The 34 first-team Liverpool players let go by Klopp & how they’ve fared since

Quick Reads

Since becoming Liverpool manager in October 2015, Jurgen Klopp has overseen a huge overhaul of his squad. 

While injuries may have scuppered their 2020-21 campaign, the changes have undoubtedly paid dividends as Liverpool have won Champions League and Premier League titles under the German.

We’ve taken a look at the 34 players to leave the Reds on a permanent basis since Klopp took over to see how they have subsequently fared. Note: we’ve only included players who have made five or more first-team appearances for Liverpool. Apologies to Lawrence Vigouroux.

Jordan Rossiter 

Despite scoring on his senior debut in a 2-2 draw with Middlesbrough, Rossiter only made four further appearances for his boyhood club. 

The midfielder signed for Rangers at the expiration of his Liverpool contract in 2016 but his time in Scotland was blighted by injury problems. 

After spending 2019-20 on loan at Fleetwood Town, he joined the League One side on a permanent deal and has established himself as a first-team regular.

Jose Enrique

Enrique was released by Liverpool in 2016 and spent a year back in Spain with Real Zaragoza before hanging up his boots due to a recurring knee injury.

Just eight months after retiring as a player, the Spaniard was diagnosed with a very rare brain tumour but has since made a full recovery. 

Joao Teixeira

Despite only making seven first-team appearances under Klopp, Teixeira still holds the Liverpool manager in high regard. 

“The style of play and the way Jurgen pulls on players is unique, but I believe he’d be successful in any way for the quality he has,” Teixeira told Record in November 2020.

“He’s special for the personal relationship he has with the players, as well as for the tactical work. He’s a master. He manages to combine the two and that is what makes him so successful.

“He’s a person who likes to be in touch, in a good mood, it’s easy to have a good relationship with him.”

The Portuguese midfielder returned to his homeland and joined Porto in 2016 but similarly failed to establish himself at the Estadio do Dragao. After spending two years at Vitoria Guimaraes, he is now on the books of Dutch side Feyenoord. 

Jerome Sinclair

Sinclair became Liverpool’s youngest ever player after coming off the bench in a League Cup tie against West Brom in 2012 at the age of 16 years and six days.

He swapped Anfield for Watford in 2016 following a contract dispute but has failed to live up to the early hype. 

The 24-year-old is now into his fifth loan spell away from Vicarage Road, currently plying his trade in Bulgaria with CSKA Sofia. 

Christian Benteke

Signed by Brendan Rodgers in 2015, Benteke didn’t fit into Klopp’s style of play and was quickly ushered out of the door. 

The Belgium international joined Crystal Palace in a £27million deal and hit the ground running with 17 goals in his debut campaign in 2016-17.

Since then, he has endured a torrid time, scoring just 11 goals in all competitions for Roy Hodgson’s side.

Jordon Ibe

There were hopes at Anfield that Ibe could follow in the footsteps of Raheem Sterling, but he was ultimately sold to Bournemouth for £15million in 2016 – with his potential underlined by the fact Liverpool insisted on a buyback clause.

Having scored five goals in 92 appearances for the Cherries, the winger was released in 2020 and joined Derby County on a free transfer.

The 25-year-old has featured only once as a substitute for the Rams and recently opened up about his struggles with depression. 

Joe Allen

After being deemed surplus to requirements by Klopp, Allen completed a £13million move to Stoke City in the summer of 2016.

“I actually had a text message off a friend congratulating me about making the move when I didn’t even know it was happening at the time,” Allen told the Daily Telegraph in 2017.

“Not knowing whether the club intend to sell you or keep you, especially when you’re trying to ask the question, is disappointing.”

The Wales international is now in his fifth season with the Potters and has made over 170 appearances in all competitions.

Martin Skrtel

Skrtel completed a £5.5million move to Fenerbache in 2016, spending three years in Turkey before an extremely short-lived spell with Serie A side Atalanta.

The centre-back then returned to Turkey with Istanbul Basaksehir and played a key role in their 2019-20 Super Lig title-winning campaign. 

He impressed in their Champions League victory over Manchester United but had his contract terminated by mutual consent in January 2021 after suffering a season-ending injury.

Brad Smith

Smith surprisingly made 11 first-team appearances for Liverpool, more than he managed during his four years at Bournemouth. 

After loan spells at Seattle Sounders and Cardiff City, the Australia international joined the former on a permanent deal in 2020.

Kolo Toure

Toure saw out his playing career in style, winning a Treble and going unbeaten throughout the entire domestic campaign with Celtic in 2016-17.

