The Daily Express’ resident Liverpool expert – Paul Joyce – believes that the Reds a face a battle to sell unwanted strikers Fabio Borini, Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli this summer.
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Speaking on the Anfield HQ podcast on Wednesday, Joyce said: “Borini needs to move on for his own career. The club wanted to sell him last August for £15m but he stayed, but they won’t get anywhere near that amount for him this time around.
“Liverpool were willing to sell Lambert to Aston Villa in January but he chose to stay, but you would think he will want to move on this time. He’s not even guaranteed a place on the bench next season.
“The club clearly want to get rid of Balotelli too, even though he has said he wants to stay. Getting rid of him will be easier said than done though. He became a bit of a distraction last season, and they can’t afford that next season.
“The focus needs to be on getting back to the standards that they fell below in 2014/15. Those fixtures at the start of the season are tough, and if they don’t negotiate them well, there is going to be a huge amount of scrutiny on the club and the manager.”
Borini – who as Joyce suggests, came close to moves to both Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers last summer (via the Daily Mail) – barely featured for us last season, despite our problems up front, playing just 18 times in all competitions and scoring only one goal.
Lambert, who joined us from Southampton last summer, has also struggled to make an impact. He was used more regularly that Borini – appearing on 36 occasions – but he finished the year with just three goals to his name. The boyhood Reds fan just didn’t fit in to our system and considering his age it’s hard to see him adapting.
Balotelli, who was brought in from AC Milan, scored four times in 26 appearances. However, his constant fitness problems and antics off the pitch saw him quickly fall out of favour with manager Brendan Rodgers.
With Danny Ings having joined us from Burnley already this summer and Divock Origi set to return from his loan spell at Lille, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that there is going to be room in our squad for any of these three players.
One question clearly remains. Are we going to be able to get both them and their wages off our books?
At the moment, it’s not looking good.