Liverpool Transfer Speculation: 5 Players Reds Should Sell This Summer
The hiring of Brendan Rodgers means that Liverpool fans should expect a massive rebuild this summer.
The Northern Irishman will bring a brand new system with him to Anfield. Therefore, not all current personnel will necessarily be a fit within that scheme.
Today's roster is the combined legacy of three coaches in as many years. Each had their own unique style of play and transfer strategy.
As a result, the task of providing a rudder to Anfield's meandering ship is a daunting one.
Rodgers has less financial resources than the likes of Manchester City or Chelsea. Further, Liverpool does not have Champions League football to offer. This makes attracting top names especially difficult.
Yet, despite these obstacles, Reds fans will expect immediate results.
It is critical that the new hierarchy on Merseyside get it right from the start. That means investing in undervalued talent and releasing those who do not fit into the overarching strategy.
This article focuses on the latter.
Namely, we assess five players most likely to be shown the door as Liverpool lays the foundation for future success.
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Possession is the primary objective for Brendan Rodgers.
His modified 4-3-3 expects players to retain possession and control tempo. Thus, the ideal central midfielder is someone like Andres Iniesta or Andrea Pirlo. They direct play and are highly composed on the ball.
Joe Allen excels in this role at Swansea City.
Charlie Adam simply gives the ball away too easily or loses his composure at the wrong times.
Too often he goes for the Hollywood pass over the easy ball to an open area. As a result, his pass completion rate and turnover ratio is high.
The new manager does not value these qualities. Adam seems to be a square peg in a round hole, making him surplus to requirements.
Jon Flanagan (Loan)
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At just 19 years of age, Jon Flanagan has a tremendous amount of promise.
Yet, despite his promising start, Flanagan has become inconsistent. This is not hard to conceive. He is, after all, fourth in the pecking order behind Johnson, Enrique and Kelly. Without regular minutes, it is hard to find consistent form.
What he needs is a spell out on loan. Ideally, he should be sent to a club that offers regular first-team minutes in an environment which will generate confidence in the young Liverpool starlet.
A season away from the Anfield pressure cooker may be just what the doctor ordered. He can decompress, re-discover his form and come back a year later ready to fight for his place under Brendan Rodgers.
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This one's a bit unfair, as it's already happened. The Brazilian is on his way to Gremio on a free transfer, according to ESPN.
The split seems amicable enough. By all accounts, both parties part on good terms.
Further, the Reds seems to have plenty of depth with Johnson, Enrique and Kelly all in reasonably good shape. Daniel Agger can also fill in out wide when the team faces injury problems.
Aurelio goes back to his native country after a long, illustrious career. The Kop no doubt fondly remembers many of the tremendous performances he put in.
With his exit, the door is open for the likes of Jack Robinson or a possible future transfer to occupy the second choice left-back role.
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Lucas Leiva's midseason knee injury was disastrous. Without their rock, the remaining midfielders did not seem on the same page and seldom gave the impression of composure.
Lucas' understudy, Jay Spearing, is a big reason why things went so poorly. In the end, he did not have the creative ability to push forward nor the tackling qualities necessary to protect the defense.
With Brendan Rodgers, the midfield roles becomes even more pronounced. Everyone has a clear role, and it's unlikely that Spearing fits any of them.
If the full-backs get caught up, he does not have the quality to serve as a hybrid third central defender in their absence.
Alternatively, few defences in Europe will cower in fear at the site of Spearing directing an oncoming attacking movement.
Without a clear role to fill, Spearing seems a likely sale. At the very least, he should be loaned out so that he can continue to grow at the expense of someone else's table position.
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With many of Kenny Dalglish's signings, I have been one to preach patience.
Either the coaching decisions never quite suited the personnel, or their prospective re-sale value is too low.
In the case of Jordan Henderson, I think it is simply too early for the jury to be out.
However, as far as Stewart Downing is concerned, I do not believe that any of the above apply. Further, even if they did, there is no place for him in the new system.
Downing is a wide man. He is predominately left-footed and prefers to push to the sideline rather than cut inside.
Rodgers likes his left wingers to be technically proficient, quick and to have the confidence to take on defenders off the dribble.
Downing's abilities and Rodgers' preferences do not align.
Given Downing's somewhat fortuitous inclusion in the England 23-man squad, I think a reasonable sum can be recouped for his signature.
If that is the case, I would sell.
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For the first time in Brendan Rodgers' career, he is the head coach of a truly massive club.
He will know all too well that the honeymoon period of his signing will quickly dissipate should results turn sour.
Fair or not, the Anfield faithful expect the world of their managers.
I think these sales are a marked step in the right direction. What do you think?
I look forward to your feedback.