Analysing the futures of eight players not in the Liverpool squad vs Stoke

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It’s a position that managers all over the world dream of being in – having more players and options than you know what to do with. That’s certainly the case for Brendan Rodgers this year, whose squad is stronger in terms of depth than it has been for many a year.

However, it’s a blessing than also become a curse, with players becoming increasingly frustrated at their lack of opportunities and a handful of big money signings left on the mere outskirts of the match-day squad.

Ultimately, that proved to be the case for us on Sunday against Stoke City, with a handful of players missing out. With Joe Allen and Daniel Sturridge – currently both out through injury – also to come back into the fold, there’s going to be plenty of selection issues keeping our boss up at night.

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In the list below, we discuss the pros and cons of keeping the eight first-team players not involved at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday and discuss whether we should be keeping or selling them.

Joe Allen

Keep: The Welshman still has a lot more to offer than he’s so far shown in a Liverpool shirt. People forget that he’s only 25 years old and, for the type of player he is, should still be approaching his peak years. His performances on the international stage, particularly against Belgium back in June, are a better demonstration of his abilities.

Sell: He’s had plenty of chances to prove his worth – playing 95 times for us in total – and it’s only natural that after three years of primarily underwhelming performances that people would be questioning his long-term future. With Henderson, Milner and Can all ahead of him in the pecking order, holding on to him is far from a priority.

Decision: Keep – there’s more to come from him. He deserves another year to prove that.

Mario Balotelli

Keep: There’s a decent footballer in there. His goal record prior to joining Liverpool was good. He scored 17 goals in all competitions as City won the title in 2012, while he hit a career-best 18 for AC Milan last year. His chances last season were heavily restricted, mostly due to injury, and we rarely saw him play alongside a strike partner.

Sell: You only have to read the piece put out by The Independent this week to realise just how much baggage this guy comes with. He’s 25 now and is showing absolutely no signs of maturing. With so many players now ahead of him in the pecking order, it’s impossible to see him ever forcing his way back into a Brendan Rodgers side.

Decision: Sell – Whatever talent he has isn’t worth the heavy price it comes at to keep him happy.

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