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Best XI of Players Sold by Liverpool

Suarez, Sterling and Coutinho are three notable players to leave Liverpool in recent years
Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling, and Philipp Coutinho are notable players to leave Liverpool in recent years
Naveen Ravi Joseph

Liverpool underwent a massive makeover under Jurgen Klopp. The Reds were the Champions League finalists in 2017/18 and are now easily a contender for the Premier League title.

However, before the German took over, Liverpool were in a period of turmoil. Four different managers were at the helm in the space of six years and the Reds only finished in the Top 4 once between 2009 and 2016.

The below-par performance from the club and the constant change of managers led to top players departing over the years. In addition, when a new manager took over, there was a squad overhaul resulting in a mass exodus. For instance, the first summer after Klopp’s arrival, 16 players left the club.

Liverpool have sold so many players over the years that it is possible to name a squad, let alone a starting XI and all this without including retired players such as Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, and Daniel Agger.

Also read: 10 Liverpool flops who found success elsewhere


Goalkeeper

Reina won the Premier League Golden Glove thrice
Pepe Reina won the Premier League Golden Glove thrice

Pepe Reina is arguably one of the greatest goalkeepers ever to play for Liverpool and some might even argue that he was better than greats like Ray Clemence and Bruce Grobbelaar.

Reina joined Liverpool in 2005 and instantly took over as the first-choice goalkeeper from Istanbul hero Jerzy Dudek. He spent the next eight seasons as Liverpool’s undisputed #1 playing 394 games and he won three consecutive Golden Glove awards between 2005/06 and 2007/08.

The Spaniard, who was named Liverpool’s Player of the Season in 2009/10, was deemed not good enough by Brendan Rodgers and was shipped off to Napoli on loan for the 2013/14 season before being sold to Bayern Munich a year later.

Incredibly, the 35-year-old has 35 caps for Spain despite being the second choice goalkeeper throughout his career.

He joined AC Milan in the summer on a free transfer after three seasons at Napoli. Although he was not deemed good enough for Liverpool by Rodgers, he still plays at the top level and, like other former Liverpool goalkeepers Peter Gulacsi and Brad Jones, his career was back on track after leaving the Reds.

Honourable mentions: Danny Ward (Leicester City), Brad Jones (Feyenoord), and Peter Gulácsi (RB Leipzig)

Full-Backs

Kelly is one of three former Liverpool players at Crystal Palace
Martin Kelly is one of three former Liverpool players at Crystal Palace

The two full-backs on this list are not as renowned as the other players in this XI but this is one area of the pitch where our options were limited and for a good reason.

The full-back positions was an area of concern for Liverpool for many years and it was only alleviated last season when Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson came into the picture.

Martin Kelly, a product of Liverpool’s academy, made his first-team debut way back in December 2008 under Rafa Benitez. As a youngster, he showed a lot of promise and, despite being a centre-back by trade, he was also comfortable playing as a right-back.

There was a lot of hope that he would become a long-term solution for the right-back position but a series of injuries prevented him cementing his place in the team and after a point, there was no way back into the first team for the player.

Kelly played 62 games for Liverpool and also made his debut for England in May 2012 while he was contracted to the club. Before the 2014/15 season, he was sold to Crystal Palace and he has been with them since playing 104 games so far.

Insua won the LaLiga with Atletico Madrid in 2013/14
Insua won the La Liga with Atletico Madrid in 2013/14

Emiliano Insua joined Liverpool in 2007 on a loan deal from Boca Juniors and made his debut in April 2007. He joined the club permanently ahead of the 2007/08 season and played 31 league games during the 2009/10 season.

The Argentinian totalled 62 appearances for the Reds by the end of the 2009/10 season and also made his debut for his country during his final season at the club.

In 2010/11, he went on loan to Galatasaray before joining Sporting CP in 2011. Insua left Sporting after a season and a half to join Atletico Madrid where he won LaLiga despite playing only six league games. The 29-year-old currently plays for Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart.

