While I’m convinced I’ve got Liverpool’s six most important players right, I’m very unsure on the order.
After much deliberation, here’s what I’ve gone with and why…
Feel free to agree, or most likely disagree, as violently as you like!
Or you could let me know on Twitter, here: @Jordan_AC90
6) Jordan Henderson
How can our captain be as low as sixth? He starts every game at the base of midfield, racks up more passes than anyone in the Premier League and covers more ground to boot. I rate Henderson very highly, but the fact is our skipper isn’t a match-winner. When we’re playing poorly against stubborn, defensive sides, he rarely provides inspiration. When we’re on fire though the Englishman provides a magnificent platform centrally and controls proceedings.
5) Joel Matip
Liverpool are a better defensive outfit with the Cameroonian in the side. End of. Before Christmas, we’d have the summer signing higher up this list, but unfortunately, like his team-mates, his level has dropped since. Still, he’s the long-term future of our backline. At his best, Matip provides us with aerial solidarity and composure, enhancing those around him. He also steps out of defence brilliantly and has an eye for a pass. To think, he didn’t cost us a penny.
The Brazilian is Liverpool’s best and most talented player, I’d suggest. He’s technically jaw-dropping and possesses the kind of match-winning quality only world-class players have. But he doesn’t rack up enough goals and assists. Injury has stunted Coutinho this term, but he’s still only on five goals and assists apiece from 18 Premier League matches. It’s decent, but not befitting a player of his otherworldly ability. Thankfully, he’s signed a lengthy contract extension and once he finds consistent form and fitness, he could well re-establish himself as our most important player.
3) Adam Lallana
When deployed in the front-three, we wouldn’t put Lallana in this top six, but when he’s playing in central midfield, he’s exceptional. From this position, he’s notched seven goals and seven assists this term and was an early contender for Player of the Season before his and our form tailed off. We rank him so highly as he injects creativity into the middle of the park, which is lacking when Klopp chooses a trio of Henderson, Wijnaldum and Can. Lallana’s feet are brilliant and he can quickly change direction and start a counter-attack from practically anywhere on the pitch. Klopp loves Lallana, as proven by his hefty contract extension and big wages. Now, it’s up to the Englishman to prove he’s worth £150k/week.
2) Roberto Firmino
Firmino epitomises Liverpool when we’re playing the way Klopp wants us to. At centre-forward (when he’s performing well…), the Brazilian leads the press, works incredibly hard, steals possession and picks up positions that other strikers simply do not. He’s what makes our attack so hard to play against when on-song. Firmino has had many poor games this season, but the reason we put him so high in regards to his importance is that Klopp needs him centrally for his team tactics to work. Without Firmino in the middle, we don’t know when to press as a side and lack intensity. It’s a shame he’s not a natural goalscorer or we’d be looking at a world-class player already.
1) Sadio Mane
What more can be said about the Senegalese flyer? Mane’s importance to Liverpool was categorically proven in January during his AFCON inflicted absence. The only game we won without him was against Plymouth in the FA Cup… He’s the only attacker in our squad who can run directly at defenders and also provide an option behind – meaning he stretches defences and makes them panic. This term he’s on 11 Premier League goals for the campaign and is actually on 32 since he arrived in England two and a half seasons ago. That’s four more than Eden Hazard in the same time. At 24, Mane hasn’t even reached his peak yet. Brilliant signing and our most crucial player.