Five players Liverpool should sell if they are to challenge for a Champions League place next season.
Liverpool’s dismal league form in 2012 continued at the weekend with a 2-1 home loss to Wigan, a result which had preceded a 3-2 defeat to QPR just three days earlier. After the capitulation at Loftus Road [Liverpool conceded three goals in the final 15 minutes] manager Kenny Dalglish questioned the focus of his players, 72 hours later he would lay the finger on fatigue.
Either way the “King Kenny” moniker is losing its regal appeal with the Carling cup success and FA cup run clouding over what has been a disappointing league campaign.
Saturday’s defeat was their 10th of the season and left everybody in Anfield in no doubt that this team is not ready to challenge for a Champions League spot.
With just two league games since the turn of the year there is a realistic possibility Liverpool could finish as low at ninth or tenth in the Premier League – As things stand with eight games to go just four points separates seventh place Liverpool from 12th placed Stoke and it would interesting to see how John Henry and Co. would view such a position even with potentially two trophies in the cabinet.
Dalglish has spent £100million since his prodigal return and while hindsight is a great match for sabermetrics all but Luis Suarez have failed to hit the heights required for a red shirt. Dalglish inherited a mediocre side and if given the time needs to yield the axe to a number of the squad who as things stand are not able to take Liverpool where they need to be.
The former Blackpool midfielder enjoyed a stunning debut season before earning a move to Anfield however he has struggled to make the step up on Merseyside. The Scottish international’s lack of pace has become very apparent while the crisp passing of 2010/2011 has not been on view enough to label Adam anything more than an EPL one hit wonder at this stage.
Funds generated if sold: £6-8 million pound
Potential destination: Sunderland, Fulham
A controversial choice however the emergence of Martin Kelly and Jon Flanagan means that Liverpool have cover in the right back position. Johnson has endured an injury hit season and while there is no doubting his ability, the former Chelsea man would be a handy bargaining tool for Liverpool if they decide to a swap deal. Liverpool have been linked with moves for Demba Ba, Theo Walcott and Aaron Lennon in transfer rumour columns and the offer of Johnson could persuade opposition managers to enter discussions with the Anfield hierarchy.
Funds generated if sold: £10-12 million
Potential destination: Spurs, Arsenal or Newcastle
Most Liverpool fans will agree that Kuyt was the most deserving of a Carling Cup winner’s medal. The Dutchman has become a fans favourite during his time at Anfield, his conversion from a misfiring forward to a hard working right midfielder earning a place in the hearts of the Liverpool faithful. The former Utrecht man has failed to reach the height of pre World Cup 2010 in recent months and at 31, he is at the older end of the footballing spectrum. There is no doubt that Kuyt could still do a job for Liverpool but it would more than likely be from the bench which to a player at his age might be hard to take.
Funds generated if sold: £6-8 million pound
Potential destination: Juventus, Inter Milan, Malaga, PSG
While it’s great to see young local blood coming through it is vitally important to the future of Liverpool that the players coming through as of a suitable calibre. There is no doubting Spearing’s passion and work rate however overall Spearing does not have enough to take Liverpool to the level they need to be at. The diminutive midfielder lacks pace, consistency in his passing not to mention a sufficient physical presence to dominate the Liverpool midfield. The sight of the Liverpool midfielder lining up would not strike fear in the minds of the likes of Yaya Toure and Co.
Funds generated if sold: £3-4 million pound
Potential destination: Bolton, West Bromwich Albion, Wolves & Blackburn
Many people will wonder why Andy Carroll hasn’t appeared on the list and while I am sure that if the list was extended further the former Newcastle man’s name would appear however, for now the fifth choice player that I believe is not ready for Liverpool is Henderson.
The England U21 midfielder has struggled with price tags and form since his summer arrival from Sunderland and while it’s hard to gauge if the player, signed using the football metrics system, has what it takes to play at the highest level, its apparent at the moment that he is not ready for Liverpool.
When Henderson scored against Bolton in the opening games of the season many fans and pundits alike though that he had arrived and while at times he has looked comfortable on the ball more often than not he has faded in games rather than grab them by the scruff of the neck. The kop are crying out for an heir apparent for Steven Gerrard and at the moment Henderson is not ready.
Funds generated if sold: Would not sell but would send out on Loan.
Potential destination: Sunderland or Newcastle