They have beaten an Aston Villa side full of youngsters but Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool find themselves in pretty wretched form.
Before their 4-1 victory over Villa’s youth side, the champions had won just two of their previous seven matches in all competitions.
Draws against Midtjylland, Fulham, West Brom and Newcastle were followed up with a defeat against Southampton.
That isn’t the form of champions.
We’ve now entered January and Liverpool fans will be wondering if Klopp will be adding to his squad.
The German has admitted that it’s unlikely and they may have to make do with what they’ve got.
But what have they got?
Well, we decided to rank the current squad from ‘World-class’ to ‘Sell ASAP’ to determine whether Liverpool are strong enough to retain their title.
Let’s take a look:
- Loris Karius
- Divock Origi
Adrian has fallen down the pecking order at the club and Liverpool fans still haven’t forgiven the 34-year-old for his role in their Champions League exit against Atletico Madrid last season.
Yes, Karius is still a Liverpool player and is currently on loan to Union Berlin. Let’s be honest, he doesn’t have a career at Anfield.
Many may be surprised to see cult hero Origi in this category. The Belgian will go down in history at the club for scoring some important goals - including a brace against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final and another in the final against Tottenham. But he’s simply not Liverpool standard and the club need to sell before his value starts to plummet.
Not good enough
- Takumi Minamino
- Sepp van den Berg
- Harry Wilson
- Marko Grujic
Minamino hasn’t been given too many opportunities since arriving from Red Bull Salzburg for £7.25m in January 2020. He’s played 30 times and scored four goals but the Japanese just doesn’t appear to have the stature of a Liverpool player.
Van den Berg was the only signing Liverpool made in the summer of 2019 as they spent £1.3 million on him. He’s still only 19 and played just four times in the first-team but those appearances didn’t go too well. We doubt he’ll make the step up.
There was a time when Wilson was regarded as the biggest prospect at the club. Two seasons ago, he scored 15 times whilst on loan at Derby at a return to the club beckoned. But he’s back on loan in the Championship with Cardiff and, now 23, doesn’t seem to be getting any closer to first-team football.
Grujic was actually Klopp’s first signing at the club and has played 16 times for the first-team. But he’s back out on-loan at Porto this season and it’s probably best for the 24-year-old to leave permanently.
- James Milner
- Curtis Jones
- Joel Matip
- Xherdan Shaqiri
- Harvey Elliott
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
- Konstantinos Tsimikas
Milner has been an incredible servant for Liverpool since arriving on a free transfer from Manchester City. However, he’s now 35 and isn’t capable of playing week-in week-out.
Jones has made the step up to first-team football this season, making 19 appearances in all competitions already. Can the 19-year-old establish himself as a first-team regular in the years to come?
Matip is far too injury-prone to be relied upon regularly even if, on his day, he’s a brilliant centre-back.
Shaqiri has been brought back from the dark by Klopp in recent weeks and the Swiss has immediately shown his quality. Against Villa on Friday, he registered two assists in the space of two minutes after coming off the bench.
Elliott is still only 17 but he’s doing brilliantly whilst on loan at Blackburn this season and could well stay at the club next season with a view of playing more first-team football.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is battling back from another serious knee injury and there are question marks over whether the 27-year-old can find his best form again.
Tsimikas came in during the summer as back-up to James Milner. But he’s struggled to get a look-in and played just four times - all of which came in cup competitions.
- Roberto Firmino
- Joe Gomez
- Jordan Henderson
- Trent Alexander-Arnold
- Georginio Wijnaldum
- Diogo Jota
- Naby Keita
- Andy Robertson
Fabinho is a brilliant defensive midfielder but he’s had to fill in at centre-back this season - and done a very job too. He’ll be looking forward to returning to his natural position next season.
Firmino has come in for plenty of criticism due to his lack of goals but his link-play and work-rate is vital for Klopp’s system.
Gomez is also coming back from a serious knee injury but is Virgil van Dijk’s first-choice partner when fit.
Henderson will go down in the club’s history for leading them to their first ever Premier League title and he still plays an important role in this side.
Alexander-Arnold’s defensive abilities have been called into question this season - although he certainly hasn’t been helped with the absence of Gomez and Van Dijk. He still possesses incredible ability on the ball.
This could, potentially, be Wijnaldum’s final season at the club with his contract running out and rumours of a move to Barcelona doing the rounds. He will be a big miss in Liverpool’s midfield.
Talking of big misses. Jota had started his Liverpool career in amazing fashion with nine goals in 17 appearances. However, a knee injury has halted him in his tracks.
Keita is a player that splits opinion like no other in this Liverpool squad. On his day, he’s sensational. But he hasn’t had his day too often and is constantly injured. We still think there’s talent there.
Robertson is one of the best left-backs in world football and has proven to be one of the best signings in the club’s history at just £8 million.
- Sadio Mane
- Virgil van Dijk
- Mohamed Salah
Mane has scored 90 goals in 194 games since he signed from Southampton for £34 million in 2016. He’s often overshadowed by teammate Mohamed Salah but there’s no doubt he’s world-class.
Van Dijk was regarded as the best defender in world football before his ACL injury. Let’s hope the Dutchman can return as good as he was before when he eventually recovers.
Alisson is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world and makes such a difference to the side when he’s between the sticks.
We haven’t seen the best of Thiago in a Liverpool shirt as he’s had to overcome covid and a knee injury. But the Spaniard is now fully fit and could make all the difference in the second half of the campaign.
Then there’s Salah. The Egyptian has scored 111 goals in 177 matches for the Reds and, despite that, is still probably under-appreciated. There are early rumours that he wants to leave the club in the summer. Good luck replacing those goals.
So, we reckon there are six world-class players currently in Liverpool’s squad. When all of those are fit and in the starting XI, Klopp’s side will be an incredibly difficult side to beat.
But despite the injuries, Liverpool remain in the title race due to their impressive squad depth. That’s demonstrated by a further nine players being classed as ‘first-team quality.’ Many of them can consider themselves unfortunate not to be deemed ‘world-class’ too with the Alexander-Arnold and Robertson arguably the best in the world in their respective positions.
A further seven players are included in the ‘squad player’ tier. While they may not be good enough to play regularly for the champions, they have the ability to play an important role - especially with all the injuries at the moment.
We believe Minamino, Van den Berg, Wilson and Grujic aren’t good enough to forge a career for themselves at Liverpool and the club would be better off selling them soon.
But there are three players we think they should be selling ASAP - in January if possible.
Two of them are goalkeepers with Adrian and Karius both doing enough to give Liverpool fans nightmares for years to come. The other is Origi, who will always be fondly remembered but just isn’t very good.News Now - Sport News