Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers expects several peripheral members of his first team squad to leave the club before the end of the summer transfer window. Fabio Borini, Mario Balotelli, Lucas Leiva and Jose Enrique were all notable omissions from the matchday squad for the opening day win over Stoke City.
The trio of Borini, Balotelli and Enrique did not play a single minute of the Reds' pre-season campaign, not travelling for the pre-season games in Asia, Australia and Finland. Lucas meanwhile has been linked with an £8m move to AC Milan, according to The Daily Mail, after being overlooked for the game at the Britannia Stadium.
Twenty-two players have come and gone from Anfield this summer during a summer of upheaval following last term's failure to qualify for the Champions League. Though the incomings have seemingly ended following the acquisition of Christian Benteke, Rodgers admits a series of players could leave Liverpool.
"We'll have a similar squad to last weekend," Rodgers told a pre-match press conference, according to the Liverpool Echo. ahead of the trip to AFC Bournemouth. "It's natural at this stage of the season there'll be moves for some players. Every player is of the understanding of exactly where he stands in the squad.The spirit is fine but it's a difficult situation with the transfer window still open.I'm sure there will be some movement from players who want to play."
Of the seven new summer signings, five featured in the 1-0 win at Stoke, with the most impressive showing coming from 18-year-old Joe Gomez who made his Liverpool debut out of position at full-back. Signed from Charlton Athletic in the summer, Gomez was expected to begin the season behind Alberto Moreno and Enrique, prior to Jon Flanagan returning from a long-term knee problem. Rodgers had, as a result, identified Gomez for a loan move this season, but had his mind changed during pre-season.
"You looked whether he should go out on loan and he very quickly showed me he can be a really important member of our squad," the Liverpool boss explained. "He can play in several positions, centre-back the main one, but has the quality to play at left-back.
"Jonathan Walters spoke well of him after the Stoke game and knew he was a quality opponent.He's 18 but what struck me when I met him was his maturity. When he was 15 or 16 he had a chance to move to bigger clubs than Charlton but he wanted to stay and felt he had a better chance of getting into the first team.
"Then he had a decision this summer and he felt his best opportunity to develop and improve was coming to Liverpool. He's enjoying it but knows there is a lot to learn yet."