Where are they now? The last Liverpool XI to play in the Europa League
It’s been over seven years since Liverpool last played in the Europa League and that got us thinking about the last Reds XI to compete in Europe’s secondary competition.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have enjoyed six consecutive seasons of Champions League football, but they will compete in the Europa League this year after narrowly missing out on the top four last time around.
The Reds went incredibly close to winning the Europa League last time they were in the competition as they made it all the way to the final. Europa League experts Sevilla were triumphant on the night though as they ran out as 3-1 victors.
We’ve revisited the Liverpool XI from May 2016 and have checked out what they are up to these days.
GK: Simon Mignolet
The Belgian goalkeeper racked up over 200 appearances for Liverpool during his six-year stay. Upon the arrival of Alisson Becker, Mignolet’s first team opportunities became more limited and he soon made the decision to leave.
“Of course, I could have stayed with Liverpool to earn my money, challenge for the league title and the Champions League,” Mignolet told reporters.
“However, as long as you are not on the starting XI yourself, a price feels different. So I would rather play as the starter at Club Brugge than grab the English title as a substitute at Liverpool.”
The 35-year-old seems to be enjoying life back in Belgium as he has already won five trophies with Club Brugge since joining them back in 2019.
RB: Nathaniel Clyne
Following a promising start at Anfield, a series of injuries hampered Clyne from reaching the next level. In his last three seasons for the club he made just seven league appearances as he was often forced to watch from the sidelines.
Upon his contract with Liverpool expiring, the full-back rejoined boyhood club Crystal Palace where he still plays to this day.
CB: Dejan Lovren
The Croatian defender played a crucial role in Liverpool’s run to the Europa League final as he scored the winning goal in Liverpool’s 4-3 quarter-final triumph against Borussia Dortmund.
Upon the signings of Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk, Lovren was slowly eased out of the starting XI under Klopp. After only featuring in 10 league matches during his final season, Lovren took the decision to join Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2020.
After three years in Russia, he now turns out for Lyon.
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) April 14, 2023
CB: Kolo Toure (Christian Benteke, 83′)
Upon Toure’s contract at Anfield expiring in 2016, Klopp wanted to keep the defender around in a coaching role. While this was of interest to the defender, he wasn’t quite ready to hang up his boots and so decided to join Celtic instead.
The 42-year-old has since gone into coaching, but the less said about his short stint with Wigan Athletic the better. Toure only lasted nine games in the job and is now on the lookout for his next role.
Benteke never quite made the grade at Anfield as he was binned by Klopp at the first opportunity. Still going strong at 32, he’s now turning out for D.C. United under Wayne Rooney.
LB: Alberto Moreno
The Spanish full-back missed out on the Europa League trophy with Liverpool, but he got his hands on the prize with Villarreal just a few years later. Even sweeter for Moreno was the fact that his side took down Manchester United in the final.
"Get out, Man United!" 👋
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 27, 2021
CM: James Milner
An ever-present in Klopp’s Liverpool side, Milner won seven trophies with the Reds and racked up over 300 appearances. After eight years of service, the 37-year-old called it quits on his Liverpool career in the summer.
Now playing for Brighton, Milner is only 29 appearances away from breaking the all-time Premier League appearances record. Given his ridiculous work ethic, we wouldn’t put it past him surpassing Gareth Barry’s record this season.
CM: Emre Can
The German midfielder took the decision to leave Liverpool in 2018 as he claimed a desire to win trophies was the main motivation behind his move to Juventus. Funnily enough, he would have won considerably more had he stuck around at Anfield instead.
He did get his hands on a couple of trophies with Juventus, but his time in Italy was pretty underwhelming. Now playing for Borussia Dortmund, he has had an eye-catching moment or two.
RM: Adam Lallana (Joe Allen, 73′)
“I think we all agree if Adam had been a little bit less injured he could have been on another level,” Klopp told reporters upon Lallana’s departure in 2020. “One of the best players I’ve ever worked with, an absolutely incredible person as well.”
Perhaps one of the more underrated players from the Klopp era, Lallana often produced the magic when a spark was required. Even at 35, he’s still got some of that magic left in his boots as he continues to impress for Brighton.
Allen only spent one year working under Klopp before he moved to Stoke in a deal worth a reported £13million. The Welsh midfielder has spent the last six years in the Championship and now plays for Swansea.
CAM: Roberto Firmino (Divock Origi, 69′)
After achieving almost everything at the club, Firmino will unboundedly go down as a modern-day legend. The Brazilian forward was one-third of one of the deadliest attacking trios the Premier League has ever seen, but he admitted it was the right time to leave this summer.
“The cycle here is ended and I understand it is time to go,” Firmino explained. “I am very proud for everything that I have done here with the team, what we achieved together and the beautiful history we made together. It was absolutely incredible. We are leaving a great legacy.”
Like many other Premier League stars, Firmino made the jump to the Saudi Pro League and is now among the highest-paid players in the world.
While Origi doesn’t quite have the legendary status that Firmino holds, he is a cult hero at Anfield. The Belgian forward popped up with plenty of clutch goals for the Reds and he is now back in the Premier League with Nottingham Forest.
Roberto Firmino | All Liverpool goals pic.twitter.com/CvXvnuQkig
— K (@KeiLFC8) September 15, 2023
LM: Philippe Coutinho
Coutinho’s move to Barcelona stung Reds fans at the time, but the £142million transfer worked out in Liverpool’s favour in the end. The Brazilian showcased fleeting moments of quality elsewhere, but has been unable to properly recapture that same spark he had at Anfield.
After his Barcelona career went down the pan, he did show some signs of life at Aston Villa, but that resurgence was short-lived. Aged 31, Coutinho will spend the season on loan with Qatari side Al-Duhail.
ST: Daniel Sturridge
The former England forward gave Liverpool the lead in the Europa League final before Sevilla promptly bit back with three goals of their own. During his prime, Sturridge was a force to be reckoned with.
Injuries have hampered him in his later career though and after short spells with Trabzonspor and Perth Glory, he currently finds himself as a free agent. These days you can catch him on punditry duty for Sky Sports, although he’s not yet announced his retirement from playing.
Daniel Sturridge singing Usher on Super Sunday pic.twitter.com/87ncArcoPR
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 13, 2023