Liverpool players in 2019–20: Who delivered and who disappointed?
With Liverpool on the verge of a historic title win, Peter Watton, from matched betting specialists OddsMonkey, takes a look back at the season to see which players have performed well and which players have disappointed in their form.
In the past week or so, we’ve seen the return of the Premier League after its extended break due to COVID-19. And, with Liverpool starring as champions-in-waiting, they’re rightly taking all the plaudits for the fantastic form that has propelled the club to victory.
However, even in the most successful sides, there’s always a wider tale to tell when you look at the individual performances of each player. With this in mind, I thought it would be worth looking at the standout performers this season, as well as some of the players who could have contributed more.
The outstanding players
Virgil van Dijk
For my money, Virgil van Dijk has been the best player in the world over the past two seasons. He’s a fantastic example of a player who started from relatively small beginnings and has reached the very top because of hard work and a dedication to improving.
This season, van Dijk has been imperious. He has consistently dealt with almost every threat on the ground and in the air, marshalling the Liverpool backline so it has conceded only 21 goals at the time of writing — by far the lowest in the league. He’s also improved in possession, with the most passes of any Premier League player this season. At 28, he’s only just reaching his prime and will get better.
Sadio Mané, like van Dijk, is another of Liverpool’s recruits from Southampton who has proven to be hugely successful. In his four years at the club, the Senegalese forward has established himself as an indispensable part of the team’s attack.
Mané’s success is chiefly due to the fact he is the perfect Klopp player. Yes, he has goals and assists, but it is his willingness to sacrifice his own individual achievements for the betterment of the team. In the past season, he has filled in on the left, right, and even through the centre, always with the same lung-busting running and commitment. It’s his dedication to the game plan that has made him such a key player for the Reds this season, and the team look like they’re in a different gear when he plays.
What Trent Alexander-Arnold has accomplished since his debut is astounding. In 2016, he was just another promising youngster, but he has managed to become a world-class right back at the age of 21. Not only that, he’s revolutionised the most unfashionable position on the pitch. He’s done this to such an extent that experts will look back and say that he changed what’s expected of a defender.
Alexander-Arnold is, maybe, the first playmaking right-back. So far this season, he has only four fewer assists than Kevin de Bruyne, arguably the best attacking midfielder in the world. Also, he has had the most touches of anyone in the Premier League this season and is third in the number of passes made. He’s a right-back that has playmaker stats, and that’s why he’s so important.
The disappointing players
When he arrived at Liverpool, Naby Keïta was lauded as a great signing at £48 million for one of the most exciting youngsters in the world. Fast forward almost two years, and I’m sure that most Reds fans would agree that they’ve yet to see the best of the player. At times, Keïta has looked very good and at times he has looked lost, and it says a lot when cheaper players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gigi Wijnaldum are seen as more consistent options.
This season, he has had terrible injury problems, with only 10 league appearances so far. I think this summer will be a crossroads for Naby Keïta and Liverpool, with some big decisions to be made about his future. The club will probably look at his fitness and form struggles, as well as his current market value, and weigh them up against his obvious talent and the likelihood that he’ll finally adapt.
Adam Lallana is just one of those players — very talented but very injury prone. And, after six years at Liverpool, the club announced it would be parting ways with the midfielder in the summer (albeit after a short COVID-19 extension), so his last act will (hopefully) be to get his hands on the trophy.
With just one goal in the last three seasons, it would appear that most of his contributions have been off the pitch. Klopp is even on the record saying that the player has been incredibly important during his reign. Even so, I don’t think many Liverpool fans will miss the sight of Lallana coming off the bench for his customary 15th appearance of the season and not really doing much. If he hadn’t been ravaged by injuries, the conversation around Adam Lallana may have been very different.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look back at who’s delivered and disappointed this season. Hopefully, in the next few games, this talented Liverpool squad will get to celebrate that sought after title.