There is the distinct possibility that many of those in the famous red shirt of Liverpool will not be wearing it for very much longer.
Jurgen Klopp has had to put up with the Brendan Rodgers signings, and come the summer he will be wielding the biggest seen on Merseyside. Club owners, Fenway Sports Group, have already dropped hint after hint that they will back Klopp this summer, and Liverpool look likely to be one of the big spenders before the new season starts.
Many of the players are not truly Liverpool quality, and despite the £millions that Rodgers saw spent, very little has been achieved in recent years. It is true to say that Klopp will need a full season with his own players before he can be really judged as a manager at Anfield and that means a summer clear out of some real deadwood.
Fringe players will feel the sharp blade of Klopp’s scythe, as will notable first team names. Do not be surprised when a P45 are dished out to Martin Skrtel for a start. He once seemed to be an integral, but better players have taken over his role and the 31-year-old Slovakian is rapidly sliding down the pecking order.
Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren appear to be forming a promising partnership at the back and a flurry of tweets during the game at Southampton made it quite clear how the fans feel about the player they once loved. Furthermore, Joel Matip will arrive in the summer, and should slot into the heart of the Liverpool defence, so that is likely to mean the end for Skrtel.
Joe Allen is entering the final 12 months of his contract, but Liverpool have not made any attempt to renew his terms, while the position of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet – who was culpable for the goal Fernandinho scored for Manchester City at Wembley in the League Cup Final – is under threat.
Those who will definitely be leaving in the summer include Kolo Toure and Joao Teixeira, both of whom are out of contract.
One player that Liverpool will keep, despite a lengthy injury lay-off, is their very own Jon Flanagan. Klopp played a big part in deciding to award the defender a new three year deal recently and it will show other homegrown talent that there is a path to the first team.
Another that will almost definitely become a casualty in the new era is the shell of a player, Christian Benteke. The problem with not scoring is that those that come in and take your place and can score will keep you out. Diviock Origi is ahead of Benteke and Daniel Sturridge is still Liverpool’s number one choice. Roberto Firmino has also been preferred to Benteke when leading the line, so it seems that it’s goodbye to the Belgian.
Lucas is another name who will likely be heading out of the door. The Brazilian almost left last summer and was linked with moves to West Ham and clubs in Italy, but this summer will surely see this player leave through what will become the Anfield revolving door.
left-back Jose Enrique is almost certainly also on his way out as Klopp starts to rebuild his defence – the German is reportedly eyeing a number of European targets in a bid to strengthen his back line. Talking of the backline, it is also clear that second choice ‘keeper, Adam Bogdan, is on his way out, as Klopp eyes a goalie to push Mingolet next season.
Writing in the Belfast Telegraph, former Reds favourite, Ronnie Whelan summed up the situation brilliantly: “It’s the players. They are not and haven’t been good enough for a long, long time. Successive ownership regimes and managers have built several teams since the turn of the century and each one shared a brittle quality and a scarcity of true super-stars. Klopp has arrived and is dealing with that legacy. He has no super-stars and he cannot rely on his players to delivery consistency.”
Damning, but true.
Liverpool need to become a serious force in the Premier League and in Europe, where domination used to be theirs. It will take money, it will take an inspirational and tactically aware manager and it will take time. Liverpool have two of the three, but like every other manager, Klopp will need to produce results almost instantly. That’s the way it is nowadays.
Exciting times for the Anfield club lay ahead and a feeling of renewed hope that will replace the restlessness that has settled over the fans in recent years can already be felt. There’s no point in looking back to what was, it’s instead better to look forward, and when you consider that on the Klopp shopping list are players like Mario Gotze, among others, then there appears much to anticipate in the coming months.