Although he was adamant that Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge would not be sold during the January transfer window, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has provided no assurances that the struggling hit-man — or any number of other players — will remain at Anfield at the end of the season.
“I have no idea what happens in the summer. It is not only Daniel, but a lot of players,” conceded the German manager. “Daniel was not in training for eight or nine days because of a virus infection. We have to bring him back to the best shape possible and then bring this season to an end as successfully as possible,” continued Klopp, keen to put the hypothetical situations off to one side. “Then we will make decisions and speak about Daniel and any other players about what will happen at the end of the season,” added the Liverpool manager. “A lot of things will influence this and we can speak about it when it is time.”
That time, of course, is rapidly approaching and in the case of Sturridge, has been a long time coming. A text-book striker, the 27-year old has looked out of place in the Reds high-octane brand of football since the off and he’s been shuffled off to the sidelines when fit — which hasn’t been all that often. Rumoured interest from the likes of Arsenal, West Ham United and Southampton has all been spurned in favour of keeping him as a option from the bench, but with the up and coming Divock Origi looking far better suited to Klopp’s high-pressing system, there’d be no surprise if he was a moved along at the end of the campaign.
That could be the narrative for a host of other players as well. While the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Joe Gomez and Adam Lallana have all put pen to paper on long-term, lucrative contracts, there are a few first team faces that could head for the exit door. Still negotiating a new deal of his own, Emre Can comes in second to Sturridge on the list of potential departures as the German midfielder attracts attention from Italian giants Juventus while James Milner, who is likely to see his spot at left-back usurped by a new signing during the summer, could also move on to new pastures. Throw incumbent shot-stopper Simon Mignolet in to the mix and you’re just one player short of a having a decent five-a-side team that could be heading for the axe…