against West Brom last weekend.

But Rodgers will be keen to get a return on the former West Ham, Chelsea and Portsmouth star rather than risk losing him for free. Likewise, he now has youngsters Javier Manquillo and John Flanagan waiting in the wings.

Liverpool fans won’t mind too much either – this was their reaction when Brendan Rodgers ruled Johnson out injured back in August:

FABIO BORINI

Fabio Borini
Fabio Borini was widely expected to leave Anfield this summer, with Liverpool accepting a £14million bid from Sunderland after the Italian claimed ten goals on loan at the Stadium of Light last season.

The highlight of his Black Cats stay was this sensational strike in the Tyne-Wear derby:

But the 23 year-old reject Sunderland’s advances, in addition to interest from QPR on deadline day, instead using Twitter to profess his manhood to the world and desire to fight for his place on Merseyside:

Brendan Rodgers has issued Borini three outings already this season but with Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Daniel Sturridge to contend with in the pecking order, clearly he’ll never be luxury to more than a bit-part role.

Sunderland and QPR appear to have lost interest but Inter Milan are reportedly eying a January loan swoop for the former Parma and Roma ace:

The Reds however, would likely prefer a permanent departure.

LUCAS LEIVA

Lucas Leiva (Liverpool)
Another fringe player expected to leave during the summer – Lucas Leiva spent the off-season being heavily linked with Rafa Benitez’ Napoli:

That was ruled out however in the latter stages of the transfer window, as the former Liverpool boss declared there would be no more arrivals in Naples.

The tough-tackling Brazilian hasn’t seen too much action since; in fact, Brendan Rodgers has issued him just two starts in all competitions this season. His performances have been largely ineffective too – against West Ham the 27 year-old was dragged off at half time with the Reds already 2-1 down.

Jamie Carragher believes Leiva struggles to play alongside Steven Gerrard in midfield – a sure-fire way to bring any Anfield career to an abrupt close.

Thus, a January departure looks incredibly likely, and recent speculation suggests the midfielder could be offered to Napoli again, in a bid to bring Gonzalo Higuain to Merseyside.

Here’s a look at the Argentina international’s top ten goals:

SUSO

Suso (Liverpool) Brendan Rodgers is clearly fond of Spanish playmaker Suso. The 20 year-old impressed in a cameo role during the Ulsterman’s first season at Anfield, and Rodgers recently revealed the midfielder was in his thoughts ahead of the Merseyside derby. He also bagged this tasty strike against Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup back in September:

But a lot changed on Merseyside whilst Suso spent the 2013/14 campaign on loan to Almeria, and the Spain U21 has since struggled to break into Liverpool’s first team. Here’s the highlights of his stay with the Spanish side:

Furthermore, the attacking midfielder’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season, suggesting Brendan Rodgers will feel compelled to sell Suso on unless he’s featuring more regularly at senior level.

That task will be made even harder with the youngster sidelined for the next two months due to a groin injury:

There are rumours however that his Anfield exit has already been masterminded; Sky Sports Italia claim Suso has agreed terms regarding a pre-contract move to Inter Milan.

JOSE ENRIQUE

Liverpool v Middlesbrough - Capital One Cup Third Round Jose Enrique has only just come back from a year-long injury lay-off, and amid the absences of Glen Johnson and John Flanagan, has provided vital depth at left-back this season.

But the Spaniard is a little behind the standard you’d expect from a Champions League side, and after snapping up Alberto Moreno this summer, will unlikely return to the status of first choice No.3 any time soon at Anfield.

There’s still two years left on his current contract but Liverpool would be prepared to sell in January if they’re approached with a reasonable offer.

Some reports already suggest this, with La Liga side Villarreal emerging as potential suitors:

The left-back slot is also deputised by Mamadou Sakho and Emre Can, so the Anfield side won’t be left short if Enrique is let go in the new year. Here’s a look at the 28 year-old in action:

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