Is the Grass Always Greener?
“Stay here, and they will build a statue in your honor. Go somewhere else, to Barcelona, to Bayern Munich, to Real Madrid, and you will be just another player. Here you can be something more.”
Jurgen Klopp’s famous words to our little magician at the time, Philippe Coutinho, reverberated around all journalistic avenues. For years, this quote has been repeated by Liverpool fans to poke fun at the players that have moved on from Merseyside for other ventures.
Players leave clubs for all sorts of reasons. Maybe it is Liverpool that feels that a player’s quality is not up to the standard that has been set and it is best for the player to move on. Maybe the player has done their contractual responsibility for the club and they feel as though pastures new are best for them and their family. Or maybe they feel as though their quality would be best suited elsewhere in order to win titles and trophies.
Regardless of their reason, they move on without the guarantee it will work out or not. But hindsight is 20-20. And for that reason, we can only reflect on what has been, not for what will be. On that note, let’s take a look at who left Liverpool on a permanent basis during the 21-22 season.
Awoniyi went through a string of several loans away from Anfield before securing a permanent transfer to Union Berlin for £6.5m. Awoniyi has scored nine goals and has provided a further one assist in 18 appearances. While AFCON with the Super Eagles of Nigeria ended in disappointment, Awoniyi was surely a bright spot, leading the line ahead of other notable teammates. He has since returned to Germany and recently started Union Berlin’s last game against Augsburg which resulted in a 2-0 defeat for Berlin.
The Nigerian is Union Berlin’s leading goal scorer this season and has been an important reason behind their current position of fourth in the Bundesliga. Overall, his transfer has been greatly successful, though it never seemed Awoniyi was truly a Liverpool player due to never being able to obtain a work visa and, subsequently, an appearance for Liverpool.
Boyes, a 20-year-old Welsh center back, transferred to Livingston FC for an undisclosed fee during the January transfer window. He has acquired two appearances for a total of seven minutes this season so far. A youthful talent that will look to ignite his career in Scotland. Livingston FC sits 8th in the Scottish Premier League. We hope Boyes is the best in his career!
Gallacher is another academy product that had transferred during the January transfer window to a Scottish Premier League team. The 22-year-old Scottish defender moved to St. Johnstone for an undisclosed fee. He has accumulated a single appearance for two minutes. Good luck Gallacher!
Grujic, famous for being Klopp’s first signing at Liverpool, never had his career on Merseyside blossom past a handful of first-team appearances. A couple of loan spells away would be the writing on the wall for Marko that in order for his career to develop, he would needed to do it elsewhere. The Serbian moved to Porto for £10.5m. The Portuguese giants have gone on to use him 18 times in all competitions.
As a squad player in Porto, he still has gotten more opportunity than he would’ve had in Liverpool. Grujic shared fond memories of his Liverpool career last November by saying, “I would say my career at Liverpool was successful… not in terms of games played or what I achieved for the club, but I certainly left Liverpool as a much better player than when I first arrived.” Hope to see him prove his statement over the next seasons.
Grabara was seen as a talented young keeper in the Liverpool ranks. That being said, with Liverpool currently having a great development in their youth stopper department, they felt Grabara was allowed to leave. Grabara secured a move to FC Copenhagen for around £3m. His position at the club remains vital playing 28 times over the course of the season so far. The Danish giants paid what can be considered a reasonably high fee compared to their financial restraints. They remain just 2 points behind league leaders Midtjylland.
Liam Millar moved to FC Basel for a fee of £1.3m over the summer. Millar has played all but one game in the league for the 2nd place team in Switzerland and has played a staggering 32 games in all competitions already this term. His position remains vital for Basel scoring eight goals and providing four assists in those games played. The young Canadian winger has a point to prove and appears to be taking his chances when available. Basel is hoping that he can push their team to lessen the gap between them and FC Zurich which is 9 points at this time.
Oh, Power Cube… What happened? Shaqiri remained a popular figure during his time at Liverpool. Though rather unspectacular, his performances appeared pleasing at times. Certain vulnerabilities such as his pace, stamina, and injury record were reasons why he never consistently pushed a starting spot in the first team. But, he still provided fond memories for fans when needed most such as against Manchester United and Barcelona.
Shaqiri went to Lyon for £9.5m in the summer. His position was supposed to be vital among the French squad. Starting promisingly early in the season providing assists for his teammates, his performances deteriorated. His time in Lyon is described as a “nightmare,” the 30-year-old Switzerland midfielder remains hopeful that his future performances can re-establish him in the Swiss setup for the upcoming world cup.
Shaqiri has now moved on in quick succession to our stomping ground, the USA! The newest member of Chicago Fire FC will prepare to take on the grueling demands of living in Chicago.
Gini’s departure remains a cold sore to the Liverpool fans; just enough pain to realize it is there occasionally when it comes to mind. Wijnaldum left for PSG on a free transfer after he stated that the fans were the reason he had left. “When it went bad, I was the player who they blamed… that I wanted to leave.” While at face value it could seem that would make any player hesitant to stay in a toxic environment, the reality is this is far from the truth. Gini was loved and admired by the Anfield faithful, and he was universally seen as a hard-working servant for the team. Maybe… just maybe… the reason could have to do with the reported £300k a week he is on.
But this story does not end well for either party. Liverpool lost a truly vital cog of their midfield machine, one that always would be beneficial to have. But we at least replaced the position in the team with other quality players. Wijnaldum has had a turbulent time in France. He has accumulated 25 games so far but remains an outside position player in a star-studded squad. The biggest sting of all just recently occurred. He has been removed from PSG’s Champions League roster… Liverpool just had to do the same to Nat Phillips this week, who is now on loan to Bournemouth.
Wilson made a transfer to London where he now plays for Fulham FC. His £12m move has provided Fulham with a huge cog in England Football’s highest-scoring team. Wilson has collected nine goals and twelve assists over his 26 games this year. His incredible link-up play has caught the eye of fans for the leaders of the Championship. As they face a race for promotion, Wilson has worked hard thus far. Maybe Liverpool fans can look forward to playing Wilson and Co twice next season in the Premier League.
Change is always difficult, some rise to the top when they make a switch, and others fall flat on their face. The real question is how do you respond when change comes? The answer to the title of this article is the grass ISN’T always greener but regardless mark sure it is soft, especially if you happen to fall on your face!