Keep, sell or loan: What’s next for the 5 Liverpool players on the fringes of Klopp’s first team

After a near full season in charge in 2015-2016 the majority of Liverpool supporters expected Jurgen Klopp to go into full transfer mode last summer.

What they got instead was a clearly intensively planned series of moves – a mix of big money on high profile signings and shrewd spending on relatively unknown talents.

Sadio Mane is the biggest example of where that has gone well for Klopp and Georginio Wijnaldum has enjoyed more good moments than bad at Anfield, while the free signing of Joel Matip has to be considered one of the deals of the season.

Once again this summer Klopp is expected to splash the cash to once again move the Reds up the Premier League ladder, but it’s not just incomings that have question marks over their heads.

Liverpool, for all their quality in the starting XI, have one of the more concerning squads in the top echelons of the English game. It’s clear that some improvement is needed, but which players should be fearful of their place at the Merseyside club, and what should Klopp do with them?

Alberto Moreno

Alberto Moreno’s efforts for Liverpool haven’t exactly endeared the Spaniard to the club’s supporters in the last few seasons with the left-back failing to show any sign of defensive nous.

There were cries for Jurgen Klopp to sign a new left-back last summer, which were quickly followed by looks of concern when the new campaign rolled around and still one hadn’t been recruited.

Any hope that Moreno had seriously improved in the off-season (from only the most optimistic of Liverpool fan) was quickly dashed in the opening game of the season – another horror show despite a 4-3 win over Arsenal.

Midfielder James Milner (yes, that James Milner) has filled in since and, while Klopp continues to talk positively about Moreno, the writing is on the wall for his Anfield future.

Verdict: Sell – right now. He should have already been sold. Just sell him.

Ragnar Klavan

Klavan wasn’t the glamorous signing many supporters would have been expecting in Klopp’s first summer in charge at Liverpool but the Estonian has proven himself to be a worthy addition.

Although Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren are clearly the Reds’ preferred centre-back pairing Klavan has established himself as a more than worthy back-up when he is needed, playing 19 times in the Premier League this season.

The 31-year-old combines no-nonsense defending with the modern passing philosophy, with Klavan holding the best passing accuracy at Liverpool out of the regular first team squad (89%).

A reported £4.2m fee was decent business by the Merseyside outfit in the summer and, while Klavan isn’t a starting XI player, keeping the centre-back at the club is definitely the best option.

Verdict: Keep. Klavan may not be world-class but he’s proven he is a reliable back up when required, and brings experience to the defence.

Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge’s time at Liverpool looks a little like this: goal, injury, goal, injury, injury, goal, injury, injury…you get the idea.

When Sturridge is actually scoring there’s almost an acceptance of his ill-fated fitness record – you take the good with the bad. But while the England international looked a brilliant investment in his first 18 months, the three seasons that have followed have only brought frustration.

Comments in Steven Gerrard’s autobiography about Sturridge only wanting to play when he felt 100% indicated that the striker wasn’t willing to take a risk for the team – something that only further exasperated his failing relationship with the supporters.

When he’s good, he’s very good – but in the last few years Sturridge has flopped from one problem to another, so much so that it appears Klopp doesn’t trust him to play regularly.

It’s time for a fresh start for both club and player.

Verdict: Sell. Liverpool fans are finally sick of Sturridge and his injuries and any offer to take his wages off of the bill should be seriously considered.

Lucas Leiva

Six months ago it seemed like Lucas was ready to leave Liverpool with the experienced Brazilian struggling for game time, but the midfielder has been gifted another chance in the starting XI thanks to injuries to the likes of Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana.

The 30-year-old has grasped that opportunity with both hands, reminding the club of his passion and displaying his composure in both defence and midfield.

Lucas is easily the Reds’ longest serving player and the storybook ending now would be for him to remain at Anfield for the rest of his career. Klopp did indicate in January that his time at Liverpool may be drawing to a close.

Lucas clearly still has the ability to play for Liverpool so if he wants to remain at the club, Klopp should keep him. But if the player is ready for another challenge then his decade of loyalty show see them let him go.

Verdict: Keep – so long as Lucas actually wants to stay. Such a loyal servant deserves a say in his own future.

Loris Karius

When Liverpool announced the signing of Loris Karius last year many fans cheered, believing it signalled the end of the inconsistent Simon Mignolet in goal.

However, fast forward to the final weeks of the season, and it is Karius who finds himself on the bench having only played ten Premier League matches, while his Belgian counterpart is in the team and being lauded for big saves.

At only 23-years-old Karius still has plenty of time to develop and live up to his potential though and it seems likely that the German will be utilised in pre-season, and given the chance to reclaim the No.1 jersey again.

Keeping Karius seems the best option for his confidence, unless Klopp has made adding a top goalkeeper a priority this summer. In which case it makes more sense to allow Karius a season loan at another English side while Mignolet plays back-up to the new signing.

Verdict: Keep unless a top quality goalkeeper is signed in the summer. In which case look to secure a season loan, preferably with a Premier League club.