Jürgen Klopp’s first full season at the helm at Anfield has certainly been a rollercoaster ride. From the sublime start to the season to the sickeningly sub-standard second half of the campaign the Anfield faithful have had enough excitement to drastically reduce their life expectancy.
Thankfully the season ended with a collective sigh of relief as Klopp’s men finished ahead of Arsenal and Manchester United to claim an all-important spot in the Premier League top four.
With fans relishing the prospect of European nights once again returning to Anfield there’s no telling just how much the 2017/18 season will have to offer the Reds.
With all that said all we can do is look back on the past nine months and reflect on the performances of the team as a whole, and moreover, the players.
As Liverpool make their return to the glorious Champion League stage, it’s time to look back and rate the performances of the players who took them there.
Simon Mignolet – 7.5/10A significant improvement from the 2015/16 campaign saw the Belgian shot-stopper restore the fan’s and manager’s faith in him. With the prospect of being replaced a very tangible threat for Mignolet, our number 22 can only be commended for getting his head down and working to step up his game, culminating in some crucial saves in big games for the Redmen. As a result of this it looks as though, against the odds, Mignolet will still be Liverpool’s first choice keeper in the coming season and well deserved too.
Loris Karius – 3/10Probably one of the biggest disappointments for Liverpool this season, joining the Reds from Mainz last summer for under £5 million, many had hoped Karius would be the new ‘number one’ at Anfield. Instead his integration into the team in the opening stages of the season saw performances lacking in confidence and riddled with mistakes. Hopefully next season we’ll see more of the Loris Karius that was nominated for the 2015/16 Bundesliga team of the year, but until then the young German will have to wait his turn as Mignolet continues to shine, perhaps as a result of the pressure the young German placed him under.
Alex Manninger – N/AThere’s not too much that can be said about Manninger. Another new recruit from the 2016 summer transfer window, Manninger was brought in as more of a coach than an actual player. Whether the Austrian was partially responsible for Mignolet’s much improved form is unknown and without making a single competitive appearance for Liverpool this term its entirely impossible to grade Manninger.
Nathaniel Clyne – 6/10Not exactly the best season for Clyne at the back. Inconsistent performances have plagued his season with the Englishman often standing off attackers, allowing them to cross all too freely. Being just a little off the pace going forward and not as defensively sound as possible has hampered Clyne this year, although it’s almost certain a defender of his caliber will bounce back in the coming campaign.
James Milner – 7/10The model professional, every single footballer in the world should look to model themselves on James Milner with regards to professionalism. Playing in a completely unnatural position at left back, Milner has been stalwart in defence, getting his head down, getting the job done and not once complaining. While his passing and attacking play have been somewhat lacking, Milner has been an invaluable asset for Liverpool this year, standing up to be counted on nearly every occasion he was called upon.
Alberto Moreno – 4/10Not given nearly enough chances to rectify his poor form at the tail end of the 2015/16 season, Moreno featured rather infrequently for the Reds this year, his standout performance coming in the 4-2 win over Crystal Palace where the Spaniard’s attacking prowess proved incredibly useful. Unfortunately for Albie, what he has in attack, he lacks in defence, which just isn’t good enough when you’re primarily a full back.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7/10What a bright, young talent Liverpool have on their hands in Trent. Making his first Premier League start for Liverpool at Old Trafford is certainly one thing, but to shine so brilliantly in such an intimidating scenario deserves no end of praise. In the time he’s spent on the pitch in a red shirt, TAA has stood out as an incredibly promising prospect for coming seasons and, after his performances this year, it’s entirely possible the young defender could be pushing for a more permanent spot in Klopp’s first team. Whether as a defender or more attacking player, the versatility Trent offers Klopp is staggering for someone of his age.
Joel Matip – 8/10 The fact Liverpool took Matip from Schalke on a free transfer never fails to bring a smile to my face. What an excellent addition the ex-Cameroon international has been for the Reds. In Matip, Liverpool have found a strong presence in the centre of their defence that not only poses a serious ariel threat, but is also a top class ball-playing centre back. Liverpool could do far worse than to build their defence around Matip for next season.
Dejan Lovren – 5.5/10Not nearly as disastrous as some fans like to make out but, at the same time, not nearly as consistent as he needs to be. Dejan Lovren is one of those players you can’t help but want them to succeed. After a horrendous start to life at Liverpool, the Croatian has done tremendously well to recover and re-ignite his Anfield career. Lovren is resilience epitomised and the man quite obviously wears his heart on his sleeve but, at the end of the day, fans can only tolerate so many defensive errors. Should Lovren prove himself capable of ironing these errors out of his game then he will be a more than suitable first choice centre back, but until then I feel Liverpool need to be looking at a potential replacement.
Ragnar Klavan – 4/10One of the more frustrating players this season, the Estonian national team captain has been incredibly hit-and-miss during his time on the pitch. Klavan started his Liverpool tenure with a string of solid performances, making fans view him as a potential long term solution at the back, at least as a squad player. Although as the season progressed Klavan made more and more baffling mistakes at the back leading to goals conceded, lost games and dropped points. Unless Klavan steps up his performances and proves himself to be a valuable member of the squad I wouldn’t be surprised to see him move on from Merseyside this summer.
Lucas Leiva – 7/10Lucas has been quietly brilliant for Liverpool for some time now, I feel his contribution this season has been severely underrated by fans. