Liverpool 2018/19 season's player ratings: Who blossomed and who has room for improvement?
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Liverpool 2018/19 season's player ratings: Who blossomed and who has room for improvement?

Who starred and who flopped in Jürgen Klopp's record-breaking squad in the German's third-full season in charge?

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Joshua Kerr

Records shattered, emotions sky-high and pride in-tact. Liverpool may have narrowly missed out on ending their 29-year title drought, but a record-breaking campaign that saw Jürgen Klopp's side reach a staggering 97 points was breathtaking nonetheless. 

Liverpool may sadly have announced themselves as the greatest ever runner-up in Europe's top-five league, bettering 116 of the previous 119 English champions. 

The Reds were also unbeaten at home for a second successive top-flight term for the first time since 1979-80 whilst also monitoring their best ever defensive performance in the Premier League era conceding just 22 goals as well as registering 21 clean sheets.

It may have not been quite enough to win the domestic crown but Klopp and his players are just two weeks away from another Champions League Final. But, which of the German's players shone brightest during another exhilarating season of football?

VAVEL UK's Liverpool FC editor Joshua Kerr rates the player's performances for 2018/19.

Goalkeeper 

Alisson Becker (9): Perhaps the final piece of the jigsaw to a Premier League winning assembled squad. The Brazilian has had a gargantuan impact in Liverpool taking the title to the final day and saw the Reds close the gap on champions Manchester City to just a point in comparison to the 25 point deficit last season. 

The art of being a true Liverpool great in-between the sticks is the ability to do very little exceptionally well. An upgrade on Loris Karius doesn't do the term justice. This is the equivalent of ditching your childhood sweetheart and making Margot Robbie your new No.1. 

The Premier League Golden Glove winner with a more-than-impressive 21 clean sheets, Alisson has been nothing short of a revelation at Anfield and is arguably Liverpool's best goalkeeper since Bruce Grobbelaar.

Simon Mignolet (4): Two games and two defeats for Liverpool's back-up Belgian. An understudy to Alisson all-season, and, unfortunately for Mignolet supporters have never looked back. 

A fine servant of the club for the last six years and there is no shame in being back-up to a truly world-class goalkeeper. However, the only future imagined for Mignolet at Liverpool is one destined on the sidelines. A likely departure this summer.

Defence

Trent Alexander-Arnold (8.5): Robbed of PFA Young Player of the Year but a deserved inclusion in the PFA Team of the Year that saw three Liverpool defenders in the all-star back-four for the first time in Premier League history.

It's quite difficult to believe that TAA is only 20. A breathtaking 15 assists for a right-back is quite-frankly obscene and the Englishman looks set to be the Reds first-choice full-back for the next decade. Already inspiring victories against the likes of Barcelona whilst still keeping both feet on the ground. A sensation.

Virgil van Dijk (10): Flawless. The only word required to describe such a specimen. A freak of nature when it comes to defending and has quickly established himself as the best defender in world football. 

The PFA Player of the Year has taken this Liverpool team to fresh depths that were unimaginable at the time where Dejan Lovren was nearly forced into an early coma following that shambolic performance against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley just over a year ago. 

The Dutchman is the heartbeat of the team and ensures everything is ticking properly. He has perhaps transformed the Reds defence to the best in the league whilst also notching six goals to his goalscoring tally. He can score, he can block, he can inspire. Van Dijk is almost the perfect player and should be taken very seriously for the Ballon d'Or voting should he lead Liverpool to their sixth European title.

Joel Matip (7.5): Liverpool's unsung hero. Quite astonishing to believe that it was Matip who would partner Van Dijk to help almost end 29 years of league hurt for the Reds. 

The Cameroon defender was an understudy earlier in the season and was fourth in the pecking order in terms of Liverpool's centre-backs. His return to the first team was initially met with dread rather than optimism but Matip has been a confident figure in a defence that has rarely been altered since the turn of the new year. 

