Rating the Reds' Players at the Halfway Stage
Liverpool’s draw with Chelsea at Anfield recently officially marked the halfway point for the Reds’ league campaign, and it’s fair to say the season so far hasn’t gone to plan. Last season’s unprecedented quadruple chase has taken its toll on an ageing squad, who have struggled for confidence, form and legs, as injuries and fitness have continued to mount.
I’ve compiled a list of the team’s ‘half-term’ player ratings, for those who have made at least five appearances so far this season. These are based on what I expect from each player, so even though Salah has the most goals, that doesn’t mean he’s necessarily got the highest rating, as I’ve also considered form and impact on games. While Liverpool have been far from their best this season, I don’t believe in slaughtering the players; context needs to be considered for fair judgement to be made.
These are inevitably controversial and of course up for debate. Here’s the list:
9- Probably Liverpool’s player of the season so far. Aside from a brain fart against Wolves in the FA Cup, the Reds’ keeper has been one of the only players that hasn’t underperformed this season. Liverpool’s position in the league isn’t ideal, but put a poor keeper in place of Alisson, and Liverpool’s points tally would be significantly lower. Vital saves against West Ham, Newcastle, Southampton, Rangers, Everton, Chelsea, as well as a couple of penalty saves, and of course an assist against Man City. Had Liverpool not conceded so many goals, and for some shoddy distribution, Alisson would be getting the only 10/10. Seemingly forgotten that he is allowed to kick with his left foot.
5- Trent has looked a lot better since the World Cup reset. He had a really poor start to the season with some stinking defensive displays, but he’s definitely been scapegoated at times. He kept letting defenders go past him and was trying to grab instead of chasing; he seems to have cut that out. He’s scored a couple of great goals but got nowhere near as many assists as we’re used to seeing him get, albeit his ball for Nunez against Wolves was fantastic. If I’m to avoid recency bias, it has to be a five rather than a six. Convinced he would play better if he cut his hair (like I, now sporting a curly man-bun, can talk).
4- Gomez had a run of games where he was starting regularly, which was an opportunity to prove that he’s got the quality to partner Ibou Konaté as a first-choice centre back. Unfortunately, he has made too many errors to be currently trusted in that role. Errors leading to goals against Napoli, Nottingham, Leeds, (and against West Ham, but Alisson bailed him out with a penalty save); ironically, had a brilliant performance against City. I’ve given Gomez a low 4 because he has the talent to be an incredible defender, but lacks the concentration, which at times, makes him a liability. He doesn’t have the excuse of last season being too physically demanding. Can he play against Haaland every week?
5- I always used to rave about how Matip was so trustworthy and almost never put a foot wrong, but this season has been littered with mistakes from the centre back. Not glaring errors as such (apart from against Brighton) but silly mistakes which haven’t helped a team low on confidence. We’ve seen less of his mazy runs out of his defence, and unfortunately, the first signs of decline. He’s put in some good performances, and scored a late winner against Ajax, but he was a lot better last season. Typically, he’s been injured a fair amount. I miss his tantrums.
6- Looked a bit shaky on his return after the World Cup but has been so sorely missed throughout the season. Had brilliant games against Spurs and Napoli, as well as Chelsea, providing some much needed pace and aggression to the back line. Still young and learning, and definitely someone to build the team around. Forwards look scared to play against him; having seen the size of him in person, I don’t blame them.
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