Duo’s emergence makes axing expensive Liverpool star an ‘easy’ decision
The rapid rise of two Liverpool youngsters has made a decision on whether to sever ties with a Jurgen Klopp signing an ‘easy’ one, according to a report.
The departure of Georginio Wijnaldum left Liverpool fans wondering who would be drafted in to replace the reliable Dutchman. A series of names were linked with filling the void, including Florian Neuhaus, Youri Tielemans and Saul Niguez.
However, news on the club’s midfielder hunt has since gone quiet. Instead, it appears the Reds could look closer to home.
After excelling on loan with Blackburn last season, Harvey Elliott has made a big impression in pre-season. The 18-year-old usually operates in the forward line, but has regularly featured in a midfield role during their friendlies.
Elliott is expected to remain with the first-team this season after being given a seal of approval from Klopp.
Additonally, greater responsibility could be placed on the shoulders of academy graduate, Curtis Jones.
Jones was a bright spark in what proved to be a disappointing campaign for Liverpool last season. Jones displayed maturity beyond his years in limited action, leaving fans with a sense the 20-year-old has a big future ahead.
And per the Express, it is the pair’s rapid rise that could spell the end for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The 27-year-old was recently linked with a return to boyhood club Southampton. The Saints are reportedly eyeing a loan deal, and harbour ambitions of bringing Takumi Minamino back for a second spell.
But in Oxlade-Chamberlain’s case, the Express deem Klopp and Liverpool’s decision is ‘easy’.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has been tasked with linking the midfield and forward line when starting. However, Thiago Alcantara is expected to assume that role this season, and Naby Keita and Elliot can provide viable back-up.
Playing in a deeper role could inhibit the development of Jones. That could be another factor behind why Liverpool are believed to be open to moving Oxlade-Chamberlain on.
He was unusually utilised as a No. 9 during their early pre-season encounters, though his impact was minimal.
As such, sanctioning Oxlade-Chamberlain’s exit may not be the difficult decision many might have initially expected.
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Dual Liverpool exits ramp up
Meanwhile, rumours that Xherdan Shaqiri and Nathaniel Phillips are close to leaving Liverpool have increased after Jurgen Klopp left the pair out of his squad to face Osasuna on Monday.
Phillips, 24, had made only one appearance for the north-west giants before last season. The central defender was loaned to Stuttgart for the 2019-2020 campaign.
He made 22 appearances in all competitions and was even recalled to Liverpool for one match before returning to Germany. But last season, the Bolton-born stopper proved invaluable as he stepped in to help the club’s injury crisis.
But his game time might be limited once again with the big boys now back in action. It was reported at the weekend that Newcastle United had ‘made contact’ with the defender over a possible move.
In Shaqiri’s case, Ligue 1 outfit Lyon were reported to have recently had an opening offer rejected. Though their willingness to act on their interest, combined with Shaqiri’s desire for a new challenge suggests a deal could ultimately be made.
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