His ability to drive out of defence impersonating a rather awkward Franz Beckenbeaur has had supporters of their feet. Has proved his worth when alongside the right man and definitely someone Liverpool should look to keep. 

Dejan Lovren (6): Unfortunately the Croatian has had an injury-ridden campaign following such a promising World Cup showing. Lovren since has been unable to cement a permanent place in Klopp's team and is still prone to the occasional error when selected. Allowing Sergio Aguero too much space at the Etihad to score the opener in the top-of-the-table-clash quickly springs to mind. However, Lovren is a far better defender than he is credited with and his thunderbolt against Newcastle was one of the club's strikes of the season.

Alberto Moreno (3): Thanks for the memories Alberto, but now is surely the end. The difference in quality between Moreno and Robertson is unquantifiable and a rare start against Wolves in the FA Cup typified how far the Spaniard has fallen in Klopp's hierarchy.  

More travesties than high points in his Reds career and it's still incredible to believe how Moreno survived following such a performance against his former club Sevilla in the 2016 Europa League Final. A distant memory that perhaps typifies just how far Liverpool have come in just a few short years.

Joe Gomez (7): If this piece were being written pre-Christmas then Gomez would be scoring in the high nines. However, a devastating setback at Burnley saw the Englishman suffer a break in his right leg just when he and Van Dijk were beginning to draw comparisons to Hansen/Lawrensen.

If fit, Gomez is the future of Liverpool's defence and could be Van Dijk's long-term partner for seasons to come. A one to watch certainly for next season.

Andy Robertson (9.5): If not for Van Dijk, Robertson would be a shoo-in for Liverpool's Player of the Year and would clean up the majority of individual awards this season. It's hard to think of a player in world football - let alone England - more consistent than the Scottish full-back. 

The former Queen's Park defender has formed a formidable partnership with TAA in recording assists boasting an impressive 11 in the league - one fewer than Christian Eriksen - whilst effortlessly announcing himself as comfortably the Premier League's best left-back since Ashley Cole. Period. 

Midfield

James Milner (8): Perhaps the greatest Premier League bargain ever struck. Milner has been a revelation throughout Klopp's three-year project and is more consistent that pigeon poop in Trafalgar Square.

It's going to be so tough for Klopp in deciding the midfield trident to start in Madrid following so many inspiring performances.

Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of the season was seeing Milner reduced to tears at the end of the Barcelona victory and is a player who personifies how to maintain such high-quality standards at the peak of professional football.

Jordan Henderson (8): It's difficult to find a player more ridiculed by rival fans than Jordan Henderson. The club-captain for years has received scrutiny - especially from United supporters -  for lacking the quality to play for - let alone lead - a top-six team. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. 

The England international consistently seems to have months of excellence undervalued by something as absurd as one misplaced pass. There isn't one Liverpool manager who has failed to fall in love with Henderson's qualities and the midfielder epitomises someone deserving of wearing the Red shirt. Perhaps needs to add more goals to his game but undoubtedly his finest season in Liverpool colours yet.

Naby Keita (6): Not the debut season the Guinean would have dreamed of, but one still with immense promise. Early signs were promising and his turn at Selhurst Park still haunts Jeffrey Schlupp to this day.

Back-to-back goals against Southampton and Porto appeared to transform Keita and finally saw the £52 million man exude the confidence needed to thrive in the No.8 role. A work in progress but more will surely be expected next season.

Gini Wijnaldum (9): His cameo against Barcelona raises the mark to a deserved nine. When judged over the entirety of the season, Wijnaldum has been Liverpool's best and most consistent midfielder. 

An incredible tale of climbing the ladder considering the Dutchman was relegated from the Premier League just three seasons ago. One of the most graceful midfielders Anfield has ever seen on the ball and the balance of an Olympic gymnast.

Following a full pre-season of training following Holland's failure to qualify for the Wolrd Cup has allowed Wijnaldum to hit the ground running and quite frankly he has never stopped since.

