With the January transfer window now closed, Brendan Rodgers has the best part of six months to decide who does and who doesn’t have a future in his Liverpool squad, before the market re-opens in July.
It’s been a season of holistic recruitment for the Reds, particularly during a summer in which they went on a club-record £110million spending spree, but resultantly, there’s now plenty of deadwood stockpiling around Anfield that’s essentially surplus to requirements.
With that in mind, and to help Rodgers separate the wheat from the chaff, we’ve listed the FIVE players we think should be thrown on the transfer scrapheap in the summer.
So, without further ado, click below to reveal all.
Despite a significant upturn in form after finding himself dropped for ‘an indefinite period’ in mid-December, the hap-hazard Simon Mignolet is still some way below the level of quality Liverpool require between the sticks if they’re to become Champions League regulars.
He’s made less saves than Man City’s Joe Hart, Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris, Southampton’s Fraser Forster, Man United’s David De Gea and West Ham’s Adriyan this term with just 38 from 23 appearances and committed the joint-third-most defensive errors of any Premier League player, with three.
A particularly expansive side that’s conceded, on average, 1.2 goals per game since Brendan Rodgers took the Anfield helm in summer 2012, the Reds require a top class goalkeeper more than most – and unfortunately, that’s just not Mignolet.
An upgrade is essential to the Liverpool’s European ambitions, and in my opinion, they should resultantly move for Chelsea’s Petr Cech this summer.
Fabio Borini’s determination to fight for his place at Anfield is certainly commendable, but after rejecting summer deadline moves to Sunderland and QPR, the Italian forward is clearly being ostracised by Brendan Rodgers.
That may seem harsh but the Liverpool gaffer is well within his rights to do so; although the 23 year-old remains an impressive young prospect, he’s nowhere near the calibre of player that should be representing the Merseysiders at this moment in time.
He’s managed 16 appearances this season, so it’s not as if Borini hasn’t been given enough chances, but contributing just the one goal, the former Chelsea youngster’s Anfield career has almost certainly run its course.
A spare part lacking purpose, although back-up full-back is an arduous, unglamorous role in most Premier League squads, there seems little point in having it filled by 29 year-old Jose Enrique when academy product Jon Flanagan is such an impressive young talent.
The once-capped England international has been absent through injury this season after undoing knee surgery in September and spending the months since recovering – perhaps explaining why Enrique’s rumoured loan move to Crystal Palace never materialised on January deadline day.
But the 22 year-old Flanagan demonstrated last season, as he averaged 2.6 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per match whilst emerging as a surprise regular in Liverpool’s title bid, that he has more than enough quality to be Alberto Moreno’s long-term understudy at left-back.
Enrique, on the other hand, has been awarded a rating of just 6.34 from Whoscored.com for his 203 minutes’ worth of Premier League action this term. With just a year remaining on the Spaniard’s contract come the summer, it’s undoubtedly time for the Reds to sell.
The relentless manner in which criticism has been thrown Mario Balotelli’s way this season has resembled a lynch mob at times – in its populist, sensationalist and hyperbolic scape-goating – but the Italian international remains worryingly alien to the industrious and fluid brand of attacking football that came to define Liverpool last season.
We always knew Brendan Rodgers’ £16million summer move for the 24 year-old was a massive gamble, after leaving Inter Milan, Manchester City and AC Milan on rather sour terms, and it’s clearly not paid off, with Balotelli scoring just three goals throughout his Anfield career thus far, spanning 19 appearances.
Although his form could improve next season, it’s not a risk Liverpool need to take. The longer he struggles for the Reds, the less of the club’s original investment will be recovered – so if the Merseysiders are approached with a decent offer for Balotelli this summer, they’d be wise to sell.
For a footballer once described as Wales’ answer to three-time Champions League winner Xavi, there’s isn’t half something worryingly generic about Joe Allen.
The former Swansea midfielder possesses an impressive engine and sound technical ability, but it’s undermined by an eternally passive mentality that often results in Allen having very little impact on the match itself.
He prefers to move the ball sideways more than forward, for example, and has averaged just 0.6 chances created per match this season – exceptionally low for a central midfielder – which makes his persistent retention of possession rather futile.
A few years ago, the Wales international’s weaknesses were accepted. But he’s now 24 and amid his three terms on Merseyside, has rarely looked like a Liverpool-standard player.
Despite originally costing the club £15million, midfielders of Allen’s variety are ten-a-penny; with Steven Gerrard leaving for the MLS at the end of the season however, something tells me the Welsh playmaker’s Anfield stay will be extended past the summer.