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Liverpool Keep or Dump: Mo Salah, Naby Keita, Adrian all worth replacing

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Why Salah's contract poses a problem for Liverpool (1:39)

Mark Ogden explains why Liverpool might be tempted to part with Mohamed Salah. (1:39)

Liverpool ended a turbulent defence of their first Premier League title by securing Champions League qualification on the final weekend of the season -- an achievement that will make a crucial difference to the club's transfer market strategy this summer. Champions League football next season ensures that Liverpool can plan their recruitment in the knowledge they'll earn a minimum of $71 million (£50m) just by being in the competition, but will it be enough for manager Jurgen Klopp to strengthen his squad this summer?

With several key players in or approaching their 30s, Liverpool must reduce the average age of the squad at the same time as maintaining the quality. But with some high-profile members of Klopp's team entering the final two years of their contracts, Liverpool are also faced with big decisions and whether to extend their deals or sell while their value is high.

It's a complex picture at Anfield, so James Tyler and I have performed a player-by-player assessment of the squad, attempting to bring clarity to the issues and options. Where you see a simple "Keep," you can assume we agreed and there wasn't much to talk about. Otherwise, we weighed in with our comments.

It's not just about performance, either. It's about age, wages, personality fit and contract length (we went with Transfermarkt for contract expiry dates for consistency). And there will be moving parts, too: departures or arrivals that cause chain reactions, sometimes unexpected.

Jump to: Defenders | Midfielders | Forwards | Overall assessment

GOALKEEPERS

Alisson (28 years old, contract expires in 2024)

TYLER: Alisson is approaching his prime years as a goalkeeper, so he is a big part of the future at Anfield. He deserves a new deal, if not this summer, certainly in 2022.

OGDEN: Keep, without question, but I'd be tempted to extend Alisson's contract now and secure his services until 2026 at least. He's one of the best in the world, so why wait?

VERDICT: Keep and extend

Adrian (34, 2021)

OGDEN: He is happy to deputise for Alisson and provides an experienced option ahead of Kelleher, so keep and extend by 12 months.

TYLER: Dump. He's a useful back-up, but move him and find a better option.

VERDICT: Split (Keep/Dump)

Caoimhin Kelleher (22, 2022)

TYLER: Keep and extend his contract. He's done well, shows promise and would be relatively inexpensive to secure to a new deal.

VERDICT: Keep and extend

Loris Karius (27, 2022)

OGDEN: It's time to move him on. With a year left on his contract, even a £5 million transfer fee would represent a profit on the £4.75 million he cost in 2016. Loans at Besiktas and Union Berlin show he can perform at a good level.

TYLER: Agree. Tough to come back after three years away and he is a good enough keeper to have a career elsewhere.

VERDICT: Dump (£5m)

DEFENDERS

Trent Alexander-Arnold (22, 2024)

OGDEN: Keep. Three years to run on his contract, so no need to do anything yet.

Neco Williams (20, 2025)

TYLER: Keep. Secured for the long-term and good cover at right-back.

Andy Robertson (27, 2024)

TYLER: Keep and extend next year. No need to panic on Robertson.

Kostas Tsimikas (25, 2025)

TYLER: Keep as back-up for Robertson. Need to use money to reinforce elsewhere.

OGDEN: He didn't start a single Premier League game last season and barely played in the other competitions, so Klopp appears not to rate him. So sell and get a better option.

VERDICT: Split (Keep/Dump). Original transfer fee was £11.75m, so offload for a similar fee

Virgil van Dijk (29, 2023)

TYLER: Has only two years left on his contract, but he's 29 and has yet to play after a bad injury, so see how he progresses before looking at a new deal next year.

OGDEN: I wouldn't wait too long to extend his contract. Once he shows he is fully fit, extend for another four years. His absence has shown how important he is to Liverpool.

VERDICT: Keep

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1:22

What Liverpool is getting with Ibrahima Konate

Gab Marcotti reacts to Liverpool's signing of defender Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig.

