Five players who could leave Liverpool in the summer
With the end of the season looming larger, players bereft of first team action with little hope of getting a sustained run of games may begin to look towards pastures new. That may well be the case for several players at Liverpool, with a few names surely wondering if their futures lie away from Anfield. I take a look at five of Brendan Rodgers’ current squad who could well begin the 2015/16 season at a new club.
In nine years at Middlesbrough, the Australian goalkeeper had no fewer than six loan spells, with fellow countryman Mark Schwarzer the first-choice keeper on Teeside for most of that time. It was something of a surprise when Liverpool came calling in 2010, although he has lasted much longer at the club than almost all of Roy Hodgson’s signings. Jones has only played 11 league games in four and a half seasons at Anfield and even when he looked set for a long-overdue run of games after Simon Mignolet was dropped in December, his bad luck struck again with the injury he picked up at Burnley on Boxing Day.
That led to a hurried return to the team for Mignolet, who simply hasn’t looked back. The Belgian has been sensational since that brief pre-Christmas spell on the bench and, barring a catastrophe, he will literally be the first name on the team sheet for the foreseeable future. Jones could be forgiven for wishing to try his luck elsewhere from the summer onwards.
After four impressive seasons at Newcastle, the Spanish left-back seemed a shrewd signing by Kenny Dalglish when he was brought to Liverpool in 2011. He had a positive opening couple of seasons at Anfield, but in autumn 2013 disaster struck for Enrique when a knee injury required surgery that would sideline him for the remainder of the season, causing him to miss out on the Reds’ title challenge. Liverpool’s defensive frailties, particularly in the final few weeks of the season, may have been lessened had Enrique been available.
Despite his consistent performances in a red shirt, the arrivals last summer of Javier Manquillo and Alberto Moreno added to competition for wing-back positions and a fit-again Enrique has found game time hard to come by, with just four Premier League outings this season. The evolution of Liverpool’s thus far successful 3-4-3 has made it even more unlikely that the Spaniard will have a long-term presence in the first team, so he may decide to move on for a new challenge in the coming months. If he does, he can be sure of a very warm reception if he was to return to Anfield in opposition colours.
The German-born forward of Turkish descent was among the first wave of Brendan Rodgers signings in the summer of 2012, joining from Bayer Leverkusen as a teenager with a promising reputation, but it has certainly not been a dream transfer for Yesil. While fellow youngsters like Andre Wisdom and Oussama Assaidi were given opportunities to show their worth, he was limited to just two Capital One Cup outings and, more than two years later, they remain his only appearances in the Liverpool first team, even allowing for an eight-month injury layoff in 2013.
Yesil wasn’t even considered for a place in the matchday squad when Liverpool’s striking difficulties were laid bare in the opening weeks of this season. He clearly has no place in Rodgers’ plans and it seems a pity that he will surely leave Merseyside in the summer without being given a fleeting chance to prove himself. Then again, you might wonder if he was ever going to make it at Liverpool, seeing as he was consistently overlooked.
Another one of Rodgers’ initial signings at Liverpool, the Italian managed a scoring return of just two goals in 20 games in his first season at Anfield. After Daniel Sturridge had begun to form a lethal partnership with Luis Suarez in the opening months of 2013, Borini joined Sunderland on loan for a season and was one of the Black Cats’ most impressive players as they pulled off an unlikely escape from relegation. Gus Poyet attempted to sign him permanently and Liverpool accepted a £14million bid, but Borini chose to stay and fight for his place on Merseyside.
Injury to Sturridge and the poor form of other strikers presented him with the perfect chance to make an impression, but he has been unable to seize upon that opportunity and with Sturridge now back in the side, Borini is not going to feature regularly for Liverpool. His confidence in rejecting that move to Sunderland is admirable, but unfortunately for him it seems to have been a misguided decision. If a club comes in for Borini this summer, the Italian isn’t likely to turn down their advances this time.
The story of the veteran striker is a heart-warming one after he made his way from the lower reaches of English football to get a crack at the Premier League in 2012 before going on to sign, at 32, for the club he supported as a boy. It had all the hallmarks of a romantic tale, although it hasn’t worked out quite as Lambert might have envisaged. With Rodgers generally preferring players who contribute to a fast-moving tactical system, the penalty box predator nature of Lambert didn’t seem like a perfect fit and so it has proven.
Even with Daniel Sturridge’s injury and Mario Balotelli’s woeful lack of form, the ex-Southampton man hasn’t made a place in the starting 11 his own. Just three goals in 28 appearances this season isn’t the return that many would have expected from Lambert at this stage of the campaign and the fact that a loan move to Aston Villa in January was a possibility did not reflect well on his prospects at Liverpool. Unfortunately, like Iago Aspas in the number nine shirt before him, he may find his time as a Liverpool player restricted to just one disappointing season.
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