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For Liverpool, the summer transfer window hasn’t gone quite according to plan.
Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita have, so far at least, proved out of reach. Jurgen Klopp may have money to spend, but neither Southampton nor RB Leipzig respectively have shown any willingness to do business.
Still, Andy Robertson, Mohamed Salah and Dominic Solanke have all arrived at Anfield, and there is time for further new faces to be added to the squad before the calendar ticks over into September.
This Is Anfield @thisisanfield
🎥 Klopp: August 31 will be a busy day, whether we are involved we will see… https://t.co/pTSwD3oDIv
Yet it’s not just about incoming players over the next couple of weeks.
Liverpool may be doing their utmost to fend off Barcelona’s interest in Philippe Coutinho, but there are others currently on the club’s books who will be allowed to leave without too much of a fuss.
Here, Bleacher Report takes a look at five strong candidates to depart, whether that be via a loan deal or a permanent transfer, before the window closes at 11 p.m. BST on Thursday, August 31.
Philippe Coutinho: Depending on which side of the story you believe, the Brazilian could either be top of this list or not even worthy of a place in the rankings.
If Liverpool continue to stick to their statement on the matter, it seems the player will have to return, with his tail between his legs, and be prepared to play in the Premier League for a little while longer yet.
However, Barcelona general manager Pep Segura stirred the pot further with his comments to the media following his team’s 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Wednesday:
So where does this leave the Coutinho transfer saga? In a state of flux. Barcelona need to appease a disgruntled fanbase by signing players. Liverpool, though, are refusing to budge.
Adam Bodgan and Danny Ward: With Simon Mignolet first choice between the posts and Loris Karius seemingly the backup, Bodgan and Ward better make sure they enjoy training this season.
Bogdan may have moved on already were it not for a serious knee injury suffered while away on loan at Wigan Athletic. Barry Cooper of the Nottingham Post linked the Hungarian to Nottingham Forest.
As for Ward, he helped Huddersfield Town clinch promotion to the Premier League last season. According to Joe Bernstein of MailOnline, the Welshman wants to know his future role at the Reds, as he fears a wasted year spent stuck as the club’s third-choice goalkeeper.
Cameron Brannagan: The midfielder’s future surely lies away from Liverpool, but, like Bogdan, an injury issue is holding up his exit plans.
Brannagan broke a hand in training on the eve of the new season, according to James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo. Expected to be out for a month, he may miss out on a move before the window closes.
Danny Ings: How can you not feel some sympathy towards the striker? Having joined Liverpool in 2015, he has barely played due to injury issues, totalling just 586 minutes of first-team football.
Still only 25, Ings has had a positive pre-season. The problem now, though, is getting games. The arrival of Solanke has created even more competition for places up top.
Ings played—and scored—in 45 minutes for the under-23 team on August 11. While likely to continue his comeback under the watchful eyes of Liverpool’s medical staff, he could be loaned out to get more competitive action elsewhere.
Gif: Danny Ings’ goal for the Under 23’s, on his return to action. #lfc [lfctv]: https://t.co/DBUWouBuag
5. Jon Flanagan
Once dubbed the Scouse Cafu, Jon Flanagan’s career is at a crossroads.
The full-back was part of the last Liverpool squad to challenge for the title, as he forced his way into former manager Brendan Rodgers’ side during the second half of the 2013/14 season.
Initially on the right before switching to the left, the local lad became a fan favourite. Few will forget his marauding run that resulted in a thumping finish in the 5-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur.
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Yet the fairytale story turned into a nightmare. A bum knee kept him out of action for nearly two years, by which time Rodgers had left and Liverpool were a different team.
Sent out on loan to Burnley last season, Flanagan played in six Premier League games.
There was a glimmer of hope he could resurrect his Reds career when Klopp revealed the 24-year-old was one of the options to fill in for the injured Nathaniel Clyne in the Premier League opener at Watford, per Neil Jones of the Liverpool Echo: “We have three options for his position—Trent, Joe and Flanno.”
Trent (Alexander-Arnold) ended up getting the gig, while Joe (Gomez) was among Liverpool’s substitutes at Vicarage Road.
With Clyne set to return sooner rather than later, Flanagan appears so far down the pecking order his name may no longer even be on the list. Some club, at some level, needs to rescue him.
4. Ryan Kent
Ryan Kent has just signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool—but that doesn’t mean he’s not set to leave before we reach September.
After continuing his development with a season on loan at Championship side Barnsley, the tricky winger caught the eye in pre-season with the Reds, including one glorious step-over that fooled Bayern Munich’s experienced right-back Rafinha:
Dave Phillips @lovefutebol
Ryan Kent says ta-ra to Rafinha. #lfc
While other Premier League rivals use the loan market as a way of getting promising talent first-team experience, Klopp prefers to keep young players close so he can work with them on the training field.
