Liverpool FC 2015/16 Player Ratings: Midfielders

In the second of this three-part series, the performances of the Reds' midfielders are rated out of 10.

Liverpool FC 2015/16 Player Ratings: Midfielders
Liverpool FC 2015/16 Player Ratings: Midfielders

Competition for places in Liverpool's midfield has been tough this season, but with long-term injuries for the likes of Jordan Henderson and a busy fixture schedule, many were given opportunities to impress.

Something that was stressed often upon Jürgen Klopp's arrival was the high work rate that would be expected of his new side's midfield and this is underlined by statistics.

James Milner and Adam Lallana finished the season among the top five average distance runners in the Premier League, with Liverpool as a club running the third furthest in the division.

But how did each individual midfielder perform throughout the whole campaign?

Mixed ratings for the regulars

James Milner: The arrival of the 30-year-old midfielder in the summer failed to inspire some, but the former Manchester City player's all-round game and tireless attitude was always likely to bode well with Reds' fans. In the frequent absence of Henderson, Milner often captained his new club and more than held his own with the armband on. His versatility was useful too as he mainly featured in the central roles but also gained a number of his 14 assists from a wide-right position and even filled in at left-back. A return of seven goals isn't a bad one, either, with his finishes against former sides Aston Villa and Man City arguably the picks of the bunch. A very productive first season from the England international and a very nice parting gift from Brendan Rodgers. 8/10.

Jordan Henderson:  Unlike his England counterpart, the Liverpool captain's season never really got going. Problems with a heel injury prevented him from gaining a lengthy run in the side and his form suffered as a result. One highlight for the 25-year-old came in the Europa League first leg tie against Manchester United, when the captain put in a dominant performance despite being on the tightrope that an early booking caused. However, only featuring in around half on Liverpool's games will make this a disappointing one for Henderson, who could do with a full pre-season before next term. 5/10.

Jordan Henderson described his injury-hit season as 'the hardest' of his career. (getty)
Jordan Henderson described his injury-hit season as 'the hardest' of his career. (Photo: Getty)

Emre Can: Playing in his preferred position, the German made huge improvements from last season and regularly looked solid as part of a central midfield pairing or trio. Klopp described his compatriots' performance against Borussia Dortmund at Anfield as "world class" and his display that evening evidenced how much of a key part of Liverpool's midfield the youngster has become. He still has a mistake in him, and becoming more consistent is the key for Can to improve further, but a strong season from a midfielder whose future looks bright. 7/10.

Lucas Leiva: The Brazilian is becoming something of a stalwart for Liverpool these days, finishing his eighth season at the club. There were rumours it would be his last, but following a tremendous display in an early season match away to Arsenal, he was retained. Always on the periphery between substitutes' bench and starting eleven, Lucas has proved himself to be a useful squad player this term. His best moments this season actually came whilst playing as a makeshift centre-back, creating an unlikely yet effective pairing with Kolo Toure. The two experienced heads put in a fine performance in the League Cup final despite the defeat. As ever, Lucas has gone about his business quietly this season, whether or not he will be content with remaining a squad player will likely dictate his future at the club. 6/10.

Adam Lallana: Another player who has made big strides from last season, the England international seems to be popular with Jürgen Klopp. He made one appearance shy of half a century this season, being useful in the first eleven and off the subs' bench as his dramatic late winner against Norwich City showed. As mentioned earlier, the stats show Lallana to be among the club and the Premier League's best runners in terms of distance, and this work ethic fits his side's game well. However, the former Southampton player needs to add more of an end product to his game, with only seven goals scored by a player who often operates behind the striker. A decent, promising campaign, but still room for improvement. 6/10.

Phillipe Coutinho: After the 2014/15 season, it was clear that the little Brazillian had become Liverpool's finest player. The key then was to add some consistency to his game and really kick on to become one of the continent's best talents. This season, Coutinho still went missing on occasion and struggled with a couple of those dreaded hamstring injuries. Yet, more often than not, he was the Reds' most poignant attacking threat, creating some of the most memorable moments of their season with some exceptional flair and long-range shooting. He settled the season's opener against Stoke City from 30-yards, dazzled as he scored a brace at Stamford Bridge, re-sparked the comeback with a sublime goal against Dortmund and then there was that goal at Old Trafford, too. The 'Little Magician' as he is affectionately known may disappear every now and then, but when he is at his best he is breathtaking. If he could have produced his best in the Europa League final he would be looking at a higher rating, but maybe next season. 8/10.

Coutinho was brilliant in flashes, but disappeared on occasions. (Photo: Getty)
Coutinho was brilliant in flashes, but disappeared on occasions. (Photo: Getty)

Some promising youngsters on the fringes

Joe Allen: The Welshman has done wonderfully well to stop himself becoming synonymous with Rodgers' ultimately mediocre spell at Liverpool, winning over fans with some classy performances off the bench and occasionally in the starting line-up. The whole 'Welsh Pirlo' labelling may be a bit extreme, but the former-Swansea man has been another useful squad player this season. His effort is unquestionable when on the field, in spite of a lack of first-team outings at points in the season. Allen is another whose Liverpool future will rest on what the club do in the summer transfer window, but he has done himself no harm this season. 7/10.

Jordon Ibe: It was an odd season for Ibe, as many thought he would become a regular and effective part of the first-team following some impressive outings last term and Raheem Sterling's departure. He did show some signs of that obvious potential, though, netting a crucial away goal at Rubin Kazan and ending the season with a wonderful solo goal at West Brom. Yet, for a lengthy spell the youngster looked out-of-form and his opportunities to impress suffered as a result. He has been linked with either a loan or permanent move away from the club, either of which could be beneficial to his career. It will be interesting to see what the club decide to do with him as Lazar Markovic also returns from his loan spell in Turkey to add competition for places in the wide areas. Ultimately, it was a disappointing season for a player of Ibe's potential. 4/10.

Sheyi Ojo: The 18-year-old winger has looked like one of the more promising of Liverpool's youngsters this season, earning some first-team experience after being recalled from a loan-spell at Wolves. A wonderful first senior goal for the club came in the FA Cup replay versus Exeter City, cutting in off the right and bending the ball past the goalkeeper. Add to this a number of impressive outings for Liverpool's Development Squad and an exciting Premier League appearance away to Bournemouth, and it has been a productive season for Ojo. A good pre-season and he may feature a lot more next term. 7/10.

Ojo has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign with the first-team. (Photo: Getty)
Ojo has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign with the first-team. (Photo: Getty)

Kevin Stewart: Played a key role in some of Klopp's rotated elevens, sitting in front of the back four despite arriving at the club as a defender. At 22, it hasn't been a straightforward journey to get to this level, after Stewart was released by Spurs two seasons ago. When aided by the experience of others around him, he looked a solid part of the side when used and is another youngster who has had a productive season. Fighting for his place in the side next term will be hard, but he looks worthy of giving it a good go if he isn't sent out on loan. Big season for him, personally. 6/10.

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