Forgotten Liverpool man the likeliest of five to leave in January, with Klopp to make separate decision on £33m midfielder

Liverpool stars Alisson Becker, Thiago Alcantara, Joel Matip, Adrian and Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool have five senior stars out of contract next summer and one in particular could leave early next month, while a report claims a decision on a £33m midfielder will be made by Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool’s search for midfield reinforcements is poised to come to a head in 2023. Their admiration of Jude Bellingham is well known and the English ace would represent a fantastic albeit hugely expensive coup for the Reds.

Other targets heavily linked with a move to Merseyside include Enzo Fernandez and Sofyan Amrabat, to name just two. A mystery £88m offer has reportedly already been tabled for World Cup winner Fernandez.

Liverpool’s midfield has been crying out for an overhaul for far too long. However, another factor emboldening the club’s desire to sign new faces is the number of players in the final year of their contracts.

Indeed, James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all off contract at season’s end. Elsewhere, goalkeeper Adrian and forward Roberto Firmino are in the same boat.

Now, a report from ESPN has shed light on Liverpool’s plans for the quintet, with forgotten man Adrian deemed the only one likely to leave next month.

The Spanish veteran, 35, was a surprise free agent signing back in the summer of 2019. Simon Mignolet had just returned to Belgium with Club Brugge and Loris Karius was in the midst of a two-year loan at Besiktas.

Adrian made himself an instant hero with his penalty-saving heroics in the 2019 UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea. However, the emergence of Caoimhín Kelleher quickly bumped Adrian down to third choice.

The Irish international has excelled each and every time he’s been called upon in the cups. As such, Adrian has featured just twice across all competitions over the past two seasons.

ESPN state Adrian is the likeliest of Liverpool’s five players out of contract next summer to leave in January. Liverpool’s EFL Cup exit on Thursday night further lessens the need to retain a high profile number three.

The other four – Milner, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Firmino – will all reportedly be retained until the summer at least. The reasoning there stems from Liverpool’s continued struggles with injuries this season and not wanting to diminish their ranks further.

Firmino appears the player likeliest to earn a new contract of the quartet. The early signs over a multi-year extension were deemed positive in mid-December.

Klopp to decide on £33m midfielder

Elsewhere, a decision on what to do with Arthur Melo will reportedly be left at Klopp’s discretion.

The 26-year-old was a surprise loan signing from Juventus on deadline day last summer. The player’s agent recently detailed a head-shaking moment that finally made the Reds swoop.

Arthur arrived with a reputation for being injury-prone and unfortunately, has lived up to his name.

Arthur has featured just once so far and picked up a serious thigh injury that required surgery in October.

He’s since returned to fitness, though isn’t likely to be in contention for selection until late-January as Liverpool ease him back.

Liverpool hold an option to turn Arthur’s loan deal permanent to the tune of around £33m next summer. ESPN’s Mark Ogden reports that decision will be Klopp’s to make, though he might pull the plug early.

If it’s determined by Klopp and his coaching staff that Arthur isn’t going to contribute in the second half of the season, Ogden claims the loan cut be cut short.

Klopp has previously gone on record to suggest he won’t take that route. However, the Daily Express suggest axing Arthur early could be explored if it means Klopp can sign a more suitable replacement next month.

READ MORE: Klopp given ‘bad feeling’ by one part of Liverpool cup exit; provides double injury update