Liverpool are looking to end the decade on a high.
Despite entering the 2010s with a terrible season under Roy Hodgson, the Reds are going to close it out as European champions and with a seemingly unassailable Premier League lead.
It’s such a dramatic period of change that it makes choosing Liverpool’s best XI of the last decade incredibly difficult.
It was an unenviable task that we took on earlier in the year – check out our choices here – but we’ve since stumbled across a new approach to the conundrum.
That’s because the boffins at WhoScored.com have sought to remove any element of opinion by crunching the data and drawing up the Liverpool XI based on statistics alone.
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Liverpool’s statistical team of the decade
So, how does that work? Well, they have averaged out the match ratings of every Liverpool player who has made at least 70 appearance between 2010 and 2019.
Yes, that does mean there is no Alisson Becker. But, with the match ratings being formulated by over 30 individual data sets, it’s incredibly difficult to argue with the results.
You can check out every player to make the cut below as well as their number of appearances and overall rating:
GK – Pepe Reina (121 appearances) – 6.68
In the absence of Alisson, Reina seems the obvious choice over the less reliable Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius who inherited the reins from him between 2013 and 2018.
RB – Trent Alexander-Arnold (97 appearances) – 7.13
Glen Johnson is definitely worth tipping a hat to, but there can be no doubting Alexander-Arnold’s achievements at just 21 years old and he’s arguably the best right-back in the world.
CB – Virgil van Dijk (92 appearances) – 7.31
Seldom has a defender ever had such a massive impact after moving to a club and the statistics show that Van Dijk coming second place in the Ballon d’Or voting was very much justified.
CB – Joel Matip (98 appearances) – 7.06
One of the positions that you could contest the most, but Matip has clearly been rewarded for his stronger displays with Van Dijk playing alongside him.
LB – Andrew Robertson (98 appearances) – 7.03
To be fair, Robertson had very little competition here – sorry, Alberto Moreno – but he would have sleepwalked into this team regardless as one of the world’s best left-backs.
RW – Mohamed Salah (118 appearances) – 7.56
It will come as little surprise that winning two Premier League Golden Boots reflects rather well on the statistics and Salah has proved to be an absolute steal at under £40 million.
CM – Philippe Coutinho (162 appearances) – 7.45
Coutinho’s inclusion is proof that aesthetically pleasing performances and goals can also translate into cold, hard statistics.
CM – Steven Gerrard (160 appearances) – 7.40
Despite having played his best football by 2010, it’s credit to the Liverpool legend that he still outshone countless midfielders his junior before bowing out with a 2015 move to California.
LW – Sadio Mane (137 appearances) – 7.47
Arguably Liverpool’s best player on current form and a forward with no fewer than 72 goals in 145 games on Merseyside since his initially criticised Southampton exit.
ST – Luis Suarez (110 appearances) – 7.87
The highest rated player out of the entire XI and if you watched him tear up the Premier League during the 2013-14 season in particular, you’ll know exactly why that’s the case.
ST – Roberto Firmino (184 appearances) – 7.35
WhoScored have been more flexible than us with the amount of attackers they’re squeezing into the formation and that gives Firmino the chance to feature as the lowest rated forward of the four.
Full team of the decade
GIVEMESPORT’s Kobe Tong says
For the most part, you have to say that the statistics have got the XI pretty much spot on.
Given the vast amount of numbers that WhoScored’s average match ratings call upon, you never know whether certain metrics will skew things and throw up some bizarre results.
But perhaps the only controversial inclusion is between the sticks.
Although Reina was an incredible servant at Anfield, there can be no doubting that he was past his best by the turn of 2010 and couldn’t hold a candle to Alisson’s recent performances.
Sure, WhoScored have their reason for ruling out Alisson, but I’m confident that he’s already done enough this decade despite having played less than two season hitherto.
And that’s the only change I’d make. My initial thought was to give Martin Skrtel the nod alongside Van Dijk, but that was a close enough call for me to listen to the data and welcome in Matip.
Regardless of whether you think the statistics point in the right direction, though, let it serve as proof that Liverpool fans have been cheering on some remarkable players over the last 10 years.