Joe Gomez (24, 2024)

TYLER: Another player who suffered a bad injury, he's young and has a decent portion left of his contract, so no need to do anything yet.

VERDICT: Keep

Ozan Kabak (21, 2021)

TYLER: Liverpool are unlikely to turn his loan into a permanent deal, which makes sense; he didn't do enough to warrant it.

OGDEN: At 21, Kabak could have been a good signing as cover, but Liverpool have so much depth at centre-half that it wouldn't have made financial sense to keep him.

VERDICT: Dump

Joel Matip (29, 2024)

TYLER: Try to move him on. He's a consummate professional and decent servant, but he'll block the path for younger players.

OGDEN: In an ideal world, you would keep Matip because of his age and experience. But Liverpool need to raise funds to buy and they could get £10-15m for Matip.

VERDICT: Dump (estimated fee: £10-15m)

Rhys Williams (20, 2024)

OGDEN: Has shown promise as well as naivety during his run in the team, but he won't play much if he stays next season, so loan him out for a year.

VERDICT: Keep and loan.

Nat Phillips (24, 2023)

TYLER: Keep him and extend his contract. Show him some goodwill as a reward for his performances during the defensive injury crisis. He's a reliable squad player.

OGDEN: Maybe not good enough to perform at the highest level, but he's worth keeping as cover.

VERDICT: Keep and extend

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2:25

John W. Henry apologises to Liverpool fans

Fenway Sports Group and Liverpool owner John W. Henry apologises after Liverpool leave the European Super League.

Ben Davies (25, 2025)

OGDEN: Dump. Hasn't kicked a ball since signing from Preston in January, so let him go for the sake of his career.

TYLER: Loan him out, see how he goes.

VERDICT: Split (Dump/Keep and loan)

MIDFIELDERS

Fabinho (27, 2023)

OGDEN: Keep and extend. Simply have to secure Fabinho to a long-term contract because of his performances and also his relative youth in comparison to the majority of his midfield teammates.

TYLER: Keep and extend. A hugely important member of the team.

VERDICT: Keep

Naby Keita (26, 2023)

TYLER: Offload. If you can get £30m plus, that's a good deal. Injuries have stopped him becoming the player he should have been for Liverpool.

OGDEN: Agree. He's been a big disappointment at Anfield and even though he is 26, has had more than enough chances to prove his worth.

VERDICT: Dump (estimated fee: £25-30m)

Georginio Wijnaldum (30, 2021)

TYLER: Looks like he's off as a free agent, but I would keep him if there was any possible chance of doing so.

VERDICT: Keep, but probably too late

Thiago Alcantara (30, 2024)

OGDEN: Keep. Had a mixed first season at Anfield, but was impressive during the final weeks, so maybe he has turned the corner.

TYLER: No choice but to keep him. Had an uneven first season, but he plays passes nobody else can in this squad.

VERDICT: Keep

Curtis Jones (20, 2025)

TYLER: Keep. Settled on a long-term contract.

VERDICT: Keep

Jordan Henderson (30, 2023)

OGDEN: A year ago, I said his rights should be sold due to his age and injuries, but although he has had an injury-interrupted season, Henderson's importance has been highlighted during his absence. So I've now done a 180-degree turn and believe his influence off the pitch more than merits him staying and potentially earning a new deal.

TYLER: It's an emotional choice, but I would reward him with an extension. The value of his leadership is huge.

VERDICT: Keep

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (27, 2023)

TYLER: Let him go. Tough one, but not had enough games. Maybe get £20m for him.

OGDEN: He didn't play enough games last season, but he's still only 27 and, with Wijnaldum going and possibly Keita too, I don't think Liverpool can afford to let Oxlade-Chamberlain go.

VERDICT: Split (Dump/Keep)

James Milner (35, 2022)

OGDEN: A great character to have around the squad and his versatility alone makes him important enough to keep.

