With the season coming to a (fingers crossed) momentary halt, we have decided to dish out report cards to the senior players in the squad – who are just two victories away from being champions of England.
Alisson Becker: B+
The Brazilian shot-stopper has consistently showed why he is easily one of the top three goalkeepers in the world when he is on the pitch. Alisson’s catlike reflexes, pinpoint distribution and excellent positioning have seen him kept 10 clean sheets this season, and well on hand to retain the Premier League Golden Glove award.
The only small problem lies here – being on the pitch has been a concern for Alisson this season, who have missed significant parts of the season due to injuries.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: A+
The sky is the limit for the Scouser in the team. With 12 assists already to his name, Alexander-Arnold is constantly redefining the fullback position; a massive portion of the attacking threat this season (and last) is conjured thanks to the brilliance of this young Englishman. The 22-year-old has clearly what it takes to be the best right-back in the world, let alone in England – and we are sure even the coronavirus is not stopping that.
Joe Gomez: A-
Criminally underrated by everyone outside Liverpool, Gomez has firmly established himself as the first choice partner for van Dijk this season. Strong, powerful and reads the game well, the Englishman is definitely one of the best defenders in the country but somehow still behind Harry Maguire in the national team’s pecking order. One glaring aspect of his game is still missing though – and we are talking about his (lack of) attacking threat in the opposition’s box.
Virgil van Dijk: A+
It is yet another brilliant season so far for the Dutchman, who will surely go down as one of Liverpool’s greatest defenders. He has struck a brilliant partnership with Joe Gomez in the heart of the defence, building a solid foundation for the Reds’ title charge. And it’s not just all about defending too, with the towering defender chipping in with four goals in the Premier League this season – including one against Manchester United.
Andy Robertson: A-
The Scotland captain’s energy and quality on the ball is one of Klopp’s key weapons, with both him and Alexander-Arnold constantly challenging to raise the bar of a modern fullback. Robertson perhaps tailed off a teeny bit from his phenomenal 18/19 season, but is still easily one of the first names on the teamsheet.
Who can forget his last minute equalizer against Aston Villa this season?
Gini Wijnaldum: B+
A constant in Klopp’s midfield three, Wijnaldum is the most adept in linking up play between attack and defence. The Dutchman is strong and composed on the ball, and provides a little more creativity than most of his midfield counterparts. He scored a goal against rivals Everton this season too, and extending the 30-year-old’s contract will be high on Klopp’s priority list.
The “Dyson” began the campaign brilliantly; showing again the type of form that saw him established himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world last season. The Brazilian’s man-of-the-match performances against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City clearly stood out, and who can forget the belter he unleashed against Pep Guardiola’s side?
An injury in the Champions League, however, kept him out for a prolonged period and it is fair to say Fabinho failed to recapture his early season form since his return; while it looks like he will be one of those who can benefit from this momentary pause in the campaign.
Jordan Henderson: A+
The 18/19 season saw the captain lead the Reds to European glory for the sixth time, and perhaps even the most ardent Henderson sceptic would have changed his mind about the England midfielder. This season, Henderson has shown time and time again why he is such a vital cog in this Liverpool’s machine, with his leadership – both on and off the pitch – a key part to their dominance in the league. Contender for the Player of the Season accolade, it is no coincidence Liverpool’s only defeat occurred in his absence.
Mo Salah: B+
Is it fair to judge a player based on previous seasons? The Egyptian King is one of those who are perhaps victims of their own success, with an unbelievable debut season meaning that the bar has been set really, really high for the winger.
Salah is still racking up a dizzy amount of goals and assists (16 goals and 6 assists) this season, but he is equally culpable of those frustrating moments and poor decisions. All that said, Salah is still an indispensable weapon in the team – and he notched his 70th league goal this season, all in just 100 appearances.
Roberto Firmino: B+
Si Senor might well be one of the most important players in the team, with his remarkable ability to combine his link-up play and defending from the front making him one of the most unique forwards in world football. Eight goals and seven assists this season in the league is a pretty remarkable haul to show for, but there is a feeling that the Brazilian has the ability to do more.
