Liverpool went into their Champions League away tie against Manchester City on Tuesday with all the confidence in the world. They had won their last five Premier League games, sealed a 100 percent record in the Champions League, and had scored 24 goals in their last six Premier League games. They were on the verge of a third consecutive FA Cup triumph and had just created their first back-to-back top-three finishes in the Premier League since 2009. Most Liverpool fans would have been expecting a comfortable win.
As 2018 draws to a close, Liverpool’s winning streak seems to be on the up, as their three-game winning streak was set to end against Wolves. However, an unlikely source scored the winner deep into injury time to ensure Jurgen Klopps side would go into 2019 with a victory. Mohamed Salah, Naby Keita, and Oussama Assaidi all scored in the game, as did fellow attacker Adrian, who unfortunately failed to score himself.
The Premier League race for the title is tighter than it has been for years, with Liverpool, Chelsea and the rest all pushing for a top four finish. This weekend, there is a massive game to play, with Liverpool facing the might of Manchester City in a battle that could determine who will take the title.. Read more about liverpool fc and let us know what you think.
- Mark Ogden.
- James Tyler
Close Editor-in-Chief, ESPN FC James Tyler is the football editor of ESPN. Liverpool closed out a turbulent defence of their first Premier League title by qualifying for the Champions League on the final weekend of the season – a success that will be crucial to the club’s strategy in the transfer market this summer. Next season’s Champions League means Liverpool can contract players knowing they will earn at least $71m (£50m) if they play in the Championship, but will that be enough for manager Jurgen Klopp to strengthen his squad this summer? With a number of key players aged around 30, Liverpool should bring down the average age of the squad and still maintain the quality of the team. But with several key members of Klopp’s squad entering the final two years of their contracts, Liverpool also have an important decision to make: extend their contracts or sell them now that their value is high. It’s a complicated roster at Anfield, so James Tyler and I did an analysis of each player’s lineup and tried to clarify the issues and options. Seeing a simple dungeon, you could assume we were in agreement and there was nothing to discuss. For the rest, we have made our comments. 2 Connected And it’s not just about performance. It’s all about age, salary, personal suitability and contract length (we used Transfermarkt to determine contract length). There will be moving parts: Exits and entries cause chain reactions, sometimes unexpected. Go to : Defender | Midfielder | Attacker | Total score
Alisson (28 years old, contract expires in 2024) TYLER: Alisson is approaching his maturity as a goalkeeper, so he is an important part of the future at Anfield. He deserves a new contract, if not this summer, then certainly in 2022. OGDEN : Keep him, no doubt, but I’d be inclined to extend Alisson’s contract now and make sure he works until at least 2026. It’s one of the best in the world, so why wait? INCLUDED : Save and expand Adrian (34 years, 2021) OGDEN : He would love to replace Alisson and be an experienced option in place of Kelleher, so keep him and extend his contract for 12 months. TYLER: A dumping ground. He’s a useful reserve player, but move him and find a better option. INCLUDED : Separation (saving/throwing away) Kaoimhin Kelleher (22, 2022) TYLER: Capture and extend his contract. He’s proven himself, he’s promising and his new contract will be relatively cheap. INCLUDED : Save and expand Loris Karius (27, 2022) OGDEN : It’s time to move on. With a year left on his contract, even a transfer fee of £5m would be a bargain compared to the £4.75m he cost in 2016. Loans to Besiktas and Union Berlin have shown he can play at a good level. TYLER: Okay. It’s hard to come back after a three-year absence, and he’s good enough to have a career elsewhere. INCLUDED : Landfill of waste (£5 million) Salah still has a lot to offer Liverpool FC, but his desire to leave for Spain means his departure could spur a much-needed rebuild. Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Getty Images
