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11 Liverpool players face career crossroads in the summer window

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The career of a footballer is a relatively brief one, and this is especially true in terms of operating at the very pinnacle of the sport.

As with any rules there are exceptions, but if a player gets more than a decade as a first team regular with one of the game’s global super power clubs then they among the elite.



With this in mind, it’s no wonder that some men choose to move on to pastures new when given the opportunity, and especially if there's a top team dangling an improved pay packet in their direction.



It has always been thus, and despite Liverpool’s success over the last three years, there will be members of their squad who may leave this summer.



There are plenty of Jurgen Klopp’s important men who are approaching something of a career crossroads ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.

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This is in part due to the fact that many of the Reds’ key players have already been at the club for several years and have aged as a collective. Will they see this summer as a final opportunity to secure a move to one of Europe’s elite football clubs?

It looks as though Gini Wijnaldum feels that way, as he looks set to leave Liverpool at the conclusion of his contract in June, after five years on Merseyside.

Perhaps it was turning 30 last November which convinced the Dutch international that this year was his best opportunity to secure a lucrative move elsewhere. If that were the case – or even if it played any part at all – then there are several other Liverpool players who find themselves in a similar boat.

By the start of next season, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk will both be in their thirties, while Roberto Firmino will join them in October.

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However, it is perhaps Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah – both of whom will become 30-year-olds before next season is out – who are most at a potential fork in the road of their careers.

Or has it has already past them? Are they too old to make a big money move to the likes of Barcelona or Real Madrid?

After all, Philippe Coutinho was 26-years-old when he left Liverpool, and Eden Hazard – another costly Premier League export – was 28 when moving to Spain. The opportunities for the Reds’ wide forwards to join La Liga’s super clubs might not last too much longer, even if they wish to (and they may not).

Players who are at a crossroads in a different sense are Divock Origi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Does Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain still have a long-term Liverpool future? (Image: Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

The latter will enter his thirties before the year is out, but the greater concern for this trio is their lack of game time with Liverpool.

Prior to the international break in March, they had accumulated fewer than 1,000 Premier League minutes between them in 2020/21, with Shaqiri accounting for over half of their collective total.

They all have at least two more years remaining on their contracts, but can they afford to spend the bulk of that time kicking their heels on the Reds’ bench?

It wouldn’t be a surprise if they were open to the opportunity to play more regularly for teams a little further down the football food chain than Liverpool are.

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And while perhaps more likely to hit the career crossroads in 12 months’ time, Naby Keita and Takumi Minamino have yet to fulfil their potential on a consistent basis since joining Liverpool, so questions regarding their long term future at the club have yet to be answered either.

Of course, there aren’t going to be wholesale changes at Anfield this summer. With all clubs suffering substantial financial losses thanks to playing for over a year behind closed doors, the transfer market isn’t likely to be awash with cash when the window next opens.

But there are certainly several players who may have vital career decisions to make this year.

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