OPINION: Keep, sell or loan? What to do with Liverpool's midfielders


OPINION: Keep, sell or loan? What to do with Liverpool's midfielders

Thiago plays a pass during Liverpool's 2-1 win over West Ham in April
Thiago plays a pass during Liverpool's 2-1 win over West Ham in AprilProfimedia
Liverpool are due to undergo a massive midfield overhaul this summer, with a number of players already geared for the exit door at Anfield.

Rumours talk of Jude Bellingham, Alexis Mac Allister, and Ryan Gravenberch - but we're not going to focus on that right now.

In this article, we're going to take a look at midfielders presently at Liverpool and what the near-future may hold for them. The question is: Keep, sell or loan?

James Milner (37)

Veteran jack-of-all-traits Milner has been with Liverpool for eight years, making 329 appearances so far, scoring 26 times.

His contract is due to expire this summer and, despite efforts from the club, it is not expected that he will sign a new one.

Milner is anticipated to join Brighton and Hove Albion on a free transfer in a couple of months, and would depart Anfield a living legend.

Verdict: Leaving

Thiago (32)

Becoming somewhat of a trend in Liverpool's midfield, superstar Thiago has struggled with injuries since arriving in 2020. He has featured in just 18 Premier League matches this season.

That said, whenever he has been 100 per cent fit-and-firing, he has shone as the Reds' most creative spark in the middle of the park.

Thiago has until next summer on his current Anfield deal, but it's unclear if he will be handed fresh terms before then, which raises questions for the upcoming window.

Thiago's last injuries
Thiago's last injuriesFlashscore

Players of the Barcelona graduate's calibre are hard to come by and Jurgen Klopp will see the benefits of keeping him around, but perhaps not as a reliable option.

Should a suitable offer come in for Thiago this summer, and a few new faces arrive at Anfield, the Reds could be tempted to part ways with the Spaniard.

Verdict: Sell

Naby Keita (28)

Like Thiago, Liverpool's No.8 hasn't had the best of luck with fitness since joining from Leipzig five years ago.

Despite making 129 appearances, showing flashes of brilliance along the way, Keita has been unable to string together enough high-level performances to justify a regular starting spot in Klopp's team.

His contract is due to expire this summer and, with a few clubs in Europe sniffing around, it is not expected a new one will be agreed.

Verdict: Leaving

Jordan Henderson (32)

A club captain's future is often difficult to speculate on, especially after the longevity of a certain Steven Gerrard at Liverpool, but Henderson has seen his role reduced slightly in recent times.

Although, perhaps that has more to do with managing an ageing or injury-prone player.

Henderson turns 33 this summer and still has two years left on his current contract. He could take the path of Milner and stick around into his twilight, or move on while he's still able to offer something at a high level.

Henderson is adored by the Anfield faithful
Henderson is adored by the Anfield faithfulProfimedia

As long as Klopp is at Anfield for the duration, though, Liverpool's captain is unlikely to leave - which, given his dedication over the last 13 years, would suit everyone at the club just fine.

Verdict: Keep

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (29)

Oxlade-Chamberlain's time at Anfield tells a similar story to his seven-year stint with Arsenal.

Like Keita, it has been littered with fitness woes, but 'the Ox' did manage to make a significant impact in his first season with Liverpool (and again in 2019/20 he impressed).

His contract is due to expire this summer and it is not expected that he will be given a new one, but the former England man shouldn't struggle to find new suitors.

Verdict: Leaving

Fabinho (29)

The Brazilian may have fallen down a peg or two this season, a symptom of Liverpool's dogged fixture list last term, but Fabinho is still a top-class holding midfielder.

The Reds would do well to hold onto him, this summer and beyond.

Fabinho is the right side of 30 and his playing style isn't as dynamic as some of his team-mates, so an Anfield contract extension is surely on the cards.

Verdict: Keep

Curtis Jones (22)

Jones, oddly, splits opinion in some spheres of the Liverpool fanbase, but it's clear Klopp holds a lot of trust in the relatively young midfielder.

The Scouse native hasn't enjoyed the heights of his breakthrough 2020/21 season - in which he made 34 appearances - but that could be said of the majority of the Reds' team.

Still just a young man, with four years still to go on his recently-penned deal, Jones is very likely to be given chance after chance in years to come.

Verdict: Keep

Harvey Elliott (19)

Perhaps the reason young midfielders are held to such a high standard by some fans, Elliott is one of the best English players in his age bracket.

He has made 43 appearances for Liverpool this season, scoring five goals, and is expected to further cement his spot in the side next term.

Elliott vies for the ball with Spurs' Ben Davies
Elliott vies for the ball with Spurs' Ben DaviesAFP

Elliott has helped bridge the gap Gini Wijnaldum left in Klopp's midfield two years ago - though, there is more work to be done - which speaks volumes of his raw talent.

Verdict: Keep

Stefan Bajcetic (18)

Bajcetic is enjoying a breakthrough season at Anfield and recently signed a long-term contract.

The Spaniard has featured in 19 matches this term and has been a glimmer of hope in a relatively gloomy season for the Reds.

Like Elliott and Jones, the youngster will be given more chances in the future, but his lack of experience suggests a loan move could be on the cards if Liverpool invest in several midfielders this summer.

Verdict: Loan

Arthur (26)

The Juventus loanee made a surprise move earlier this season, but almost immediately picked up a long-term injury.

Arthur stuck around, with hopes that he could make an impression on his new coaches, but that hasn't worked out either.

With a few matches left of the season, the Brazilian could yet feature for Liverpool - but it's unlikely to come to fruition or, even if it does, alter his path.

A shame, given his early promise at Barcelona five years ago.

Verdict: Leaving


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