Liverpool skipper’s future compromised by midfielder pile-up
With Liverpool’s swelling midfield roster only matched for membership by Labour’s recent surge, further Anfield exits must be on the cards this summer.
News that a fee of £25m has been agreed between the Reds and relegated Newcastle for the services of yet another midfielder, Georginio Wijnaldum, can only hasten this space-freeing exercise.
Having battled through his initial campaign resisting any urge to sweep the decks in January, Jurgen Klopp was always going to be one of the Premier League’s busiest managers this summer, and so it’s proving.
Five players, including centre-midfielder Marko Grujic have arrived, with eight first-teamers, Martin Skrtel among them, departing Anfield during Klopp’s first preseason as Liverpool boss.
Wijnadlum is an exciting prospect, but with the aforementioned Grujic also making his mark in preseason, the midfield logjam now requires some merciless work from the German’s axe. That could well place captain Jordan Henderson within range of Klopp’s swinging blade.
Before now, much of the attention has focused on Joe Allen’s Liverpool future, given his sudden spike in popularity brought about by helping Wales into the last four of Euro 2016.
Interest from as far afield as Sevilla surfaced, but former club Swansea look set to repurchase their former charge according to most reports.
However, up until now Henderson’s name has largely stayed on the fringes of the debate. He is, after all, the captain. He’s not Klopp’s man though, unlike Wijnaldum, and he must be in jeopardy considering the underwhelming season that appeared to pass the England midfielder by.
Not since his early Anfield days when the anvil of his seemingly inflated price-tag weighed him down, has the former Sunderland player’s worth been so widely scrutinised, albeit injuries hampered the Liverpool armband wearer.
Fully fit or not at the outset of 2016/17, though, it won’t be guaranteed that Henderson starts ahead of Wijnaldum, Emre Can, James Milner, Grujic, Lucas (if he stays) or Kevin Stewart, whom Klopp has taken a shine to.
That’s only mentioning the more recognised central midfielders, without even taking into consideration the string of ‘attacking mids’ Hendo might be considered in a similar bracket to.
Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana could all conceivably play as the advanced one of a midfield three.
If Klopp gets a sizeable fee wafted his way for the 26-year-old, who made 17 Premier League appearances and scored twice last season, then it is surely worth consideration.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.