Interestingly, Insua was a key member of the Argentina team that won the U-20 FIFA World Cup in 2007 and he was teammates with stars such as Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria, Sergio Romero, Federico Fazio, and Ever Banega.

Honourable mentions: Glen Johnson (Free agent), Andre Wisdom (Derby County) and Jack Robinson (Nottingham Forest)

Centre-backs

Coates was named the best young player of Copa America 2011 before joining Liverpool
Sebastian Coates was named the best young player of Copa America 2011 before joining Liverpool

The defence has been an issue for Liverpool in recent years and that’s why they have signed and sold numerous central defenders over the years, including Ragnar Klavan in the summer of 2018.

Among the centre-backs Liverpool have sold in recent years, the one player that could have formed a good partnership with Virgil van Dijk is Sebastian Coates.

Coates joined Liverpool in 2011 after helping Uruguay win the Copa America. He was named the tournament’s best young player and joined his compatriot and the tournament’s best player Luis Suarez at his first club in Europe.

When the Uruguayan arrived, he was the fourth choice centre-back behind Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, and Jamie Carragher. In his first two seasons, he played a total of 24 games and scored with a spectacular scissor kick in the Premier League against QPR.

Coates suffered a serious injury in his third season at the club and he never found a way back into the Liverpool side after that. He left Liverpool to join Sunderland and from there he moved to Sporting for whom he still plays.

The 27-year-old is now a regular starter for the Portuguese giants.

Sakho's Liverpool career ended after a fall-out with Klopp
Mamadou Sakho's Liverpool career ended after a fall-out with Klopp

Mamadou Sakho was signed in 2013 from PSG to fill the void of the departing Jamie Carragher. The Frenchman was tipped to be a long-term presence in the Liverpool defence but injuries hampered his progress several times.

The Frenchman played 80 games for the Reds in three seasons and scored the equalising goal in the famous 4-3 win over Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League.

But Sakho fell out with Jurgen Klopp during pre-season ahead of the 2016/17 season and the manager showed him the exit door despite Liverpool’s well documented defensive issues. He joined Crystal Palace from the Reds and has been with them since.

Honourable mentions: Martin Skrtel (Fenerbahce), Ragnar Klavan (Cagliari), Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers) and Mikel San Jose (Athletic Bilbao)

Midfielders

Mascherano was first of three players to join Barcelona from Liverpool in the last 10 years
Javier Mascherano was first of three Liverpool players to join Barcelona in the last 10 years

From the three midfielders included in this XI, we start with Javier Mascherano. He played alongside Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso in what is often labelled Liverpool’s best midfield in the Premier League era.

The Argentinian joined the Reds from West Ham, played 139 games for the club before becoming the first of three notable players to leave Liverpool for Barcelona. The veteran was a fantastic defensive midfielder when he left Anfield but he predominantly played as a centre-back at Barcelona for seven-and-a-half seasons, winning 19 trophies.

The 34-year-old currently plays for Chinese Super League club Hebei China Fortune.

Coutinho (L) and Can (R) left Liverpool in 2018
Coutinho (L) and Can (R) left Liverpool in 2018

The other two midfielders in this XI left Liverpool in 2018 under Jurgen Klopp. Emre Can joined Liverpool in 2014 and spent most of his first season playing out of position at centre-back and right-back under Brendan Rodgers.

After Jurgen Klopp took over, the German midfielder became one of Liverpool’s best players and played a crucial role in their run to the final of the Europa League in 2016.

Can played 166 games for Liverpool scoring 14 goals including a scintillating overhead kick against Watford in 2017 which was later voted the Premier League and BBC Goal of the season.

The 24-year-old left Liverpool in the summer upon the expiry of his contract to join Juventus and became one of many notable players to join the Italian giants on a free transfer in recent years.

