Where are they now? Liverpool’s young FA Cup XI from Klopp’s first season

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Liverpool celebrate Philippe Coutinho goal in FA Cup fourth-round replay at West Ham

Jürgen Klopp led Liverpool to the League Cup and Europa League finals in his first season at Anfield – but a second-string side exited the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Angelo Ogbonna’s extra-time header saw the Reds dumped out at the hands of West Ham United in a midweek replay at Upton Park, with Klopp making 10 changes to the team he had picked in the Premier League at the weekend.

Just one of the starting XI from that day is still at the club, emphasising the amount of change we’ve seen under the former Borussia Dortmund boss. Here’s what they’re all up to now.

Simon Mignolet

If you were asked to pick players who were at Liverpool in January 2016 and would still be at the club three years later, Mignolet wouldn’t be too high up on your list.

The Belgian was a near ever-present in the league that season, but Loris Karius’ arrival in the summer – coupled with the anticipated development of Danny Ward – was enough for us to assume he’d be shown the door.

Instead, though, Karius has been loaned out and Ward sold, with Mignolet sticking around, albeit only as a backup to £67million signing Alisson.

Jon Flanagan

The local lad was no longer a fixture in the side by 2016, with injuries preventing him from building on a breakthrough 2013-14 campaign – this was one of just eight appearances in a season in which he was very much a backup.

After two loan spells away from Anfield, as well as being sentenced for common assault, Flanagan made an eventual exit to Steven Gerrard’s Rangers in the summer of 2018.

The full-back has played semi-regularly for the Scottish side, including a number of appearances during their Europa League run.

Tiago Ilori

Liverpool fought hard to sign Ilori, winning the battle to bring the English-born Portuguese defender over from Sporting in 2013, but he had to wait until the 2015-16 season for his first-team debut.

The trip to Upton Park would mark the last time he appeared in a Liverpool shirt, moving to Reading in January 2017 and playing for the Royals in the Championship play-off final.

In January 2019, three years since his final game in red, the 25-year-old returned to Sporting to be reunited with his former Liverpool colleague Sebastián Coates.

Lucas Leiva

The Brazilian midfielder was forced to fill in at centre-back in east London, after Dejan Lovren and Steven Caulker had started the first game at Anfield.

After 10 years of service on Merseyside, Lucas moved to Lazio in 2017 and has already made more than 50 appearances for the Italian club.

In his decade as a Liverpool player, the former Grêmio man played for the club more than 300 times.

READ: Seven reasons why Lucas will always be loved by Liverpool fans and players

Brad Smith

Smith surprisingly played a whole 10 times for Liverpool and even more surprisingly scored for the club (against Exeter City, but it still counts).

He also started the trend of Bournemouth giving Liverpool big money for players they could have probably signed for a lot less, and has yet to reach double figures for Cherries appearances since joining in 2016.

Smith, an Australian international, joined Seattle Sounders on loan midway through the 2018 MLS season and seems set to remain at the American club for the start of their 2019 campaign.

Jordon Ibe

The other man from the starting XI to end up on the south coast, Ibe was considerably more expensive when he linked up with Eddie Howe.

The former Wycombe man had joined Liverpool just after his 16th birthday, and there was a bit of a surprise when he was allowed to leave, even if it was for £15million.

After a slow start with the Cherries, he scored his first goals for the club in the 2017-18 season.

READ: The six fringe players Liverpool have sold in three seasons for £10m+

Kevin Stewart

Young midfielder Stewart, a product of Tottenham’s academy, got a fair crack of the whip in Klopp’s first season and was even given Premier League run-outs against Arsenal, Spurs, Chelsea and Leicester the following campaign.

However, with Gini Wijnaldum arriving in the summer of 2016 and going straight into the first team, Stewart’s time would soon be up.

He left Anfield for Hull City in 2017 and has outlasted a fair few managers during his 18 months with the Tigers.

Pedro Chirivella

The wildcard within a group of wildcards, Chirivella was making his first ever Reds start in the middle of midfield at Upton Park.

After impressing in that game, he was handed a new contract and a first Premier League start that same season, and the new deal is still running.

However, the Spaniard is not currently in Liverpool’s first-team set-up, with a January switch to Segunda División strugglers Extremadura just the latest in a series of loan moves.

João Carlos Teixeira

A six-figure signing from the Sporting academy, Joäo Carlos arrived in 2012 with high expectations and made his Premier League debut during the 16-game unbeaten run which took Liverpool within touching distance of the 2013-14 title.

However, by January 2016 he hadn’t pushed on all that much, enjoying a fruitful loan spell with Brighton but only hovering around the fringes upon his return.

The Portuguese played seven times under Klopp, including one run-out in the Europa League, but returned to his homeland with Porto that summer and has since moved on to Vitória Guimaraes, where he has mainly been used from the bench.

Philippe Coutinho

Whatever happened to him? Oh, yeah, right.

Liverpool’s goalscorer at Upton Park, with a lovely under-the-wall free-kick, stuck around until January 2018 when Barcelona and their deep pockets came calling.

The £142million man has blown hot and cold for the Blaugrana, but the high points have been very impressive indeed.

Philippe Coutinho (14) celebrates scoring for Barcelona

READ: Philippe Coutinho and a goal new for Barca but familiar to all Liverpool fans

Christian Benteke

Perhaps the biggest victim of the managerial change, Benteke may well have thrived if Brendan Rodgers hadn’t been replaced by Klopp just months after the Belgian’s arrival.

The striker scored seven goals before the turn of the year in his first season, but it soon became clear he wasn’t the right fit for the new head coach.

Now in his third season at Crystal Palace, it’s probably fair to describe his time in London as ‘mixed’.


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