Henderson, Benteke and Skrtel could Come Together and soon find themselves out of Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp cultivates a togetherness and unity, but never one to Let It Be, any player not producing the required quality on the pitch will find that behind the affable German's smile and charisma lies a ruthless streak.

It boded well enough that Jurgen Klopp seemed to have a fascination with the history and mythology of Liverpool Football Club.

His admiration extended to the city’s greatest musical exports. The German turned up to a press conference on Friday in a Beatles T-shirt. At such moments, club and manager appear a perfect fit.

It may be predictable to then borrow a Beatles song title and suggest it reflects Klopp's managerial methodology but Come Together feels nonetheless appropriate.

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Klopp espouses unity, not merely on the pitch but between players and fans. There is a communal, emotional element to his approach that renders him the right candidate for the people and the city of Liverpool.

But if Klopp has brought rock-star charisma to Anfield, his ever-present smile conceals a ruthlessness. Klopp preaches togetherness as a recipe for success.

In reality, and while he wants total commitment, he also requires quality. An unexpected warning materialised this weekend when, asked about apparent interest from Tottenham Hotspur in his captain Jordan Henderson, he hardly issued a hands-off warning.

“Everything is OK in this moment but nobody in the world, maybe only [Lionel] Messi, is unsellable,” he said.

It would be understandable if it set the alarm bells ringing with Henderson. The midfielder excelled in the 2013/14 campaign. He was one of the few to emerge in credit last year. This season, however, has been interrupted by injury and he has failed to touch such heights.

Two midfielders, Red Star Belgrade’s Marko Grujic and Schalke’s Joel Matip, are certain to arrive at Anfield but few thought Henderson, whose attitude endears him to any manager and whose running power seems particularly suitable to Klopp’s brand of football, was at risk.

Perhaps Henderson was merely being used as an example to worry his colleagues. Certainly, and while he has considerable resale value, there are more obvious candidates for a clear out.

Three were partly culpable for Sunday’s defeat at Southampton. Klopp was seen remonstrating on the pitch with Christian Benteke after the substitute missed a chance to seal victory.

The fact that the second-costliest player in Liverpool’s history has not started a league game since the second day of this year highlights the extent to which he has fallen from favour. A summer move would be in everyone’s best interests.

Tellingly, too, Southampton’s winner stemmed from a poor, hurried clearance from goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. It was further evidence of the Belgian’s propensity to crumble under pressure. The five-year contract he signed recently should not protect him.

Much as Southampton deserve credit for their comeback, too, the catalyst for their comeback was arguably Martin Skrtel who came on at half time, promptly conceded a penalty and delivered a hapless display.

The Slovakian could be forgiven for being ring-rusty in a first display for three months. It is the broader context that should offer concern. Skrtel is Anfield’s great survivor, one who has lingered around in Liverpool for eight-and-a-half years despite being undistinguished or poor for five of the past seven seasons.

His capacity to get bullied by physical strikers was apparent again when Graziano Pelle dominated the aerial exchanges at St Mary’s.

Klopp has revived Dejan Lovren, one central defender who could have been written off as a failure. He has seen Mamadou Sakho excel often in his reign. He has Matip, who can also operate at the back, arriving. He has reached the point where Skrtel not just could be jettisoned, but should be.

Klopp can galvanise a group with his personality, just as his animated antics on the touchline can illustrate how committed he requires his teams to be. Yet even he cannot shake Liverpool out of entrenched mediocrity by coaching prowess and force of personality alone.

For all the talk of togetherness, he has an ambitious streak that means he has to be decisive in his decision-making. Like his brand of football, Klopp is active, not passive.

As Henderson may discover, and as Benteke, Mignolet and Skrtel should, he is not one simply to Let It Be when he has the opportunity to upgrade.

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