Entirely befitting of the great man.

READ: A celebration of Kolo Toure: Likeable, hilarious, and also very, very good

Luis Alberto

Signed from Sevilla for £6.8million in the summer of 2013, Alberto failed to make a lasting impact at Anfield.

The Spain international was loaned to Malaga and Deportivo La Coruna before being offloaded to Lazio in 2016, where he has managed to rediscover the form that convinced Liverpool to sign him in the first place.

He was also part of the side that beat Atalanta in the 2019 Coppa Italia final.

Mario Balotelli

In a move that was best for everybody, Klopp allowed Ballotelli to join Nice on a free transfer in the summer of 2016.

“It (joining Liverpool) was the worst mistake of my life,” Balotelli told Canal Plus in 2016. “Apart from the fans, who were fantastic with me, and some of the players who I really got on with, I didn’t like the club.”

The striker tried to rebuild his career in France – showing flashes of brilliance – before signing for hometown club Brescia in 2019.

After being released at the end of 2019-20, he joined Serie B side Monza in December 2020 and scored with his first touch for the club.

Mamadou Sakho

While Sakho impressed during Klopp’s first season at the club, a string of disciplinary issues culminated in his £26million move to Crystal Palace in 2017.

The defender made a bright start to his Palace career but has been plagued by injury problems over the last two seasons and has just three months left on his contract.

Lucas Leiva

A Liverpool cult hero, Lucas ended his 10-year stay at Anfield to join Serie A side Lazio in 2017.

“Things change but Lucas is a special case,” Klopp told ESPN in 2017. “He asked for [to leave]. I would say he’s a friend. He’s a fantastic person.

“How I know and how he knows, he has a few issues when he’s not playing! But we always had a very respectful understanding.

“It was really good. When he left, we both had a little tear in our eye. It was really a special moment.”

Since leaving Liverpool, he has proved just as popular with Lazio fans, winning their Player of the Year award in his first two seasons at the club.

READ: Lucas Leiva made himself a Liverpool hero – now he’s doing the same at Lazio

Kevin Stewart

After failing to establish himself in Klopp’s side, Stewart completed an £8million move to Hull City in 2017 in search of regular first-team football.

The 27-year-old made 78 appearances during his three seasons with the Tigers and recently joined Blackpool in League One.

Andre Wisdom

Wisdom never played under Klopp and, after four loans in four years, he signed for Derby County on a permanent deal in 2017.

The defender is now approaching 100 appearances for the Rams and has recently captained Frank Lampard’s Wayne Rooney’s Derby County.

Philippe Coutinho

Winning a Treble since leaving Liverpool suggests Coutinho made the right decision. Admittedly, it did come after being bombed out on loan by the club he decided to join…

Cameron Brannagan

After a contract dispute, Brannagan left Liverpool in January 2018 and sealed a permanent switch to Oxford United, ending his 16-year association with the Reds.

“It was a bit different because I had been at the club for so long, but it was a move that I had to make for myself,” Brannagan told the Liverpool Echo in November 2019.

“I wasn’t playing regular football and I was playing bit-part Under-23s. You get to a stage where you’ve got to go and play wherever you want. I wanted to go and prove what I’m worth, what I’m about, and Oxford gave me that chance.”

He won their Players’ Player of the Year Award for the 2018-19 season and was linked with a move back to the Premier League in 2020 with Burnley and Leeds reportedly interested.

Ragnar Klavan

Since leaving Liverpool in 2018, Klavan has made 60 appearances for Serie A side Cagliari, but they are currently in the relegation zone

Emre Can

After allowing his Liverpool contract to run down, Can signed for Juventus on a free transfer in 2018 and ended his first season in Turin as a Serie A champion.

The midfielder fell out of favour under Maurizio Sarri and joined Borussia Dortmund in 2020 despite reported interest from Manchester United.

He’s now playing regularly again but probably still regrets rejecting that Liverpool contract offer.

Jon Flanagan

Injuries prevented Flanagan from building on a breakthrough 2013-14 campaign, and he played just nine games under Klopp before joining Rangers in 2018.

Despite playing under former team-mate Steven Gerrard, the full-back failed to make a major impact in Scotland.

He joined Charleroi on a free transfer in November 2020 but is yet to make his debut for the Belgian side.

Lazar Markovic

Markovic had loan spells at Fenerbahce, Sporting Lisbon, Hull City and Anderlecht before joining Fulham on a permanent deal in January 2019, but he only made one appearance for the Cottagers and was released a few months later.