Also read: 8 stars Juventus signed on a free transfer in recent years

Philippe Coutinho became a Liverpool player in January 2013 for just £8.5m from Inter Milan and made an instant impact in the Premier League.

The Brazilian was a crucial member of the Liverpool side throughout his Liverpool career. He scored 54 goals and assisted a further 43 more in 201 games before leaving the club in January 2018.

Coutinho tried to force a move to Barcelona during the summer transfer window of 2017 and handed in a transfer request but Liverpool stood firm and refused to sell the player. Eventually, they sold him in the following winter transfer window for £105m (which could rise to £142m if various clauses are met). This makes him the third most expensive player ever.

Two former Liverpool players at Lazio deserve a mention. The first, Lucas Leiva, was a loyal servant of the club for 10 years during a difficult period and the other, Luis Alberto, was one of the best midfielders in Europe’s Top 5 leagues last season after being one of the many flops of the Brendan Rodgers era.

Honourable mentions: Lucas Leiva (Lazio), Joe Allen (Stoke City), Luis Alberto (Lazio), Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United)

Forwards

Suarez and Sterling left Liverpool in successive summers
Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling left Liverpool in successive summers

Luis Suarez is the third player in this XI to play for both Liverpool and Barcelona. The Uruguayan joined the Reds from Ajax on transfer deadline day in January 2011 as a replacement for Fernando Torres.

Suarez played 133 games for Liverpool and scored 82 goals. In his final season, he scored 31 Premier League goals and became the only Premier League player to win the European Golden Shoe since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007/08.

During his stint with Liverpool, Suarez earned bans for biting, alleged racist remarks, and for showing the middle finger to the opposition fans. He left Liverpool in 2014 to join Barcelona and has scored 152 goals for the Catalan club in 200 games and also won numerous team and individual honours.

Raheem Sterling joined Liverpool aged 16 from QPR and made his professional debut with the Reds at the end of the 2011/12 season under Kenny Dalglish.

Sterling became an important player for Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers and by the end of the 2014/15 season, he had 23 goals and 18 assists to his name in 129 games. He was only 20-years-old then and was already an England international.

The Englishman forced a move in the summer of 2015 and he joined rivals Manchester City for £44m with a further £5m in add-ons.

Sterling has been a regular for Man City since his move. He has played 141 games scoring 45 goals for them and also won the Premier League and League Cup in 2017/18.

Aspas went from Liverpool flop to a transfer target for Real Madrid
Iago Aspas went from Liverpool flop to a transfer target for Real Madrid

The final player in this XI is one that deserves a huge mention. Iago Aspas was part of Liverpool’s 2013/14 squad that challenged for the league title but he didn’t have a huge impact at the club and watched Suarez and Daniel Sturridge wreak havoc from the bench.

Aspas scored once for the Reds in the entire season, in an FA Cup match, before leaving Liverpool the following summer on loan to join Sevilla. He scored 10 goals in 26 games for Sevilla and won the Europa League before joining them on a permanent deal in 2015.

The Spaniard was sold to Celta Vigo immediately after joining Sevilla permanently and he turned into a world class player with his boyhood club.

Aspas has scored 67 goals in 127 games for Celta and also won the Zarra Trophy in 2016/17 and 2017/18 for the highest scoring Spaniard. Last season, only Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Luis Suarez scored more LaLiga goals than the infamous 'Liverpool flop'.

The 31-year-old is also a Spanish international with 6 goals in 13 games for the La Furia Roja. Aspas is now linked with a move to Real Madrid in the summer and that would be an incredible turn around for the player.

Honourable mentions: Fernando Torres (Sagan Tosu), Suso (AC Milan), Mario Balotelli (OGC Nice), and Peter Crouch (Stoke City).


The best XI of players sold by Liverpool in recent years
The best XI of players sold by Liverpool in recent years

You can also find similar XIs of players sold by Chelsea, Sevilla, Southampton, Roma and Dinamo Zagreb.

Edited by Rohith Nair

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