Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is destined to be the highest profile departure from Anfield in the summer transfer window, according to former defender Phil Thompson. Jurgen Klopp did not make a single signing during January, offloading youngster Tiago Ilori and Joe Maguire, and instead prefers to conduct his business in the off-season.
Despite beating in-form Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, victory was The Reds' first in the top flight in 2017; a five-game winless run which has seen them fall 11 points behind leaders Chelsea and outside the Champions League places. The run of form has highlighted both the club's lack of depth and a weakness in defence.
And according to Thompson these areas will be chief concern to Klopp this summer when he comes to improving his squad ahead of the 2017-18 campaign. The three-time European Cup winner believes finding a replacement for Sturridge is of paramount importance, while full-back Alberto Moreno's days at Liverpool are also numbered.
"I think [Sturridge] he'll want to go to get first-team football and Klopp would let him to bring in somebody more fitting to his style," he told Sky Sports. "[Moreno] will leave for sure. If James Milner, a ring-winger, is keeping you out of left-back then it says to me his time is up."
Former Liverpool players Jamie Redknapp and Danny Murphy also expect Sturridge to leave Merseyside at the end of the campaign, having spiraled down the pecking order at the club. The 27-year-old has netted just two goals in the Premier League this season.
However, Thompson expects Klopp to keep faith with both goalkeepers Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet. Both 'keepers have been error-prone this term and have been rotated throughout the campaign, but Thompson accepts the pair deserve second chances to impress.
"[Loris] He's only 23, which is extremely young for a goalkeeper, and you look at how David de Gea was ridiculed and came back to be so good," he added. "He'll need to work for his place as Mignolet is obviously number one again but he should get another chance. I think they'll both stay unless Jurgen Klopp goes into the transfer market again. You need two decent keepers so he would only be allowed to leave if somebody as coming in."
Defender Mamadou Sakho has not played for Liverpool this season having been sent home from the club's preseason tour of the US, before being loaned to Crystal Palace for the remainder of the season. Though his career at the club appears bleak, Thompson wants the France international to prove his worth at Selhurst Park and be retained alongside summer signing Ragnar Klavan, who has made 18 appearances this term.
Thompson said: "If he had made more of an effort to bridge the gap with Klopp then you'd like to think he'd get another chance. I know he's let the manager down but he's a France international and you never know there might be a way to reconcile things if he proves his worth at Crystal Palace. I think it's hard for him [Klavan]. He's done ok, made a couple of costly errors, but he's a decent squad player in the absence of other options."