Current LFC squad by the numbers: Just who is an under 21 player?

The EPL has squad rules, as does UEFA. So in the insanity of transfer season, I sometimes calm myself down just by looking at the raw numbers. Here are some of those numbers.

Players under 21 don't count. Now, please someone correct me if I'm wrong, but since this season begins in the fall of 2014 under EPL rules that means anyone born on January 1, 1993 or later can not count towards the 25 man overall squad limit. They are somewhat freebies so to speak, which HOORAY! That list begins with Jon Flanagan, who was born on exactly January 1, 1993 and thus enters his final year of eligibility in this crew. Suso, Joao Carlos Teixeira, Tiago Ilori, Conor Coady, Krisztian Adorjan, Jack Robinson, Danny Ward, and new signing Kevin Stewart (a RB just signed from Spurs) join Flanagan in that regard. Other u21 guys listed on the offal with the first team are Emre Can, Lazar Markovic, Raheem Sterling, Jordon Ibe, Samed Yesil, Ryan McLaughlin, Brad Smith, Adam Phillips, Jordan Rossiter, Jerome Sinclair, Cameron Brannagan, Lloyd Jones, and Kristoffer Peterson. So it's nice that new signings Can and Markovic, along with Sterling, Ibe, etc, can still be on this list again next year for better depth in the squad.

So that's a pretty good crop of kids (even if most will see a vast, vast majority of their minutes this season with the u21/reserve team or on loan instead of in the Premier League, Champions League, League or FA Cup games) to compliment what is as of right now 22 names with a handful likely not on this list come September. In order of their number in the squad; Brad Jones, Glen Johnson, Jose Enrique, Kolo Toure, Daniel Agger, Steven Gerrard, Rickie Lambert (I'm assuming he takes #9 now that Aspas is on loan), Phillipe Coutinho, Oussama Assaidi, Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge, Sebastian Coates, Mamadou Sakho, Adam Lallana, Lucas Leiva, Simon Mignolet, Joe Allen, Pepe Reina, Fabio Borini, Martin Kelly, and Martin Skrtel. That leaves room to add a LB to the list, another wide attacker, another striker, and perhaps another CM depending on outgoings and if they have like for like replacements.

Home grown rules aren't much of a problem with Johnson, Jones, Gerrard, Lambert, Lallana, Henderson, Sturridge, Allen, Borini, and Kelly giving more than enough for that 8 players, particularly if more "homegrown" players are added in say Ben Davies or Ryan Bertrand, among others that have been rumored. I haven't included Aspas, Alberto, or Wisdom since all have already had loans announced, but am including those who are still in camp but expected to go below.

So that leaves you with essentially, assuming Rodgers is going back to his 4-3-3 roots, of....

GK: Mignolet, Pepe/signing, Brad Jones Simon as the clear starter of course, Brad Jones for depth with so many games. Pepe is likely sold or loaned, but we are clearly targeting someone with recent starting experience to be Waffles deputy, and hopefully at a cost that is less than what is received for Reina.

RB: Johnson/Flanagan, then Kelly or McLaughlin Not the best depth imo. Kelly really needs games after the past few years, but with Wisdom gone, and if his in better physical condition than last year, he has that FB/CB utility depth in him. McLaughlin also needs games, but arguably could be kept for depth, getting u21 and League Cup matches early in the year and a second half loan for those games.

LB: Enrique, Robinson, Smith That's it for now. Horses, Harleys, and Reds worldwide hope this changes within the next 6 weeks. Robinson and Smith both fit that same bill as McLaughlin, needing regular games but possibly depth early on with a second half loan if they aren't getting enough work. Enrique is the boss for now, and hopefully healthy. But yeah, [whack].

CB: Skrtel, Kolo, Coates, kids
CB: Sakho, Agger, Ilori, kids Coates, like Kelly, really needs games after the past few years on the bench and injured. He could be loaned or sold depending on prices and management thinking. Ilori, like McLaughlin, Robinson, and Smith, needs games to continue developing but could be depth early, loaned later in the year type of a move. We have Skrtel and Sakho as the expected starters, hopefully Agger still around if one falters to step in without drop off, and maybe Kolo as 4th. Then you got Lloyd Jones, Rafa Paez, among others who will get games with the u21/reserves and can be on call in an emergency. It seems the only really question here is if Dejan Lovren or another comes in, and if that means Kolo or Agger gets moved out to make room.

DCM: Gerrard, Lucas, Can, Coady/Rossiter Gerrard is definitely the starter. Lucas his #2 until moved (tears), and personally I'm hoping any sale/loan isn't until late August if only to ensure he isn't needed (see Skrtel, Martin last year for an example on that sort of need). And considering Gerrard's upper leg muscles, age, and extensive summer work, he may well be needed just like that example. Can steps into that deputy role if/when Lucas goes, and could also work in a little further forward where I'm putting Henderson and Allen. I'd assume Rossiter is a key component of the u21/reserve team, and emergency on call like Lloyd Paez above. It's possible Coady backfills a Lucas role as true DM depth, but more likely he's sold for a small fee imo.

CM: Henderson, Allen Two pretty strong options, and hopefully at least one of which can be fit and available whenever a team sheet is made out. If not, I'd assume Can can slide into this spot (provided he isn't needed at DM). It's that sort of lacking margin for error and injury depth, with just these two + Can, Gerrard, and kids for the deeper midfield roles should Lucas go out that has me thinking hopefully he sticks around. Or if he does go, someone is brought in to provide quality depth just in case there's some bad luck.

ACM: Lallana, Coutinho, Suso Doesn't get much better than this. With all three being comfortable and capable as part of a 3 man midfield, midfield diamond, or in a wide attacker role given the depth situation there. Such quality, so through ball.

LW: Markovic, Borini, Ibe
RW: Sterling, Assaidi/signing, kids We all assume Assaidi goes, for a nice fee, but nowhere near as much as what it'd cost to add what I think most are hoping is a pretty strong option here in Xherdan Shaqiri, Antoine Griezmann, Arda Turan, etc. So swap one name above for a better name by September and it seems business is complete. Ibe would be well suited for a loan to get regular games, although [repeat lines on Ilori, Smith, McLaughlin, etc above]. So say a 3 man rotation of Lazar beams, Dreems, and [insert left footed 20-24 yr old emerging star for £15-30m], with Borini or one of the ACMs as depth when you aren't using 2 of those 3 sounds nice. I'd assume Adorjan is sold for a small fee, with Sinclair similar to Lloyd Paez Rossiter starring for u21/reserves and emergency first team depth. Same as Sinclair for Peterson, and others in that range like Harry Wilson, Daniel Trickett-Smith, and Sergi Canos depending on how they are all improving in the coming months.

ST: Sturridge, Lambert, Borini, Yesil Borini is one some think won't get games, and that may be depending on health of others, but we have the room, and the competitions so that he'd almost certainly be needed during the year. Then again, that sell him for £10m or so, and you've got Remy's fee. Or good chunk of the price for Bony, Lacazette, etc. And games wouldn't be as easy to come by for your 4th choice across your attacking 3 as opposed to the depth chart like it's currently situated. But Lambert was reportedly brought in to be third choice, not second, and given Sturridge's injury history having a strong option when he's unavailable, or needing a break to keep from overdoing it, is a good idea. Thus the Bony, Lacazette, Remy rumors. There'd still be more than enough room on the squad list to add a Griez/Shaqiri, and a Bony/Lacazette, and still keep Borini around as depth. But is it financially reasonable, or does Rodgers want to do his boy like that potentially stunting his development again?

TL;DR: I'm nuts.

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