Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has named a 25-man squad for the upcoming tour of Hong Kong – and the players who have been left at home should be fearing the worst.
Sadio Mane is the exception as Klopp had already confirmed that the Senegalese forward would be left at Melwood to continue his recovery from injury (along with striker Danny Ings), but others are not in the same boat by any stretch.
Lucas Leiva has not been named as he prepares to leave in a £5m switch to Lazio, but another name conspicuous by his absence is defender Mamadou Sakho. Given the falling-out between Sakho and Klopp last season, it was highly unlikely he would be brought anyway, but the French defender must now realise in no uncertain terms that his Anfield career is over.
Sakho spent the first half of last season with Liverpool’s under-23 side and the second half on loan at Crystal Palace, but a permanent move to Selhurst Park fell through due to the Reds’ £30m price tag and the player’s own wage demands.
Another name not on the list is winger Lazar Markovic. The 23-year-old also spent last season away on loan (at Sporting CP and Hull City) and while he has been included in Klopp’s pre-season activity so far, this seems merely to have put him in the shop window. He has been linked with a reunion with Marco Silva at Watford, but Liverpool’s £20m valuation is again causing problems.
Promising winger Sheyi Ojo has also been left behind as he looks set to join a Championship club on loan, but youngster Ryan Kent has been taken along as has the highly-rated Ben Woodburn.
Jon Flanagan, whose loan spell at Burnley did not go to plan at all, is also on the plane, as are new signings Mohamed Salah and Dominic Solanke.
Klopp has suggested that high-profile departures in the summer would be kept to a minimum, so expect the vast majority of the named 25-man squad to be kept at the club (save, perhaps for Alberto Moreno) – a far cry from last summer’s mass exodus.
The tour of Hong Kong will last for six days and their involvement will comprise of two games – the first of which will be against Crystal Palace and the second against the winners of West Brom v Leicester.
Liverpool’s 25-man Squad To Tour Hong Kong
Goalkeepers: Loris Karius, Simon Mignolet, Danny Ward
Defenders: Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, James Milner, Joe Gomez, Ragnar Klavan, Alberto Moreno, Joel Matip, Jon Flanagan, Trent Alexander-Arnold
Midfielders: Gini Wijnaldum, Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson, Marko Grujic, Adam Lallana, Kevin Stewart, Ryan Kent
Forwards: Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, Dominic Solanke, Ben Woodburn
On this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish football podcast, we chatted to Shelbourne manager Owen Heary and looked ahead to Irish sides’ big week in Europe, as well as the usual League of Ireland news.