Liverpool face dropping two stars from Champions League squad due to Cody Gakpo

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Liverpool face dropping two stars from Champions League squad due to Cody Gakpo
Liverpool face dropping two stars from Champions League squad due to Cody Gakpo

Jurgen Klopp faces having to omit at least two senior players from Liverpool's Champions League squad for the second half of the season following the signing of Cody Gakpo.

Liverpool are allowed to have 25 'List A' players in their squad for the tournament, but eight of those must be "association trained" stars.

Klopp named a 24-player squad for the group stages of after not having enough eligible homegrown players.

He will be forced to drop one senior player to make way for new signing Cody Gakpo following his recent £45million move from PSV Eindhoven. He also faces a selection headache over the return of Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain were both left out of the group-stage squad due to injury but are now fully fit and will be pushing for a return. The latter, an England international, is classed as an association-trained player - but that doesn't solve the problem.

Klopp's dream Liverpool line up as last-gasp January transfers rejected eidehiqdqikinvKlopp's dream Liverpool line up as last-gasp January transfers rejected

That's because half of Liverpool's eight association-trained players must be "club-trained" and only three of their seven homegrown stars from the group-stage squad fell under that category. Therefore, Oxlade-Chamberlain can't just slot into that eighth spot.

Klopp can resolve that issue by registering Stefan Bajcetic as a "List B" player. Those on that list can feature in the Champions League without being part of the 25-player squad. Bajcetic, who joined Liverpool from Celta Vigo in December 2020, is now eligible to become a List B player after spending two years at the club and being under the age of 21.

Liverpool face dropping two stars from Champions League squad due to Cody GakpoCody Gakpo is almost certain to be included in Liverpool's Champions League squad (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Who do you think Liverpool should leave out of their Champions League squad? Let us know in the comments below!

Although that frees up one slot, Klopp will be forced to leave out two players to make room for Oxlade-Chamberlain, Keita and Gakpo. The latter will surely be included after scoring nine goals and providing 12 assists in 14 Eredivisie games this season.

The Netherlands international, who scored three goals at the recent World Cup in Qatar, was pictured training with his Liverpool team-mates on Thursday. He is set to make his debut in the FA Cup tie against Wolves at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.

Furthermore, Liverpool are only allowed to include three new players in their Champions League squad for the second half of the season. That means more players could be forced to miss out if they make more signings during the ongoing transfer window.

As such, Liverpool's transfer business in January could be over. In terms of which two players could be left out, Klopp could cut Adrian and just have two senior goalkeepers in Alisson and Caoimhin Kelleher. The latter won't be cut, as he's classed as club-trained.

And if either Alisson or Kelleher suffer an injury, Klopp can always call up a List B goalkeeper to deputise. That still leaves one senior player in danger of missing out. The man to take a back seat could be Nat Phillips, who is classed as an association-trained player instead of a club-trained player after joining Liverpool from Bolton aged 19.

Other potential omissions include injured midfielder Arthur Melo - as it's believed his loan from Juventus could be terminated - or injured forward Luis Diaz. It seems very unlikely the latter would be left out, even if he's still nursing a knee injury.

Liverpool must decide their Champions League squad by February 2. They face European champions Real Madrid in the last 16 of the competition - a repeat of last season's final.

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Tom Blow

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