Trent Alexander-Arnold (22, 2024) OGDEN : Keep it. He has three years left, so there is no reason to do anything at this point. Neko Williams (20, 2025) TYLER: Keep it. Long-term backup with good coverage on the right side of the defense. Andy Robertson (27, 2024) TYLER: Save and renew next year. There’s no reason to panic about Robertson. Costas Tsimikas (25, 2025) TYLER: Save it for Robertson. They should use the money to strengthen it elsewhere. OGDEN : He didn’t play a single game in the Premier League last season and didn’t appear in action in other competitions either, so Klopp doesn’t seem to like him. So sell and buy a better option. INCLUDED : Sharing (keeping/disposing). The original transfer value was £11.75m, so get rid of him for a similar amount. Virgil van Dijk (29, 2023) TYLER: He only has two years left on his contract, but he’s 29 years old and hasn’t played yet after a serious injury. So we will see how it develops before considering a new contract next year. OGDEN : I wouldn’t wait too long to renew his contract. Once he is proven to be healthy, he can be extended for another four years. His absence showed how important he is to Liverpool. INCLUDED : Save play 1:22 Gab Marcotti reacts to Liverpool’s arrival of defender Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig. Joe Gomez (24, 2024) TYLER: Another player who is badly injured, he is young and still has a good chunk of his contract to go, so no need to do anything at the moment. INCLUDED : Save Ozan Kabak (21, 2021) TYLER: Liverpool are unlikely to loan him out permanently, which makes sense: He didn’t do enough for that. OGDEN : At 21, Kabak could be a good replacement, but Liverpool have so many players in central midfield that it would make no financial sense to keep him. INCLUDED : Shipyard Joel Matip (29, 2024) TYLER: Try to move forward. He is an accomplished professional and a worthy servant, but he blocks the way for younger players. OGDEN : In an ideal world, Matip would be retained because of his age and experience. But Liverpool need to find the money to buy him and they can get £10-15m for Matip. INCLUDED : Dump (estimated price: £10-15 million) Rhys Williams (20, 2024) OGDEN : He has shown both promise and naivety in his time with the team, but he won’t play much if he stays next season, so give him a year on loan. INCLUDED : Storage and Lending. Nat Phillips (24, 2023) TYLER: Keep him and extend his contract. Show him favor for his performance during the defender’s injury crisis. He’s a solid player for the main roster. OGDEN : He may not be good enough to play at the highest level, but he’s worth serving as cover. INCLUDED : Save and expand play 2:25 Liverpool and Fenway Sports Group owner John W. Henry has apologised for Liverpool’s relegation from the European Super League. Ben Davis (25, 2025) OGDEN : A dumping ground. He hasn’t shot once since signing for Preston in January, so for the sake of his career, let him go. TYLER: Go rent it and see how it behaves. INCLUDED : Separation (deposit/storage and credit)
Fabinho (27, 2023) OGDEN : Save and expand. Just make a long term deal with Fabinho, because of his performances and also his relative youth compared to most of his midfield colleagues. TYLER: Save and expand. A very important member of the team. INCLUDED : Save Nabi Keita (26, 2023) TYLER: Unloading. If you can get £30m, it’s a good deal. Injuries prevented him from becoming the player he should have been at Liverpool. OGDEN : Okay. He has become a huge disappointment at Anfield, and despite being 26 years old, he has had more than enough chances to prove his worth. INCLUDED : Dump (estimated price: £25-30 million) Keita’s injuries have prevented him from becoming a productive player for the Reds, but he could still be a transfer target for top European clubs. Peter Powell/Pool via Getty Images Giorginio Wijnaldum (30, 2021) TYLER: It looks like he’s going to be a free agent, but I’d keep him if there was an opportunity. INCLUDED : Save him, but it’s probably too late. Thiago Alcantara (30, 2024) OGDEN : Keep it. His first season at Anfield was shaky, but he has impressed in recent weeks, so maybe he has changed. TYLER: There’s no choice but to keep it. His first season was inconsistent, but he makes passes that no one else on this team can. INCLUDED : Save Dan Thomas is joined by Craig Burley, Shaka Hislop and others to bring you the latest developments and discuss key storylines. Broadcast on ESPN+ (US only). Curtis Jones (20, 2025) TYLER: Keep it. He has a long-term contract. INCLUDED : Save Jordan Henderson (30 years, 2023) OGDEN : A year ago I said he should be sold because of his age and injuries, but even though he had a season full of injuries, the importance of Henderson was highlighted in his absence. Now I’ve turned 180 degrees and think his impact off the field is more than worth it for him to stay and eventually get a new contract. TYLER: It’s an emotional decision, but I would reward them with a contract extension. The value of his leadership is enormous. INCLUDED : Save Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (27, 2023) TYLER: Let him go. Tough question, but he hasn’t had enough games yet. You’ll probably get £20 million for him. OGDEN : He didn’t play enough games last season, but he’s only 27 and with Wijnaldum and possibly Keita leaving, I don’t think Liverpool can afford to let Oxlade-Chamberlain go. INCLUDED : Reset/Save James Milner (35 years, 2022) OGDEN : A great character for the team, and his versatility alone makes him important enough to keep. TYLER: Keep him and let him finish his contract. INCLUDED : Save Ben Woodburn (21, 2022) TYLER: Extend his contract and maybe look at options if he doesn’t start next season. INCLUDED : Save Marko Grujic (23, 2025) TYLER: He seems to have been on the books for years, but was never at the club long enough to play. It’s time to move on. INCLUDED : Dump (estimated price: £10 million)