The Serbia international returned to boyhood club Partizan Belgrade and is enjoying the best form of his career, registering eight goals and six assists in 2020-21.

Dominic Solanke

The third player on this list to swap Liverpool for Bournemouth, Solanke struggled in the Premier League but has 11 goals in 32 Championship appearances for the Cherries this season.

Danny Ings

Ings snapped his cruciate ligaments during Klopp’s first training session as Liverpool boss and spent most of the next two years on the sidelines.

After a productive loan spell at Southampton in 2018-19, he joined his boyhood club on a permanent deal for £20million in 2019.

The striker has rediscovered his best form with the Saints, scoring 30 goals in 60 Premier League appearances over the last two seasons. What could’ve been…

Simon Mignolet

Having lost his place in the team to Loris Karius and then Alisson Becker, Mignolet decided to join Club Brugge in 2019.

The goalkeeper has been an ever-present for the Belgian side and is on course to win his second consecutive Jupiler Pro League title

Alberto Moreno

Moreno fell behind Andy Robertson in the pecking order at Anfield and joined Villarreal at the expiration of his Liverpool contract in 2019.

Injuries have restricted the left-back to just 18 La Liga appearances over the last two seasons. But we’re delighted to say he’s still as weird as ever.

Daniel Sturridge

Sturridge has been without a club since leaving Turkish side Trabzonspor in March 2020 after being handed a four-month ban for breaching betting rules.

“We have options around the world but I’m an English player and I’ve always loved playing in the Premier League,” Sturridge told Sky Sports in August 2020.

“I believe I’ve got a lot to give to the Premier League and I would say that’s my first choice. I do feel I have unfinished business so I would like to go back and play there.

“I’m open to playing in other leagues, it’s not just the Premier League I’m going to consider, but to come back to England and give my best would be a huge option for me. I’m very excited, I’m hungrier than ever and I’m totally focused on the next chapter.”

Adam Bogdan

Bogdan didn’t feature for Hibernian in 2019-20 and has made just two first-team appearances since returning to his native Hungary with Ferencvaros.

Connor Randall

Randall’s path into the first team was blocked by Trent Alexander-Arnold, and the right-back was released at the end of 2018-19.

“I’d been at Liverpool for nearly 20 years,” Randall told us in January 2020. “There were tears when I said goodbye to everybody at the training ground who I had known for years, including all the chefs and security guys.

“I was in the last year of my contract and I knew I wasn’t going to be offered another one, so it didn’t come as a shock.”

He made a surprise move to Bulgarian top-flight side FC Arda Kardzhali before returning to these shores with Scottish side Ross County in 2020.

READ: Connor Randall talks Liverpool exit, Jurgen Klopp & life in Bulgaria

Pedro Chirivella

Chirivella moved to Nantes on a free transfer in 2020, where he has already made more appearances than he did during his time at Liverpool.

“I only have words of gratefulness [to Klopp],” Chirivella told Nantes’ official website in 2020. “He’s been very great to me, and I can only thank him.

“What you see on TV is what he is like in real life. I will tell my kids and my grandkids that I was trained by one of the best coaches in the history of football.”

Dejan Lovren

Lovren enjoyed a dream start to his Zenit Saint Petersburg career, winning the Russian Super Cup on his debut before scoring on his second league appearance for the club.

The Croatia international has put in a series of assured performances at the back and was appointed club captain in November.

“I never regret anything and this is a feeling I don’t allow in my head,” Lovren told Zenit’s official website in January.

“I made the decision to leave Liverpool. I wasn’t feeling happy there towards the end, because I wasn’t playing. I am happy that I decided to come here and I think they miss me more than I miss them.

“Jurgen Klopp knows that, we sometimes chat and he once wrote to me that he misses me. I did not answer that.”

Ovie Ejaria

Following loan spells at Sunderland, Rangers and Reading, Ejaria joined the latter on a permanent deal for a fee in the region of £3million in 2020.

The 23-year-old is one of the first names on their team sheet and has registered two goals and five assists in the Championship this season.

Adam Lallana

Despite being one of Klopp’s favourite players, Lallana joined Brighton on a free transfer in 2020 in search of regular first-team football.

He been restricted to just 13 Premier League starts for the Seagulls due to injury issues and illness but has still displayed glimpses of his talent.

Nathaniel Clyne

After being released by Liverpool, Clyne returned to boyhood club Crystal Palace in October 2020 and has made 14 appearances this season.


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