The players Liverpool have let go – and the regrets Jurgen Klopp could have

Once the international break is done, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool will meet familiar foes.

Christian Benteke and Mamadou Sakho are two of a number the German coach has decided to sell since taking charge in October 2015.

Some departures were inevitable; others surprising for their timing, if nothing else.

But few, if any, are tinged with regret.

If Liverpool are gaining a reputation for buying well, then they also deserve credit for their work in securing good deals for outgoing talent.

Here is a rundown of every player the Reds have sold under Klopp – free transfers excluded – and an assessment of whether Liverpool were proven right to do so.


Some of those Liverpool have let go

Sergi Canos (£4.5million, Norwich, summer 2016)

How has he done? After a brief spell with Norwich, the Spaniard returned to Brentford last January, where he has developed into a good Championship player. Still just 21, he is a regular feature out wide for the Bees and continues to improve.

Do Liverpool regret it? Perhaps in the future, but even then, he would never have been handed the first team exposure needed to improve. He’s a solid hand but the Reds have Harry Wilson, Ryan Kent and Sheyi Ojo waiting in the wings.

Martin Skrtel (£5.5million, Fenerbahce, summer 2016)

How has he done? After a decent first season with Fenerbahce, appearing in all but three league games as the Istanbul club finished third, the Slovakian has struggled with fitness and consistency in 2017/18. His side remain in the race for the title, sitting six points off leaders Galatasaray in fourth.

Do Liverpool regret it? Not at all. For all the criticism Liverpool’s back line – before the arrival of Virgil van Dijk, at least – Skrtel needed a move away from Anfield after a difficult time under Jurgen Klopp.

Jermain Defoe of AFC Bournemouth celebrates with team-mate Jordon Ibe after scoring his team’s second goal during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Brighton and Hove Albion at Vitality Stadium on September 15, 2017 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Jordon Ibe (£15million, Bournemouth, summer 2016)

How has he done? Better than how he began life at Bournemouth, for sure. The winger started just 13 games last season and was criticised by Eddie Howe after an FA Cup defeat to Milwall, with the Cherries boss saying he was ‘disappointed’ with his output. But he’s looked sharper this season, registering eight assists and scoring two goals.

Do Liverpool regret it? Even with his recent upturn in fortunes, no. Ibe is developing at Bournemouth but doesn’t look like becoming the player he could have.

Joe Allen (£13million, Stoke, summer 2016)

How has he done? He has established himself at Stoke and already has managed more goals in 70 appearances (10) than he scored in 132 games for Liverpool (7). A mainstay in the Potters’ midfield, the Welshman nevertheless is battling to remain in the Premier League with his Stoke side struggling.

Do Liverpool regret it? There are occasions – fleeting ones – where his composure on the ball could be an asset. But as Liverpool’s play has moved up a level under Klopp, it is hard to imagine how Allen would have a telling impact.

Brad Smith (£6million, Bournemouth, summer 2016)

How has he done? Not great. After 11 appearances last season – with three starts in the Premier League – the Australian has made just three outings in this campaign, none of them in the league. It has been a year interrupted with injury, too.

Do Liverpool regret it? No. The left back situation is stronger than it has been in a while at Anfield, and Smith would struggle to break through.

Christian Benteke (£32million, Crystal Palace, summer 2016)

How has he done? So so. A quietly excellent season in his first at Selhurst Park saw him notch 15 league goals, including two in the win at Anfield, which remains Liverpool’s last home defeat in the Premier League. But the Belgian failed to score for Palace until December 16 this season, and has notched just one further goal since.

Do Liverpool regret it? On last year’s form, perhaps. On this year’s form, definitely not. Still, his unsuitability under Klopp was evident, even as the lauded ‘Plan B’. Given the decent fee the Reds received, there can be few regrets.

Luis Alberto (£6million, Lazio, summer 2016)

How has he done? Better than most. The Spanish midfielder has flourished at Lazio and become one of Serie A’s breakout stars, assisting 11 goals in 28 league games, and featuring in all-but-one game.

Do Liverpool regret it? A classic example of a good player in the wrong set-up. With more time on the ball in the slower Italian league, Alberto flourishes. He wouldn’t be able to produce what he does in the Premier League, and playing the high intensity Klopp demands.

Tiago Ilori (£3.75million, Reading, winter 2017)

How has he done? He almost gained promotion with Reading last season, only to see Huddersfield pip them on penalties in the play-offs. This campaign has been more difficult, with the Royals fighting for survival and the Portuguese defender spending portions of the season on the bench.

Do Liverpool regret it? Not at all. He isn’t good enough for Liverpool.

Andre Wisdom (£4.5million, Derby, summer 2017)

How has he done? After a nomadic existence in what seemed a perennial state of being loaned, he earned himself a permanent deal with Derby last summer. He has had spells both in and out of the team as the Rams push for promotion.

Do Liverpool regret it? Wisdom is 24 – 25 in May – and his potential could only go unfulfilled so long. The defender would not fit into the current set-up, with Nathaniel Clyne, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold an embarrassment of riches at right back.

Lucas Leiva (£5million, Lazio, summer 2017)

How has he done? He’s a goalscoring machine. To a degree. The Brazilian has scored two in two for the Rome club – three in total this season – in an impressive debut campaign. Acting as the shield to the back four, he has thrived with the new challenge, helping his team into Champions League qualification contention.

Do Liverpool regret it? Holding on to a lead, with 10 minutes to go? Perhaps. Arguably one of the few players whose name would still belong on a match day squad. He had to leave for the good of his career, of course, but there are moments when his presence would be welcome.

Kevin Stewart (£8million, Hull, summer 2017)

How has he done? It hasn’t been a good season for the midfielder. The Tigers have seen a change in manager – with Leonid Slutsky being replaced by Nigel Adkins – and that’s resulted in him playing just three times since the turn of the year.

Do Liverpool regret it? No. Especially after the deal effectively saw Andy Robertson head to Anfield for little expenditure.

Mamadou Sakho (£26million, Crystal Palace, summer 2017)

How has he done? After a very successful loan spell last season, Sakho’s permanent move to Palace has been interrupted with injury. He’s made just 12 appearances this season, but did return for the win over Huddersfield last weekend. The Frenchman remains a big part of their defence.

Do Liverpool regret it? There are occasions when Sakho would seem a good option, even as fourth choice, but it would only serve to inhibit the progress of Joe Gomez.

Philippe Coutinho (£142million, Barcelona, winter 2018)

How has he done? Fairly quiet, in truth. The Brazilian’s £142million move was the biggest in January, but there has been no real immediate impact for a team already running away with the La Liga title. He’s scored three goals in 12 appearances and continues to adapt to life at Camp Nou.

Do Liverpool regret it? Tough to say. While the Reds have adapted to life without Coutinho – some would argue they have flourished in his absence – there is still a question of what damage Liverpool could do with him in midfield. The balance might be better without him, but the devastation would be increased with him.

Cameron Brannagan (£200,000, Oxford, winter 2018)

How has he done? The young midfielder has been fighting for fitness since joining Oxford in January, and has finally managed two consecutive 90-minute outings for the League One club.

Do Liverpool regret it? Not right now. He is a talented youngster but one who needed to move on to develop further.