Where are they now? Liverpool’s XI from Klopp’s first match in charge

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Philippe Coutinho celebrates with Liverpool team-mate Alberto Moreno. King Power Stadium, September 2017. Credit: PA Images
Philippe Coutinho celebrates with Liverpool team-mate Alberto Moreno. King Power Stadium, September 2017. Credit: PA Images

It’s fair to say that Jurgen Klopp’s reign as Liverpool manager has so far been a successful one since he was appointed in 2015.

In the German’s six years at the helm, he’s led the club into two Champions League finals, winning one, and also ended their high-profile wait for a league title.

This season, he’s already won two domestic cups, and another Champions League final awaits. Oh, and there’s still the chance of a Premier League crown to complete an unprecedented quadruple.

But Klopp’s first game in charge was a pretty uninspiring 0-0 draw at Tottenham in October 2015. Looking back at his side in that game, we’re sure you’ll agree that he’s transformed the squad for the better.

GK: Simon Mignolet

Mignolet was the undisputed No.1 when Klopp took over, but some questionable performances led to the Belgian making way first for Lorus Karius and then Alisson Becker.

Mignolet left the club in the summer of 2019, joining Club Brugge for just over £6million. The 33-year-old goalkeeper has been an ever-present for the Belgian side, helping them win three Belgian Pro League titles in a row.

RB: Nathaniel Clyne

Back in 2015, Clyne had just signed for Liverpool and was one of England’s best full-backs, making the Three Lions squad on a regular basis. He then established himself as a permanent fixture in Klopp’s defence for two seasons.

However, severe injuries coupled with the emergence of Trent Alexander-Arnold made Clyne surplus to requirements and he was released in 2020.

He’s since returned to boyhood club Crystal Palace, making 14 Premier League appearances in 2021-22.

CB: Martin Skrtel

The beginning of Klopp’s time at Liverpool coincided with the end of Martin Skrtel’s. The Slovakian had been at the club since 2008, becoming a popular figure and important player, but left at the end of the 2015-16 season to join Fenerbache.

His time there was also successful and after three seasons as a key player, he earned a move to Champions League side Atalanta. But he lasted just three weeks in Italy before his contract was terminated by mutual consent, with Skrtel saying he struggled to adapt and wasn’t the right fit.

After 18 months at Istanbul Basaksehir, the 36-year-old decided to return to his native Slovakia with Spartak Trnava in 2021.

CB: Mamadou Sakho

When Klopp took charge, Sakho had just a year earlier started every game for France in the World Cup and was one of the club’s best defenders. This remained the case for a good while, but he was eventually loaned and then sold to Crystal Palace in 2017 due to issues with his discipline and conduct.

After a bright start to his Palace career, the defender became plagued by injury problems and joined Ligue 1 side Montpellier in 2021.

LB: Alberto Moreno

Ah, Moreno. Perhaps the least popular player among Liverpool fans in this team. He may have been an exciting prospect going forward, and he seems a lovely bloke, but he was quite frankly horrendous defensively. When he left for Villarreal in 2019, many rejoiced.

The left-back has struggled with injuries but did score in the penalty shootout as his side beat Manchester United in the 2021 Europa League final and endeared himself to Liverpool fans afterwards.

CM: James Milner

Back in 2015, Milner was a dependable, versatile, consistent player who was bloody good at penalties. Seven years on, he’s still at Liverpool and is still dependable, versatile, consistent and bloody good at penalties.

Never change, James.

James Milner, Estadio Metropolitano in Madrid, Spain on June 1, 2019 Credit: PA Images
James Milner, Estadio Metropolitano in Madrid, Spain on June 1, 2019 Credit: PA Images

READ: The best of Boring James Milner – and when the real one played up to it

CM: Lucas Leiva

Best known by many for saying “unluckyyyyyyy”, Lucas was the definition of a cult hero at Anfield, but even the fans agreed it was time for him to leave when Lazio signed him in 2017.

He was then voted the club’s Player of the Year in his first season in Rome and remains an important player to this day. Lucky guy.

CM: Emre Can

Can was one of Klopp’s most important players from the manager’s first game in charge to the summer of 2018, when the midfielder left to join Juventus on a free transfer.

He struggled to secure a starting place in Turin and signed for Borussia Dortmund in January 2020, rejecting Manchester United in the process.

RW: Adam Lallana

Lallana was a key player early on in Klopp’s time in charge, but a string of injuries pushed him further and further down in the side’s pecking order as other players established themselves in the starting XI.

The midfielder left the Reds at the end of the 2019-20 season and has since become a regular for Graham Potter’s entertaining Brighton side.

ST: Divock Origi

Origi’s time at Liverpool has been full of ups and downs. After a spell in the first team in Klopp’s maiden season, his time at the club looked likely to be at an end when he returned from a poor loan spell at Wolfsburg in 2018.

However, he’s since shocked everyone to forge a reputation as a big-game player thanks to his goals in the Champions League semi-final and final and his Merseyside derby exploits. Maybe someday we’ll find out why he was running back to the halfway line…

LW: Philippe Coutinho

Coutinho was Liverpool’s star player when Klopp joined the club, and fans despaired when he left the club for Barcelona in 2018 for just shy of £150million.

Things didn’t work out quite as the Brazilian would’ve hoped though. Despite a few standout goals and moments, he struggled to nail down a spot in the team and was sent out on loan to Bayern Munich and then Aston Villa.

During his loan at Aston Villa – working under former team-mate Steven Gerrard – he has shown enough flashes of that old brilliance to earn himself a permanent move back to the Premier League.

Philippe Coutinho warming up for Aston Villa, Birmingham, Villa Park, 30 April 2022. Credit: PA Images
Philippe Coutinho warming up for Aston Villa, Birmingham, Villa Park, 30 April 2022. Credit: PA Images

READ: Coutinho ‘megged Virgil & mugged off Trent – he is pure samba soul

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The article Where are they now? Liverpool’s XI from Klopp’s first match in charge appeared first on Planetfootball.com.

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