As the season reaches its final stretch, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be preparing for a busy summer. With a squad overhaul inevitable, it could suggest that a hand full of current under fire players will be given their marching orders. Here are six names that are most likely to be heading for the Anfield exit in the coming months:
When Mignolet made the move from Sunderland back in 2013, his first season was exceptional. He played a massive part in Liverpool’s season-long title race, keeping 10 clean sheets and claimed the plaudits of the Anfield faithful.
Since then, however, the Belgian has failed to prolong that form and inconsistency remains a massive issue, costing his side vital points. At fault for numerous conceded goals this campaign, Mignolet has endured in heavy criticism and deservedly so.
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Despite signing a five-year extension back in January, surprising many Liverpool fans, his career could be cut short in the summer with Barcelona ‘keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen a possible and much-needed replacement.
A departure for Jose Enrique looks all but certain with the lack of game time he has received this season. Not even making the bench on a regular basis could be a hint that the Spaniard won’t be signing a new deal any time soon and it won’t come as a surprise to the fans.
The forgotten figure is currently bagging £75,000-a-week, the same wages as Philippe Coutinho and has only made two appearances this season. With the rise of Brad Smith and the signing of Joe Gomez, Enrique falls further down the pecking order with Alberto Moreno claiming a regular spot at left-back. His contract reaches its expiration date this summer and it is fair to say, he won’t be seen in a Reds shirt ever again.
Since signing from Bolton Wanderers in the summer, Adam Bogdan has failed to pose any competition to Mignolet’s regular spot in the Liverpool net. A calamitous performance against Watford whilst conceding straight from a corner against League Two side Exeter City have been the highlights of his season.
January saw Klopp recall Danny Ward from his loan spell at Aberdeen whilst Bogdan dropped down to the under 21’s. Liverpool need a backup goalkeeper who can challenge for a starting spot on a regular basis and the Hungarian just doesn’t fit the bill.
When Raheem Sterling left Liverpool in the summer, the rise of Jordon Ibe undoubtedly cushioned the blow following impressive performances under Brendan Rodgers.
Since Klopp took over, however, he has failed to compete with the likes of Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana, costing him his place in the side. Having appeared against Bournemouth, Everton and Villarreal recently, the 20-year-old still failed to make any sort of impact as speculation continues to mount over his future.
Arguably, the expectations weighing on the winger’s shoulders to fill the boots of Sterling could be the reason for his downfall. For a player who gave defenders a torrid time at the back-end of last season, it comes as a surprise that he has been abysmal, only scoring three goals in 53 appearances.
It was reported last month that fellow Premier League outfit Watford were weighing up a move for the England Under-21 international in a transfer Ibe would no doubt benefit from.
At Aston Villa, Christian Benteke was a level above the rest, an exceptional player with outstanding talent. The Belgian claimed his just rewards by making the move to Merseyside in the summer but has failed to overly impress ever since.
It was always questionable whether the 25-year-old could be the answer to Liverpool’s striking woes of last season and having only scored eight league goals, despite injuries, the question was more or less answered.
The woes of Benteke saw Klopp opt for other options in Daniel Sturridge’s absence. Moving to a front three, Firmino played in a false-nine role and succeeded in the position with some style, resurrecting his shaky form, whilst the Belgian looked on from the bench.
His reluctance to win the ball back and make darting runs into the box is what frustrates Liverpool fans, failing to adapt to the fast, fluorescent football Klopp entails.
With the sudden form of Divock Origi adding to Danny Ings’ impressive start in a Reds shirt, not to mention Sturridge, it could suggest Benteke’s time at Anfield is up as he continues to fall down the pecking order.
Balotelli aimed to resurrect his career when he joined Liverpool in 2014 however; his first season was one to forget, only making 24 appearances whilst scoring four goals, subsequently seeing him rejoin AC Milan on loan for the current campaign.
It seems that the Italian has his heart set on a permanent move to his home country with the Serie A side prepared to negotiate a summer move and it is fair to say, Liverpool fans won’t be at all disheartened to see the back of him.
With Klopp aiming to build a side who can battle at the peak of the table again next season, there is no doubt these six names won't be the only ones tipped for the exit this summer,