Liverpool recently registered an essential win at Villareal to make the Champions League final. The possibility of the side possibly winning the FA Cup, the Champions League and the Premier League, having already won the League Cup this season, is a testament to the quality of the players that the side field week in, week out. Among the extensive squad that the Reds boast, the following are my top five Liverpool players of the season.
This season, there probably has not been a more prolific player than Mo Salah in Europe, let alone in England. The Egyptian has netted on 22 occasions this season in the league and has scored 8 times in the Champions League. He will be crucial to Liverpool’s hopes of winning the European crown.
Salah not only scores but also provides his teammates with opportunities to score. He has 12 assists in the league so far. In order for a player to score, they must first give themselves the best chance to do so. Salah does that by being available in the box or driving into the penalty area. He averages nearly 11 touches in the opposition box per 90′. He also averages nearly 4 shots per 90′ this season, giving him a decent chance of finding the net on at least one occasion per game.
Salah’s partner in crime, Sadio Mané, has not had the most impactful season in terms of the number of goals and assists this season, given the high standards he sets for himself. However, Mané has hit double figures in the Premier League in terms of goals. He has 14 goals in the Premier League and 5 in the Champions League. He often makes runs beyond the last line of defence, providing his teammates with the opportunity to pump it long to him. This particular trait also explains why Mané is the player who has the most progressive passes received among wingers this season: an average of 11 per game. His presence in the opposition box is yet another reason for his attacking success; he averages 8 touches per game in the opposition box.
It is challenging to pick the best English right-back at the moment. The reason for this dilemma is players like Trent Alexander-Arnold, who are incredibly talented at going forward. Trent has netted on 2 occasions this season and is second behind Salah for the most number of assists in the Premier League. He is often associated with full-backs who look up and make progressive passes. He has made the most progressive passes among full-backs this season, averaging 8 a game. His ability to strike from dead-ball situations is second to none. He also has the most number of shot-creating actions for a full-back this season, putting him in the driver’s seat to take the first right-back spot at the World Cup for England.
The inclusion of Luis Díaz to this Liverpool side has made Jürgen Klopp’s life a little more difficult than it already is. Because of Díaz, Diogo Jota may end up becoming Klopp’s man off the bench come next season. However, Jota has been nothing short of brilliant for the Reds this season. He has 15 goals and 3 assists in the Premier League this season. He is a threat in the box and has been averaging 7 touches in the opposition’s penalty box. He has quite the leap for a relatively small striker and scores regularly with his head. He is also averaging over 3 shots per game this season.
Virgil van Dijk
Liverpool’s season heavily depends upon Virgil van Dijk, the player who provides them much-needed surety at the back, not only in a defensive sense but also with the ball. Van Dijk also chips in with crucial goals for Liverpool. He has scored 3 goals in the league this season. He is right at the top for passes by a centre-back and pass completion percentage, proving his prowess with the ball at his feet. He is incredibly solid at the back as well, winning an average of 4 aerial duels per game, only one lesser than Shane Duffy, who leads the chart for this particular stat. One value that cannot be quantified, though, is leadership. Van Dijk is key to most of the communication that takes place in the game and is a natural leader.