Salah contract, Phillips out and how Liverpool's January transfer window could look

Mohamed Salah Liverpool 2021-22Getty Images

It has been a decent start to the season for Liverpool.

With only two defeats in all competitions so far, the Reds find themselves in the Premier League title race (albeit with work to do), have progressed smoothly to the last 16 of the Champions League and, courtesy of that epic comeback against Leicester recently, have a Carabao Cup semi-final to look forward to in the New Year too. 

January, though, has always felt like it could be a key month. With the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane heading off to the Africa Cup of Nations, Jurgen Klopp’s squad will be tested like never before.

How they negotiate the next four or five weeks could well define their campaign. 

Liverpool have, in the past, shown a willingness to get involved in big January transfers. Who could forget the arrival of Virgil van Dijk (and the sale of Philippe Coutinho) in 2018, or the deals involving Andy Carroll, Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez in 2011? 

Even last year there was deadline day drama, with Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak arriving to alleviate a defensive crisis which had completely derailed their season.

What could happen at Anfield in this window, then? GOAL takes a look at the possibles, the probables and the probably-nots…

Potential ins 

The Liverpool transfer rumour mill rarely sleeps, and it has been in overdrive in recent weeks, with a host of players linked with a move to Merseyside.

A new forward would, one imagines, be top of most fans’ wishlist, especially given the AFCON situation, but it would be a surprise if the Reds were to make a move in January, instead trusting the likes of Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi to carry the burden.

Bad news for those excited by reports of Erling Haaland, though the Norway star is certainly on the radar of Liverpool – as he is on most clubs’, to be fair – for the long term. The same goes for Jude Bellingham, the striker's Borussia Dortmund team-mate.

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Others linked include Jarrod Bowen, the West Ham winger, and Porto’s Luis Diaz, and GOAL can confirm that both have been looked at, as have Leeds United's impressive Brazilian star Raphinha and Jonathan David, the Lille and Canada frontman.

Potential outs 

It has been strange, to say the least, to hear Klopp speaking so openly about the future of some of Liverpool’s fringe players of late.

Take this quote on Origi, for example: “I hope he one day finds a manager who plays him more than I do.” 

Or this one on Nat Phillips: “I would sign him for any club."

Of those two, Phillips appears likeliest to leave in January. The 24-year-old is fifth-choice centre-back, and has expressed his desire to play regular first-team football.

Nat Phillips Liverpool GFX
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He had expected to leave in the summer, but Liverpool priced him out of a move. The Reds would want in excess of £10 million ($13.4m), but believe there will be offers from clubs in the Premier League, perhaps Newcastle, during the window.

Origi is likely to stay until the summer, while it would be a surprise if someone like Neco Williams was sold, despite an acceptance that the Wales international is not getting the football he needs at this stage of his career. Williams’ versatility, however, makes him a valuable squad option. 

Loans 

There will be a few decisions to be made on players already out on loan, with Rhys Williams (Swansea), Leighton Clarkson (Blackburn) and Paul Glatzel (Tranmere) all struggling for regular game time.

Vitezslav Jaros is likely to be loaned, having impressed in a spell at Irish side St Patrick’s Athletic this year. An EFL move beckons for the Czech youth international.

Beyond that, Liverpool may expect interest in the likes of teenage full-backs Owen Beck and Conor Bradley, while Elijah Dixon-Bonner, Morgan Boyes and Tom Clayton may well have outgrown Under-23s football at this stage. 

Contracts to be sorted 

Hmm, are there any outstanding contract issues at Liverpool? Let’s have a think…

The Salah story rumbles on, with the Egypt star entering the final 18 months of his current deal.

Mohamed Salah Liverpool GFX
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Finding a solution there is paramount, although the recent sounds from Klopp suggest that talks are progressing well. The expectation is that Salah will sign a new deal.

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Mane and Firmino, too, are into their last year-and-a-half, as are Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita. Some tough decisions may need to be made there.

James Milner’s deal is up in the summer, and it remains to be seen if Liverpool look to extend it by a year. The vice-captain continues to be a useful squad member, but he will be 36 in January. How much longer can he go on for?

Elsewhere, the rest of the key players are tied down into long-term deals, with a raft of extensions agreed during the summer.