Despite Liverpool’s checkered season, with all the difficulties Jürgen Klopp’s men have faced in recent months, it was perhaps the two games against Real Madrid that showed the need for rebuilding between the starting eleven.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side was simply better in every department: sharper, sharper, more experienced, more balanced. Liverpool struggled to cope at times, and the second leg in the Spanish capital really rammed the magnitude of the task Klopp faced as Liverpool put in a lackluster performance.
In short, if Liverpool were a film franchise it would desperately need a major reboot.
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But to carry out a serious refresh will require players to be sold and hard decisions to be made: who stays and who goes? Letting go of players who have lost their contract, such as Roberto Firmino, James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, is simply not enough.
If Liverpool want to return to the top of the European and domestic game, Klopp will have to penalize big departures. Not only is that necessary to bring about a real remodel, it may also be necessary to collect transfer funds. And while some have said FSG has no obvious assets to sell to raise money, a look at the squad makes it clear that this is some kind of myth.
With that in mind, who could sell Liverpool to generate cash for FSG to use to strengthen the team?
The Cameroonian has been a great servant for Liverpool, but injuries are starting to take their toll on the 31-year-old. Matip will be 32 by the time next season gets underway, and with his contract due to expire in the summer of 2024, this summer would be Liverpool’s last chance to sign him and turn a profit. In addition, Matip’s form this season has been patchy at best, making him one of the more obvious selling candidates for FSG.
Another one who has had a mountain of injury problems. Gomez just doesn’t look the same player since his serious knee injury in 2020/21. Inconsistency has also been a major part of his game, with a good game followed by a terrible one. It seems he will struggle to ever be more than third or fourth choice, firmly behind Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konaté in the pecking order.
Perhaps it is best for all involved if he leaves this summer, ending an eight-year commitment. FSG is still only 25 and could probably bring in a decent transfer fee, one that could be reinvested.
Okay, so this is by far the most radical name on the list, and by far the least likely. But it’s a discussion that’s at least worth having.
The Liverpool captain has been at the center of midfield for over a decade, but time waits for no one. He’ll be 33 soon and midfield will forever be a place for youngsters (unless you’ve got a skill like Thiago Alcântara, which Henderson doesn’t have), and some would say he’s already being gently removed from the starting eleven by Klopp.
Hard as the decision would be, this summer would be the perfect time to say goodbye to one of Liverpool’s greatest servants. Any decent transfer fee would be a welcome bonus for FSG, but this one is really about making the restart easier.
The Portuguese striker has pretty much missed the entire season this season, but the reality is that there are levels in football, and while Jota is a very good footballer, he hasn’t necessarily been able to prove he can reach the very top echelons yet. In addition, he is one of the few players Liverpool could sell to earn a substantial return on their $48m (£45m/€48m) initial investment, all without necessarily missing him straight from the ground up .
With Cody Gakpo, Darwin Núñez, Luis Díaz and Mohamed Salah all ahead, Jota will see few opportunities next season. With his contract not due to expire until the summer of 2027, Liverpool are in a position to demand a top rate for Jota, and this could in turn be invested back into the market by FSG. Another cheeky call, but some would argue that’s what’s needed.
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