Transfer speculation often focuses on who is joining the team. Once new signings are made, chatter turns to how they are doing, if they are underperforming, how we ever survived without them, and what other additions need to be made. But many great players and cult figures within the club have left Merseyside during Jurgen Klopp’s seven years as manager. It is always good to catch up with old friends. So here is my first “Where Are They Now?”
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Sadio Mane. Life is good for Sadio. He has 9 goals in 16 matches with Bayern Munich. He’s won the German Super Cup. The Bavarian giants are second in the table, 4 points off of Union Berlin. We miss him. He’s living his best life though and just finished second in the Ballon d’Or.
Divock Origi. Football without Origi is nothing. Unfortunately, the Liverpool legend’s AC Milan career is also nothing so far. Injuries have limited him to 5 games and 0 goals this season. That said, Milan sits third in Serie A, 3 points off the top of the table. So if he can get fit and stay on the field, he could potentially have another season of glory.
ITALY BY WAY OF FRANCE
Gini Wijnaldum. We were all sad when Gini left, himself and Klopp most of all. That was an FSG decision; it was business. He first signed with Paris St Germain, but his time at PSG was a mixed bag. He scored 3 goals in all competitions (not out of line with his LFC figures) and a Ligue 1 crown. Yet PSG was dissatisfied with the Dutchman overall and Wijnaldum never became a fixture in Mauricio Pochettino’s plans. So he was loaned to AS Roma, where Jose Mourinho was quite excited to have him. But in a stroke of bad luck, he broke his right tibia this past August and is unlikely to play this season.
Xherdan Shaqiri. He had his moments with us. I’ll never forget his coming off the bench to score two against Man U. Just as delightful as that moment was when the parochial English media asked if it was the biggest moment of his career. The Swiss international cheekily deadpanned “I won the Champions League with Bayern Munich.” He never really found a place in Jurgen Klopp’s side though and struggled in his next stop as well. Lyon signed him from us in August 2021, but he only stayed one year, netting 2 goals in 11 games and 0 trophies. This past summer he moved to the Chicago Fire in Major League Soccer, where his 7 goals in 29 games represent his best output in nearly a decade.
Dejan Lovren. Oh, Dejan. You loved him. You hated him. There were times when those emotions came out five minutes from one another in the same game! He’s still with Zenit Saint Petersburg after moving there in the summer of 2020. The Croatian has won two league titles and two Cups. It is good to be Dejan.
DOWN THE M62
Rhian Brewster. As a teenager, Brewster was the next big thing. Injuries with the U23s slowed his development, but he seemed on the verge of an attacking breakout after scoring 11 goals in 22 games in the Championship with Swansea in 19/20. Liverpool then sold him to Sheffield United for an eyepopping £23.5 million with a buyback option in the event he kicked on. Sadly for Brewster, he’s scored 5 goals in 60 matches since then for the Blades. His 21/22 campaign was ended in February by a hamstring injury. He’s still only 22, so a long and successful career could still await him. As it stands though, Liverpool seems to have sold high in a rather nice bit of business.
All told, it has been a mixed bag for former Reds. But there are a great many more old friends to check in on! Stay tuned as I continue to lead us on a walk down memory lane and tell you where more old faces are now.