However, he acknowledged how Kent’s time away from Anfield (he also previously had a temporary stint with Coventry City) had helped the 20-year-old.
“I’ve spoken a few times about how I’m not the president of the supporters’ club for loaning players, giving them to other clubs, especially at a very young age,” Klopp told the media, per Jack Lusby of This Is Anfield. “I don’t think it will always work, but obviously he really took the benefit of it.”
So, could Kent benefit from furthering his footballing education with another loan move? There is no shortage of clubs interested, that’s for sure.
As Simon Jones of MailOnline reported, both Leeds United and Hull City had enquired about the player. As recently as August 6, though, Jonny Bonell of the Derby Telegraph suggested Derby County are “heading the queue” to get Kent.
He is clearly in high demand, and Liverpool may be best served allowing him the freedom of playing for someone else’s first team in 2017/18.
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Allan will leave not because he is surplus to requirements, or because it will be viewed as beneficial to his development. No, the Brazilian’s departure isn’t to do with choice but necessity.
Without a work permit, the 20-year-old—full name Allan Rodriguez de Souza—cannot play competitive games for Liverpool.
He’d already spent time on loan with Finnish club SJK and Sint-Truiden in Belgium before going to Hertha Berlin last season. The midfielder made 16 appearances in total, and it was initially hoped the Bundesliga club would take him back for a further year.
However, according to German newspaper Bild (h/t TalkSport), Hertha rejected the opportunity of another loan, even though the Reds were willing to lower their financial demands to push a deal through.
So, unable to play for his parent club and yet to find a temporary home, Allan is stuck in limbo.
Whether it is in Germany or somewhere else on the continent, he needs a move. Liverpool must choose his next destination wisely, as he needs to play regularly to have a hope of getting a permit in the future.
2. Lazar Markovic
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Klopp couldn’t have made it any clearer this summer—Lazar Markovic is not part of his plans.
“With Lazar, it’s no secret that if he finds a club then we will negotiate. It was like this last year, too,” the German told James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo.
Liverpool’s manager publicly announcing his desire to sell the Serbian hardly came as a surprise. Shipped out on loan for the past two seasons, Markovic must’ve realised he didn’t have a long-term future at Anfield.
When you are left at home for a pre-season tour to Hong Kong, the writing is on the wall.
While he impressed for relegated Hull City in the second half of the 2016/17 campaign, so far no serious taker has stepped forward to take the player off Liverpool’s hands.
According to Carl Markham of the Press Association (h/t the Daily Mail), Markovic met with Fiorentina over a potential move in July. However, as yet, the winger—signed for £22.5 million from Benfica in the summer of 2014—remains stuck waiting in the departures lounge.
The reason behind the apparent lack of interest could be the asking price.
Markham claimed the Reds wanted to recoup as much as £16 million for a player who has scored just three goals in 34 appearances for the club, although Darren Witcoop of the Mirror reported back in June how Watford were given the opportunity to buy him for a cut-price fee of £12 million.
Liverpool would rather cut their losses than send Markovic out on loan yet again, but either way, the 24-year-old is likely to be gone by the time this excruciatingly long transfer window closes on August 31.
1. Mamadou Sakho
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Despite Liverpool’s defence looking about as stable as a Jenga tower at the start of the new season, there appears no way back for Mamadou Sakho.
The French defender was placed on the naughty step after a series of misdemeanours on the summer tour to the United States last year. Klopp said of the player’s exit, per Mark Dobson of the Guardian:
“It’s not that serious. He missed the departure of the plane, he missed a session and then was late for a meal…I have to build a group here, I have to start anew, so I thought it maybe made sense that he flew home to Liverpool and after eight days, when we come back, we can talk about it.
“But it’s not that serious. It is how I said, we have some rules and we have to respect them. If somebody doesn’t respect it, or somebody gives me the feeling he is not respecting it, then I have to react, that’s all.”
Well, it was serious enough for Sakho to be banished from the first-team squad. Exiled to the under-23s, he finally escaped on deadline day in January, joining Crystal Palace on loan for the remainder of the season.
The move worked for all parties: Palace added a centre-back to help their successful fight against relegation, Sakho got to play competitively again while Liverpool put an unwanted asset in the shop window.
However, as we approach the end of August, Sakho still remains up for sale.
It was expected the Eagles would sign him permanently, but so far that move has failed to materialise. Manager Frank de Boer told the media the eve of the new season (h/t ESPN.co.uk): “I don’t know [about Sakho]. He was a major player last season; we know what he did. Any player of that quality is a benefit.”
At 27, and with a FIFA World Cup next summer, Sakho needs a move. It’s time the larger-than-life character started publishing social media posts from a new location.
Liverpool may have to lower their asking price—according to Kristian Walsh of the Liverpool Echo, the club are asking for £30 million—although if it goes to deadline day, another loan move might be the only option.
Rob Lancaster is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. All statistics and transfer fees used in the article are from Transfermarkt unless otherwise stated.