We count five Liverpool players who should be happy now Brendan Rodgers has left. Joe Allen is firmly not among them…
- Jose Enrique. The Spaniard has not even found a place on the bench so far this season – although he did manage to make F365’s Frozen Out XI as a centre-half; he’lll take games anywhere he can get them. The Spaniard insisted he was “happy to stay and fight for my place” after a deadline-day move to West Brom collapsed, but he’s got a hell of a battle on his hands. Since the start of the 2013/14 season, the 29-year-old has played 18 games and started 13 in all competitions, and was recently made to train with Mario Balotelli and Fabio Borini. The last man standing, Enrique will surely benefit from being an actual human left-back and should provide countryman Alberto Moreno with plenty of competition.
— Hardy (@hardlyavailable) June 7, 2015
Just look at that belt. How can you not rate that guy?
- Joao Carlos Teixeira. It’s a strange fate that has befallen Joao Carlos Teixeira at Liverpool this season. Voted Brighton’s Young Player of the Year last year after finishing the season as their top scorer, it was widely accepted that the Portuguese midfielder would either go out on loan once more or play a part in the Reds’ first-team squad. A return to Brighton was briefly mooted but never came to fruition, and when the 22-year-old was named in Rodgers’ Premier League squad, it appeared he would be given a chance to impress. Alas, no. Liverpool’s Academy Player of the Year last season continues to shine for the Under-21s, but is a non-entity with the seniors.
- Mamadou Sakho. Just to reiterate a point Dave Tindall made in his 16 Conclusions on the Merseyside derby, this misconception that Mamadou Sakho is poor in possession simply has to stop. His adeptness in picking out both short and long passes makes Mr. ‘Death By Football’ Rodgers’ insistence on not using him all the more baffling. A more worrying thought is that without Dejan Lovren’s injury, the Croat would have reprised his role at the heart of defence alongside Martin Skrtel heading into the new year, with Sakho twiddling his thumbs on the bench (if that). In an era of defensive uncertainty at Liverpool, the reliable Sakho needs to be handed a regular role.
- Emre Can. Right-back, centre-half, defensive midfield. Emre Can can and should play in only one of these positions; it really is that simple. The £9.75million signing from Bayer Leverkusen is cited as one of Rodgers’ few transfer successes, but this is a label built purely on hope and promise rather than proof. Mooted (ridiculously) as the successor to Steven Gerrard, the impeccably haired Can is at a crucial crossroads in his career. If a manager with the necessary nous and acumen arrives to play a central midfielder in central midfield, Can will surely prosper. The alternative is too worrying to ponder with regards to the career of a 21-year-old who earned his first international cap this season.
- Roberto Firmino. Liverpool are basically suffering a budget version of the dilemma facing Manchester City. Where the league leaders have David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne as their options in the famed No 10 role, the Reds have the slightly less sexy (but still quite sexy) pair of Firmino and Philippe Coutinho. The £22million signing from Hoffenheim has shown the briefest of glimpses of talent upon his arrival at Anfield, but the majority of his games have come from an unfamiliar role on the right-hand side. Any new manager will be faced with the task of accommodating both Firmino and Coutinho in roles that benefit not only the two of them, but the side as a whole. As a result, the 24-year-old should expect more chances to shine upon his return from a back injury.