Mane is worth keeping given what he adds to the Liverpool attack. Paul Ellis/Pool via AP Sadio Mane (29, 2023) OGDEN : It’s time to talk about a new contract for Mane. Yes, he’s almost 30, but he’s an important part of the team and has a long way to go. TYLER: Leave him alone. If I had to choose between Mane and Salah, I would choose Mane because he adds more value to the team, even though Salah is great. INCLUDED : Save and expand Diogo Jota(24, 2025) OGDEN : Everything is guaranteed until 2025, so there is no need for an extension yet. INCLUDED : Save Mohamed Salah (28, 2023) OGDEN : Salah is Liverpool’s biggest dilemma this summer. He turns 29 this month and has done little to dampen speculation that he wants to leave. Normally Liverpool would expect to reinvest that money, but there is no obvious buyer. A new four-year contract would be very expensive and might not suit the club or the player. I would keep the contract and extend it to protect the club’s investment as I don’t see a buyer. TYLER: I would continue to do so. Liverpool will get more for Salah than Mane, and the money received could be transformative, similar to the money Barcelona paid for Philippe Coutinho in 2018, which then helped fund the transfers of Van Dijk and Alisson. INCLUDED : Split (expected price: over £70 million). Harry Wilson (24, 2023) TYLER: Keep him, extend his contract and give him a chance. He was an outstanding player in the league. He’s a great player, give him a chance. OGDEN : For Wilson, it’s now or never at Liverpool. Keep him and give him a chance next season. INCLUDED : Save Xherdan Shaqiri (29, 2023) OGDEN : Take it away, increase the money and make room for guys like Wilson to get a chance. INCLUDED : Shipyard Sheyi Ojo (23, 2023) TYLER: A dumping ground. I’m not sure he has what it takes to be a Liverpool player and the club could get £10-15m if they let him go. INCLUDED : Shipyard Roberto Firmino (29, 2023) TYLER: Save and expand. Perhaps even more important than Salah in the way this team plays. It’s selfless and not recognized enough. OGDEN : I would have kept it, but I haven’t renewed it yet. Wait a year and see what other options are out there. He should be scoring more goals. INCLUDED : Save Divock Origi (26, 2024) TYLER: It’s time to sell. The club can do better than Origi at the moment and he deserves to be a regular in the starting line-up elsewhere. OGDEN : He was a great asset to the club and a key striker on his way to the 2019 Champions League title, but it’s time to move on. INCLUDED : Dump (estimated price: £20 million) Takumi Minamino (26, 2024) OGDEN : Good player on the roster, but he has a season ahead of him that could be a matter of life and death. Keep him, but maybe sell him in January if he can’t prove himself. TYLER: Save it and stay there. He received a low transfer fee, can play at various attacking positions and offers a lot of depth in the build-up. INCLUDED : Save
Liverpool have met their defensive needs with the acquisition of Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig, so could benefit from the sale of two or three of their central midfielders. Various sales from the squad could raise around £50m, but if an established player like Mohamed Salah leaves the club, Liverpool could raise a transfer fund of around £120m, which would significantly alter Jurgen Klopp’s player selection plans. They need a new midfielder and one or two reinforcements in attack; the main targets could be Yuri Thielemans (Leicester) and Jaydon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund). However, Liverpool have always been successful with smaller acquisitions, so it can make smart purchases. But a big part of this transfer window is about what happens to Salah. If he leaves, Liverpool can compete at the top of the market. If he stays, they’ll still have a world class striker, but their buying power will drop significantly.A heavy defeat for Spurs on their own turf, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that Liverpool were playing their first game of the season. A 2-1 loss to Leicester City saw them fall to 2nd place in the league, behind Liverpool by one point. They managed to keep up on the front of the league table with a 4-0 win over Watford, though.. Read more about keita and let us know what you think.
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