TYLER: Keep and let him run down his contract.

VERDICT: Keep

Ben Woodburn (21, 2022)

TYLER: Extend his contract and maybe look to move on if he doesn't kick on next season.

VERDICT: Keep

Marko Grujic (23, 2025)

TYLER: Seems to have been on the books for years, but never at the club long enough to play. Time to move on.

VERDICT: Dump (estimated fee: £10m)

FORWARDS

Sadio Mane (29, 2023)

OGDEN: Time to start talking about a new deal for Mane. Yes, he's nearly 30, but he is a crucial part of the team and has plenty left in the tank.

TYLER: Keep him. If it was a choice between extending Mane or Salah, I'd pick Mane because he brings more to the team, great as Salah is.

VERDICT: Keep and extend

Diogo Jota(24, 2025)

OGDEN: All secured until 2025, so no needs to extend yet.

VERDICT: Keep

Mohamed Salah (28, 2023)

OGDEN: Salah is Liverpool's big dilemma this summer. He turns 29 this month and has done little to dampen speculation that he wants to move. In normal times, Liverpool might look to cash in and reinvest the money, but there's no obvious buyer. A new four-year deal would be hugely expensive and may not appeal to club or player, either. I would keep and extend, just to protect the club's investment, because I can't see a buyer.

TYLER: I'd move him on. Liverpool would get more for Salah than for Mane and any fee received could be transformative, just like the money Barcelona paid for Philippe Coutinho in 2018, which in turn helped fund the moves for Van Dijk and Alisson.

VERDICT: Split (Keep/Dump) (expected fee: £70m-plus)

Harry Wilson (24, 2023)

TYLER: Keep, extend his contract and give him a go. He has been outstanding on loan in the Championship. He is a tremendous player, give him a chance.

OGDEN: It's now or never for Wilson at Liverpool. Keep him and give him an opportunity next season.

VERDICT: Keep

Xherdan Shaqiri (29, 2023)

OGDEN: Move him on, raise some money and free up space for the likes of Wilson to get a chance.

VERDICT: Dump

Sheyi Ojo (23, 2023)

TYLER: Dump. Not convinced he has what it takes to make it for Liverpool, and the club could raise £10-15m by letting him go.

VERDICT: Dump

Roberto Firmino (29, 2023)

TYLER: Keep and extend. Maybe more important than Salah to the way this team plays. He's selfless and doesn't get enough credit.

OGDEN: I'd keep him, but don't extend yet. Wait a year and see what other options come available. Needs to score more goals.

VERDICT: Keep

Divock Origi (26, 2024)

TYLER: It's time to sell. The club can find better than Origi now, and he deserves to be a regular starter somewhere else.

OGDEN: He's been a great support at the club and was a key goalscorer on the way to the 2019 Champions League title, but time to move on.

VERDICT: Dump (estimated fee: £20m)

Takumi Minamino (26, 2024)

OGDEN: A good squad player, but he faces a make-or-break season. Keep, but maybe sell in January if he doesn't perform.

TYLER: Keep him and persevere with him. He was signed for a low fee, can play multiple forward positions and offers impactful depth.

VERDICT: Keep

OVERALL ASSESSMENT

Liverpool have addressed their defensive requirements by signing Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig, so they can raise funds by offloading two or three of their centre-halves.

Assorted squad sales could generate approximately £50 million, but if a big-name player like Mohamed Salah leaves, Liverpool could raise a transfer fund of around £120m and that would make a significant difference to Jurgen Klopp's recruitment plans. They need a new midfielder and one or two additions up front; key targets could be Leicester's Youri Tielemans and Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho.

Liverpool have always done well with less high-profile signings, though, so they have the opportunity to make some smart additions. But much of this transfer window revolves around what happens to Salah. If he goes, Liverpool can compete at the top of end of the market. If he stays, they retain a world-class goalscorer, but their spending power will be much reduced.