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Was Klopp’s loss another club’s gain? Here’s how 10 players cast aside by Liverpool got on

Date Posted,May 26, 2017

There was a mass exodus from Liverpool last season as Jurgen Klopp streamlined his squad for a campaign without European competition.

The manager deemed 10 players who featured in 2015/16 were surplus to requirements, seven of them for a fee and three on free transfers.

So with most focus on the transfer window being on incomings, we study how well the Reds sold last campaign.

Did the 10 departing players kick on and make Klopp regret casting them aside or was his decision vindicated?

Or to put another way, was it good for the club, player, both or neither?

Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace, £27.5million)

What happened? Liverpool decided to part with the previous summer’s most expensive signing after the affable Belgian was found to be unsuited to Klopp’s style.

Did it work out for Liverpool? They received nearly £30million for a player who would have been an option from the bench at best – but there is a lingering feeling he would have proven useful in the winter particularly. No player was breaking up the foursome of Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino when fit, but Benteke would have provided a good alternative.

Benteke’s move appears to have worked out for both parties (Photo: REUTERS)

Did it work out for Benteke? Though Palace struggled, changing manager half way through the season and only confirming safety in the penultimate game of the season, Benteke had a good season. Underrated, even, with his contributions in front of goal – his 15 goals represented his second-best league haul in English football.

Jordon Ibe (Bournemouth, £15million)

What happened? After his potential went unfulfilled, Liverpool opted to take a generous offer from Bournemouth for the young winger.

Did it work out for Liverpool? There would be a temptation to say no, given the lack of width they suffered in the absence of Mane. But he had such a poor season on the South Coast, taking the money was certainly the more favourable choice.

Jordan Ibe’s time at Bournemouth hasn’t exactly worked out (Photo: AFP/Getty)

Did it work out for Ibe? Not really. He was expected to reignite his career under Eddie Howe, but the Cherries boss publicly called his record signing a “disappointment” following an FA Cup defeat to Millwall. He would start just 13 league games, two in 2017, scoring no goals.

Joe Allen (Stoke, £12million)

What happened? After a stunning Euro 2016 for Wales, there was a hope Liverpool would opt to retain the midfielder. But with chances limited, and with just a year left on his deal, he headed to Stoke.

Did it work out for Liverpool? Allen was not of the sufficient quality to allow his contract to run down, so selling him was the right decision. That said, given Jordan Henderson and Lallana missed crucial parts of the season, his experience and ball retention would have been an asset.

Did it work out for Allen? On a personal level, definitely. Given a more advanced role of heightened importance, he was one of the Potters’ best performers. He was an unlikely source of goals earlier in the campaign, scoring four by October, but ended the season with just a further two. Stoke, meanwhile, could only finish 13th.

Joe Allen would have been an asset had he stayed at Anfield (Photo: Rex Features)

Martin Skrtel (Fenerbahce, £5million)

What happened? One of the club’s most loyal servants, his time at Anfield came to an end under Klopp after some fairly poor performances. The writing was on the wall when he started just four games after a nightmare showing against Watford in December 2015.

Did it work out for Liverpool? The defensive set-up was criticised by many throughout the season, but Skrtel would not have improved it. Good business from the Reds.

Did it work out for Skrtel? In an easier league, Skrtel has thrived – and even scored an amazing solo goal in March against Konyaspor. He has started 30 league games in Turkey as his side look to finish third.

Martin Skrtel
Martin Skrtel has shone in Turkey but not been missed by Liverpool (Photo: Reuters)

Tiago Ilori (Reading, £3.5million)

What happened? Ilori finally made his debut for Liverpool in January 2016, two-and-a-half years after signing for £7million. In January, having made just three appearances and with Championship side Reading bidding for him, the Reds decided to cash in.

Did it work out for Liverpool? Definitely. The centre-back never looked like a first-team prospect in his three FA Cup outings for Klopp, and Liverpool were well-stocked in defence this season. He was nothing more than an Under-23s player by the end of his time on Merseyside.