Firmino has amazingly yet to score at Anfield this campaign, but who really cares when he is capable of moments of pure brilliance – like that assist against Newcastle United?
Sadio Mane: A*
The Senegalese is the Player of the Season (so far), and we really do not think there is much to debate on this front. Mane has been in electrifying form this season – his two goals against Chelsea saw Liverpool lift the UEFA Super Cup, he finished 4th in the 2019 Ballon d’Or and also notched his 50th league goal for Liverpool. But the standout performance was against arch-rival Everton, in which he single-handedly put the Toffees to the sword with a stirring performance that saw him register one goal and two assists.
14 goals, 7 assists and a shitload of brilliant performances this season – what more can you ask for?
Yes, the horror pass by the Spaniard against Atletico Madrid still lives fresh in our minds – but there is no denying that Adrian has put in more good performances than bad for the Reds. He probably did not expect to be playing this much when he signed in the summer, and has stepped up admirably in Alisson’s absence – including the performance in the UEFA Super Cup, and that save against Napoli in the Champions League.
Joel Matip: B+
The Cameroon defender was the first choice partner for van Dijk at the beginning of the campaign, and even scored his first Premier League goal of the season against Arsenal in August. Matip was in fine form, even winning the PFA Player of the Month in September. But injuries eventually saw him lost his spot to Gomez, highlighting just the strength in depth Klopp possesses in that department.
Dejan Lovren: B
The 30-year-old started the campaign on the fringes, but was given an opportunity when Matip was ruled out. He was largely reliable at the back during the run of games, providing Liverpool fans some assurance with impressive performances. However, a questionable performance against Watford saw fans criticizing once again his ability to start games, and it seems likely that the Croat could be leaving the club at the end of the season.
James Milner: B+
The club’s Mr Reliable – Milner has shown again this season why he is so valued by everyone at Melwood despite being on the wrong end of the age scale, football-wise at least. The 34-year-old did not feature as much as he did in the previous season, but it is his leadership, experience and reliability that has played a huge part in the Reds title quest. Who can forget the clearance against Bournemouth?
Naby Keita: C
The Guinean midfielder has been largely disappointing this season when called upon, with injuries and poor form moving him way down the pecking order. Keita will be hoping that the halt in the season can provide him some respite, as he focuses on bouncing back from an injury-hampered campaign. Fans will be expecting more from the box-to-box midfielder when football resumes, although time might be slowly running out for Keita.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: B+
Is he a central midfielder or a wide player? The 27-year-old might have yet to establish his best position in a Liverpool kit, but has proved to be an important player this season. Oxlade Chamberlain chipped in with an important goal against West Ham, ensuring Liverpool had beaten every single team in the country this campaign. The Englishman is fast approaching his peak in football, and he will be hoping to rediscover his brilliant 17/18 form for Liverpool.
Adam Lallana: B
One of the senior players in the squad, Lallana is once again finding opportunities hard to come by. A quality attacking midfielder on his day, it is perhaps his leadership and experience off the pitch that has contributed more to the club this season. Neco Williams has recently named Lallana as the mentor whom had left the biggest impact, and it is exactly the type of character that Klopp admires, and vital in a title challenge.
Takumi Minamino: B-
The Japanese international has yet to properly kick off his season before the coronavirus outbreak, and he will be hoping to use this opportunity to get to know his new teammates better – virtually at least.
Divock Origi: B-
One of Liverpool’s cult heroes, Origi has failed to leave the sort of impact he did from the previous campaign. The Belgian is finding opportunities increasingly hard to come by, and will he looking for new pastures with the European Championships 2020 postponed to 2021?
Xherdan Shaqiri: B-
Injuries have limited the Swiss international to just 6 appearances in the league this season, but his brilliant goal against Everton perhaps salvaged an otherwise disappointing campaign for the stocky midfielder.
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