You get a banner, you get a banner, you get a banner, you get a banner… ginger guy at the back – no banner for you
In which we rank Liverpool’s formidable Premier League-winning squad, in reverse order of course. There’s just one criterion: the player must have played at least 90 minutes in the Premier League this season (that excludes Neco Williams, Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones, who appeared as subs once, twice and twice respectively). All stats correct at time of writing.
21. Takumi Minamo (5 appearances, 139 mins played, 0 goals, 0 assists)
Last one in, first one up (he arrived at Liverpool in January). He seems to have the tools – high work rate, stamina, athleticism – to succeed in a Jurgen Klopp system, but he’ll have his work cut out cracking the starting XI on a regular basis.
20. Xherdan Shaqiri (6 apps, 174 mins, 1 goal, 0 assists)
The Swiss cube scored in the Merseyside derby last December but did the square root of f-all thereafter. Very likely he’s sold or loaned out this summer.
19. Adam Lallana (15 apps, 365 mins, 1 goal, 1 assist)
Another international who has found himself on the fringe of Klopp’s squad, reduced to substitute appearances. If he leaves this summer (at 32, you imagine a few Premier League clubs might be interested), Liverpool fans will remember the Englishman fondly, especially as his one goal this season was a late equaliser at Old Trafford.
18. Naby Keita (11 apps, 439 mins, 1 goal, 1 assist)
When he’s good he’s very good, but Keita seems incapable of stringing three excellent games together, plus he spends too much time on the treatment table. He’s only 25, so Klopp will probably stand by him for at least one more season.
17. Dejan Lovren (10 apps, 777 mins, 0 goals, 1 assist)
Lovren seems to be a loud and influential voice in the dressing room but his value on the pitch is starting to decline. As we know, he will always offer you a handful of games where he does not put a foot wrong, but then, out of nowhere, a trademark lapse undoes the good work.
16. Adrian (11 apps, 873 mins, 0 goals, 0 assists)
Between the sticks for a third of Liverpool’s winning campaign and he’s been a reliable stand-in for Alisson, despite making glaring mistakes in other competitions.
15. Joel Matip (9 apps, 703 mins, 1 goal, 0 assists)
Probably the best option Liverpool have to partner Virgil van Dijk at the back, but injuries have interrupted his campaign and it’s reported he won’t play again this season. Matip has improved a lot since he arrived at Anfield in 2016, but you can understand why Klopp might be searching for a more dominant centre-back.
14. Divock Origi (23 apps, 529 mins, 3 goals, 1 assist)
Used by Klopp in two-thirds of league games, but often from the bench and then out wide rather than in his preferred central position. Origi has to realise a supporting role to Firmino/Salah/Mane is as good as it will get for him, but still, he’d be disappointed to score only three goals in 500+ minutes.
13. Joe Gomez (21 apps, 1413 mins, 0 goals, 0 assists)
From early December to mid January, Liverpool kept seven clean sheets in a row, all with Gomez at the heart of defence. At times, he and Van Dijk looked utterly impregnable. Played more games than Matip and Lovren combined, which shows how highly Klopp rates him. His positioning is suspect at times but he’ll improve.
The face of a man who got off a sinking ship and was rescued by a luxury yacht
12. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (23 apps, 1178 mins, 3 goals, 0 assists)
Every day, Oxlade-Chamberlain must look at Arsenal, and then at his league winner’s medal, and say a heartfelt prayer that he left north London before the rot really set in. Playing for Klopp has revitalised him, so much so that you’d do well to find a photo of the Ox where he’s not grinning from ear to ear.
11. James Milner (19 apps, 801 mins, 2 goals, 2 assists)
‘Milly’ has played less than you might think – only a little more than Lovren this season – but his importance to Klopp and Liverpool transcends playing time; his immense work ethic and professionalism makes it easier for Klopp and his coaching staff to set the tone.
And, drum roll please, the top ten…
10. Fabinho (22 apps, 1625 mins, 2 goals, 2 assists)
But for an ankle injury suffered against Napoli, Fabinho would be a contender for Liverpool’s player of the season. When fit, the Brazilian’s performances were often colossal. As it stands he makes the top ten anyway. If Liverpool want to win back-to-back titles, they will need Fabinho to be on the pitch.
9. Alisson (22 apps, 1929 mins, 0 goals, 1 assist)
Many prayers were offered up on Merseyside when he got injured. He is one of the top three keepers in the world (up there with Jan Oblak and Marc Ter Stegen), after all. As said above, Adrian was hardly leaky, but Alisson’s return from a three-month layoff would have been a huge reassurance for Liverpool’s back four.
8. Roberto Firmino (31 apps, 2560 mins, 8 goals, 7 assists)
The most popular Bobby in English football since Moore and Charlton? Possibly. Firmino is Liverpool’s most entertaining player – his flicks are obscenely good. His movement is brilliant too – throughout the season he’s created so much space for Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. Eighth seems almost criminally low for the Brazilian, but there’s some stiff competition.
7. Georginio Wijnaldum (30 apps, 2447 mins, 3 goals, 0 assists)
No Liverpool midfielder has played more minutes this season than Wijnaldum. He’s featured in every league game bar one. To the casual eye, it’s not always easy to see what makes the Dutchman so good, but if you study him closely you see everything he does is high class and underpinned by a natural football intelligence. It’s hard to pick out a weakness in his game.
6. Andy Robertson (29 apps, 2531 mins, 1 goal, 8 assists)
It must be a dream to manage a full-back who never stops running. Robertson has improved his defensive work this season, but not at the expense of his attacking instincts – he’s got forward enough to make eight assists (more than any Liverpool midfielder or forward).
5. Mo Salah (27 apps, 2341 mins, 17 goals, 7 assists)
Perhaps Salah hasn’t quite hit the heights of previous seasons, but after a slow start he’s been brilliant most of the time, outwitting many a defender with his outrageously quick feet. He is Liverpool’s top scorer as well.
4. Jordan Henderson (27 apps, 2051 mins, 3 goals, 5 assists)
It feels almost sacrilegious to say it, but Henderson has surpassed predecessor Steven Gerrard. Not as a player, where Gerrard still has the edge, but certainly as a leader and a winner of trophies (of course Gerrard never had Klopp, nor such a good collection of players around him). This has been his defining season, when he’s driven his team-mates to new heights with a series of exemplary performances. So if you still want to criticise him – and there are fans out there who continue to berate him – well, that’s on you, not him.
3. Trent Alexander-Arnold (31 apps, 2714 mins, 3 goals, 12 assists)
Three goals and twelve (!) assists tell only part of the story. Alexander-Arnold is redefining full-back play before our eyes, not to mention he’s responsible alone for making right-back a cool position. The cherry on top: he’s a Liverpool Academy player.
2. Sadio Mane (28 apps, 2270 mins, 15 goals, 7 assists)
Salah has scored a couple more goals than Mane this season, but Mane has consistently been the more dangerous forward. It was Mane’s electric form at the start of the campaign that propelled Liverpool to the top of the table. Like so many of his team-mates, he has improved dramatically year-on-year under Klopp.
1. Virgil van Dijk (31 apps, 2790 mins, 4 goals, 1 assist)
Van Dijk is the league’s undisputed apex predator. He’s proved that his beast mode form last season was no fluke. When Van Dijk’s form dips, which is a very, very rare occurrence, Liverpool’s form dips. The whole team feeds on his confidence, his dominance. Put it another way: he’s the most physically gifted centre-back the Premier League has ever seen, and you take it for granted that he will be imperious week in, week out.