Did it work out for Ilori? He has struggled for minutes in Berkshire, making seven league appearances and starting just three. That said, he has recently come into the team, and played the 90 minutes in their play-off semi-final win over Fulham last week. Jaap Stam’s side could be promoted on Monday, and he could be heading to the Premier League.

Tiago Ilori may have found his level with Reading, but could soon be back to prove Liverpool wrong in the Premier League (Photo: Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC)

Brad Smith (Bournemouth, £3million)

What happened? The Australian left back made a breakthrough under Klopp in 2015/16, making nine league appearances, but the possibility of bringing in an eventual £6million for his services was too tempting to turn down.

Did it work out for Liverpool? Would he have been a better option than Alberto Moreno this season? Klopp quickly relegated the Spaniard to the bench as James Milner became first-choice left back, but Smith would have realistically been behind both in the pecking order.

Did it work out for Smith? Not really, making just three starts for the Cherries in the Premier League, and featuring for a total of 270 minutes.

Brad Smith hasn’t seen the game time he would have liked at Bournemouth (Photo: Alex Livesey)

Mario Balotelli (Nice, free)

What happened? After years of trying to offload him, and a short while on the US tour this season, the Reds finally managed it – on a free transfer – to French club Nice.

Did it work out for Liverpool? Yes. He was out of their hair and off their wage bill.

Did it work out for Balotelli? Yes. He scored 15 league goals for the first time in his career as Nice finished third. The Italian was also out of Liverpool, which he described as “the worst decision of my life” back in September.

Leaving Liverpool for Nice has worked out for the club and Mario Balotelli, and Nice. (Photo: Getty)

Joao Carlos Teixeira (Porto, free)

What happened? Seen as a real prospect after signing from Sporting as a teenager, Teixeira’s contract would run down, allowing him to move back to Portugal with Porto.

Did it work out for Liverpool? Despite the belief Teixeira was primed for greatness, he is now 24 and is nowhere of the level of Liverpool’s other forwards. He is no real loss.

Did it work out for Teixeira? Eight appearances for Porto in the league – all as substitute and amounting to 72 minutes – suggests not. His career is at a crossroads.

Joao Carlos Teixeira hasn't even played 90 minutes in total for Porto
Liverpool’s Joao Carlos Teixeira (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)

Kolo Toure (Celtic, free)

What happened? Arguably Liverpool’s best player in his final game – the Europa League final against Sevilla – the Ivorian left Anfield a cult hero after the club decided not to renew his contract. He reunited with the man who brought him to Merseyside, Brendan Rodgers, at Celtic.

Did it work out for Liverpool? His experience was missed at times, but he would not have featured much on the pitch. Centre-half is not a position the Reds have been light on this season, and he’s now 36.

Did it work out for Toure? He didn’t feature much under Rodgers, making just nine appearances in the league. He did, however, predict his new club would go unbeaten all season – and Celtic did just that, romping to the Scottish Premiership after 34 wins and four draws.

Kolo Toure looks dejected after Andre Hahn scored the second goal
Kolo Toure hasn’t been missed by the Reds or used extensively by Celtic (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)

Luis Alberto (Lazio, £4million)

What happened? His underwhelming debut season of 2013/14 proved to be his only one at Anfield, with the Spaniard spending time on loan with Malaga and Deportivo, before being snapped up this summer to play in Serie A.

Did it work out for Liverpool? Undoubtedly. Alberto was never going to be an option for Klopp at Liverpool, so recouping some of what the Reds paid Sevilla was a bonus.

Did it work out for Alberto? Lazio have done well and look set for a fourth-placed finish, but it has little to do with the 24-year-old. Just four league starts overall with one goal, and he might be heading elsewhere next season.

Others who departed: Sergi Canos, Jerome Sinclair, Jose Enrique, Jordan Rossiter

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