Fabinho (8): The questions were consistently tossed at Klopp. When is the Brazilian going to prove his worth?

Following an inauspicious start, eyebrows and concerns never seemed to leave the shoulders of Fabinho. There were even some ludicrous rumours linking the former Monaco man with a move back to Ligue 1 and the destination of Paris Saint Germain

In hindsight, these were some awful and rash judgements following Fabinho's second half of the season performances. A shocking underestimation that has seen the midfielder establish himself as arguably the finest CDM in the division bar Fernandinho and N'Golo Kante.

Adam Lallana (5): Perhaps one of the rare heartbreak stories of the campaign. Just when you thought the Englishman was up and running, he was out again. A MOTM performance against Burnley represents one of the few high's of the season for Lallana and the player is in desperate need of a revival. 

The former Southampton man is in danger of being one of those stories where grown men gather around the bar and reflect just what might have been for Lallana at Anfield. However, luckily for Lallana, Klopp isn't prepared to give up on his player just yet.

Attack

Xherdhan Shaqiri (5): If ever there was a tale of two halves then it would be most appropriate to describe Shaqiri's inaugural campaign at Anfield.

Before January, Shaqiri was what Liverpool had been crying out for in terms of influential cameos and creative spark. An emphatic brace off the bench against Manchester United was a defining moment and one where it really peaked for the Swiss international. 

Since then he faded. Shaqiri fell down the pecking order quicker than the speed of light and his Liverpool career appeared on the brink. However, his recent display against Barcelona could still be a sign of things to come and there is no denying the talent on display. At £13 million as well, it represents another shrewd piece of business from Klopp and Co.

Divock Origi (7.5): Liverpool's rescue man. Whenever you're at a halt and are in desperate need of service, don't waste your time contacting AA Breakdown cover when Divock Origi is at hand. 

The Belgian striker is already drawing comparisons with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in terms of cameo goals off the bench. A player celebrated for his winners against Everton, Newcastle and Barcelona that may be played back for years-to-come when defining Liverpool's season. Anfield's very own fireman.

Daniel Sturridge (6): In what is perhaps Sturridge's final Anfield season, there were some joyous highs and some rather obvious lows. 

There is no point sugar-coating it. Sturridge is a shadow of the player he was five years ago. Despite what is likely his final season at the club, the Englishman can still point to his devastating strike against his former club Chelsea as one of the season's standout moments and one key in maintaining early momentum in the title race.

Mohamed Salah (8.5): How do you top a debut season that saw 44 goals, a PFA and FWA Footballer of the Year award, as well as a final-three shortlist for the World Footballer of the Year accolade? In truth, you can't. 

However, despite the impossible task of matching the high's of last season, Salah once again broke the 20 goal barrier. It's quite astonishing to see the standards the Egyptian is upheld to. Despite antics that see the forward go down rather easily in the box it was another world-class campaign. Following the heartbreak of Kiev last season it would be the icing on the cake to see Salah shine in Madrid and earn his first piece of silverware in Liverpool colours.

Sadio Mane (9): The definition of world class. Mane is everything Klopp wants in a Liverpool player. Mane's first touch and ability to dribble at electrifying speeds make him one of the most deadly forwards in world football. 

Joint top scorer in the Premier League with 22 goals and is well on his way to being considered a true Premier League great. The only person who doesn't seem to comprehend just how good the forward is is Mane himself. The Senegalese ace has become an Anfield superstar and their most prized asset. Someone who must be protected from European vultures in the summer transfer window.

Roberto Firmino (8): Another fine season for the Brazilian saw the striker score 12 and assist six in the league and this doesn't even represent Firmino's best assets. Firmino's ability off the ball is second-to-none, running into space to free Salah and Mane is what enables to forward duo to register so many goals. His first touch is exemplary and is one of the most unselfish players I've ever had the luxury of reporting on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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