Premier League • England

Klopp favourite among two ‘obvious contenders’ Liverpool plan to sell in Bellingham fundraising mission

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool v Derby Carabao Cup

Liverpool have reportedly identified two players they could sell as they aim to raise funds for a bid for Jude Bellingham – but those exits won’t be enough on their own.

Bellingham is one of Liverpool’s top targets for the summer as they aim to rebuild their midfield. The England international has shone for Borussia Dortmund and could be brought back to his home country.

However, Bellingham has become one of the most in-demand talents across Europe. Therefore, Liverpool will not have a clear run at his signature.

Aware of the growing interest in his services, Borussia Dortmund could be preparing to auction off Bellingham in the summer. The price could escalate to a high value that may be hard for Liverpool to reach.

Therefore, they will need to find ways of funding their pursuit of Bellingham. In turn, some of their current players are now facing uncertain futures.

According to The Athletic, there are two “obvious contenders” to be sold by Liverpool. Even so, the strategy may not be as straight-forward as it has been in the past.

The report has named Caoimhin Kelleher and Nat Phillips as the players Liverpool could cash in on.

Kelleher is currently serving as Liverpool’s backup goalkeeper, behind Alisson Becker in the pecking order. Jurgen Klopp has frequently praised the Irishman, even describing him as the best second-choice shot-stopper in the world.

However, as he is now 24 years old, there is a recognition that Kelleher deserves more opportunities elsewhere. Thus, eight years after acquiring him for their academy, Liverpool could accept a bid for Alisson’s deputy.

Nat Phillips also likely to leave Liverpool

Meanwhile, Phillips progressed patiently from Liverpool’s academy to the first team. He took his chance when Klopp was dealing with an injury crisis in defence in early 2021, but has not been called upon much since.

With his 26th birthday coming up in March, the former Stuttgart and Bournemouth loanee simply needs to find somewhere he can make the most of his career.

However, The Athletic‘s article does not mention any suitors for either player. Besides, there is the acknowledgement that whatever Liverpool can recoup for both of them will still be nowhere near Bellingham’s value.

In contrast, Liverpool have previously managed to regenerate their team on a low net spend. Now, though, there are no big names for them to easily sacrifice, unless they opt to deprive themselves of an already vital player.

Bellingham’s value is only going up, so a problem is developing. Given his long-term potential, he could be worth putting a lot of money into, but Liverpool still have to find a way to make it reasonable.

Every decision starts somewhere, though, and it seems their first steps in this regard could be to offload Kelleher and Phillips.

Both have had their moments for Liverpool, but the sensible thing should be to move on. They are both of an age where they could get more regular gametime, even if that isn’t for a club as big as Liverpool.

But with Klopp happy with the jobs they have done, they should be able to leave with their heads held high.

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