Change is coming to Liverpool next season under Jürgen Klopp where a tailored revival project is set to take shape in the first summer transfer window under the charismatic German. Many Liverpool players have been linked with temporary and permanent exits as Klopp seeks to shape his squad ahead of a season with no European football. For Brad Smith, however, any opportunities to play may have to come on loan.
Losing the Europa League final to Sevilla hurt Liverpool, especially after a promising first half that brought a one-goal lead. The reality for many players, though, is that there will be fewer minutes on offer in a season that is set to be fiercely competitive with much at stake. Two domestic cup competitions and 38 league games will ensure that Liverpool's squad is far more streamlined. High-profile players such as Christian Benteke and Martin Škrtel will leave, youngsters such as Jordan Rossiter have already left, squad players like Joe Allen will have to consider their futures at some point this summer, and others will need to find a way to continue their development elsewhere.
For some players, though, there may be reason to stick around until January. Kevin Stewart's prospects have improved after Rossiter's departure but will inevitably suffer somewhat in the event of expected additions in midfield. Alberto Moreno is set to stick around to prove he can be the left back Liverpool needs and deserves, but there have been links with a number of left backs as further depth and competition is reuquired. Where does this leave a player who has made ten appearances this season?
"I’ve played 10 times this season," the 22-year-old said. "I’m enjoying my football and hopefully I can just keep it going. (Now) We’ll play these (international) games, have a little bit of time off, go back for pre-season, stay fit and work hard and see what happens there really. Hopefully do well at pre-season and stay at the club. But if not, speak to the manager and if he wants me to go out on loan and get experience I’m happy to do that as well."
The defender went on to credit Klopp's influence this season, and it was the manager's faith in the player that kept Smith at the club. When the defender re-signed in November 2015, ending his wilderness without a club after his deal expired in the summer, it was a sign of Klopp's power to intervene in potentially combustible situations and connect with players. It is this trust in the manager that will prove to be a key feature of Klopp's tenure on Merseyside.
"I was keeping in contact with a few of the staff members at the club, I was training on my own, training with a few clubs and just keeping fit," he added. "Keeping in contract with the club and we managed to sort it out, and went back, signed the deal. The manager saw a liking in me and then went from there really. It was difficult time for me and my family but we’re back from that now, It’s been a great season, the manager’s given me some chances and a few of the young boys as well."