This season Liverpool are finally in a position when all players are fit there is finally a strong starting XI, not only that but the players on the bench would slot in to other teams starting XI on a weekly basis. Liverpool no longer have to rely on Lucas Levia and the ever reliant Martin Skrtel as back up.
Jürgen Klopp has added quality back up in positions last year Liverpool seriously lacked in. Not only that, he has brought in some real quality players to battle it out for a starting position with some of the more established stats at the club.
One of these battles have been played out over the last number of weeks. Liverpool started the season with last seasons number 1 Simon Mignolet between the sticks, albeit because of an injury Loris Karius, the new boy in the block picked up an injury in pre season.
Mignolet been Mignolet had a fairly average start to the season, but once Karius was fit to start games, he was duly dropped to the bench, with Klopp declaring Karius was his number one choice in goal.
Then West Ham and Bournemouth happened and all of a sudden Mignolet, last seasons pariah was welcomed back on the fold with open arms from a section of the fan base. It seems some fans have a short memory.
Both keepers have similar stats in relation to saves made, saves per goals ratio and so on. For me though Karius edges the number one spot. In the 10 games he’s played this season in the league he has 3 clean sheets Mignolet after 6 games has the 2.
While Karius is younger than the Belgian number 2, Karius has a better presence in the box and is able to play the goalkeeper/sweeper role better than Mignolet.
The back four for much of the season has been written in stone.Nathaniel Clyne at right back, Dejan Lovren and new boy Joël Matip in the centre and the born again James Milner at left back.
Personally I don’t think this can be considered Liverpool’s strongest back four. Why? Well Dejan Lovren is shite and looks lost when he doesn’t have a strong leader beside him.
This was proven against Bournemouth when Liverpool fell to pieces in the second half losing the game 4-3. I know Karius got a lot of the blame for that defeat but for me Lovren was just as culpable as Karius in that defeat.
He should have used his experience to settle those around him but instead he fell to pieces, coasting out of position and giving Bournemouth room to attack Karius at will.
I would love to see a centre back pairing of Mamadou Sakho and Joël Matip. Both are big, strong defenders and have no problem running with ball out of defence.
As this won’t happen, with Sakho rumoured to be leaving the club in January, I would prefer to see Ragnar Klaven partner Matip instead of Lovren.
Klaven has a calmer head to Lovren and doesn’t seem to panic when the ball is in the box, he uses his experience well and gives confidence to not only the keeepr but those around him.
Then there’s the other centre back option Lucas. I refuse though to lower myself to talk about him as a defender. He’s barely able to make it as a midfielder let alone a centre back.
That brings me on nicely to James Milner, at 30 years of age, he’s no longer a spring chicken. While he’s done a decent job at left back so far this season, I’m hoping he’s not the long term option there.
At 24 Alberto Moreno is a more viable option as left back in the current Liverpool squad. We’ll not talk about the number of times Milner has been caught out of position this season when he forward up the pitch.
While last season Morwno made some howlers that invariably cost Liverpool points, he only made 2 defensive errors in the 32 games he played in the Premier League. Like Karius, after a couple of bad games this season, Klopp opted to omit him from the team.
Being the professional he is, Moreno got on with it and continues to train hard. In the cup games he has played he has already notched up 2 assists and was unlucky not to score against Leeds when his shot came back off the post – no mistakes in either of those games.
For me the back four would be Clyne (only because there is no one challenging himyet), Klaven, Matip and Moreno.
The midfield is where my problems start. Klopp this season has opted for a three man midfield. Adam Lallana, Emre Can, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum have all played in the midfield and none of them could be called poor.
Wijnaldum is the player who has surprised me the most this season. When he arrived from Newcastle I was full of trepidation, simply because I had seen negative reports about him from Newcastle fans.
In the 16 games he has played for Liverpool this season he has been superb. He has scored the one goal already this season, created 19 chances, has 2 assists, has made 641 passes with a successful pass percentage of 88% with 62% of those passes been forward passes.
Can, we all know the ability he posses. His energy levels are up there with any other players on the pitch. Because of the way he plays he has picked up a few niggly injuries this season but he’s still managed to play 10 games, score 3 goals, assisted the one and has created 12 chances.
See this isn’t getting any easier.
Then there’s El Capitain, Jordan Henderson. The player who has made the most passes this season, the player with the highest pass accuracy in the league, a player who has led from the front and who showed that he has put the last 2 injury ravaged seasons behind him and has stepped up a level.
He’s finally the captain on the pitch Liverpool needed after Steven Gerrard left for the bright lights of Hollywood.
Finally there’s Adam Lallana. Klopp made the bold decision at the start of the season to drop him in to midfield. And what a move that has been.
He has already scored 6 goals from 15 games. Has just as many assists and in total has created 17 chances. He has also up his work rate and is as happy chasing down the ball from an opposition defender as he is creating a goal scoring opportunity.
He has worked his way in to becoming, for me one of Liverpool’s top 3 players so far this season. I never thought I’d be saying that, not in a million years.
If I was pushed in to a decision I would go with a midfield trio of Lallana, Can and Henderson and drop Wijnaldum to the bench. Sorry Georginio.
Watch out for part 2 tomorrow
Written by @TheMoanyOne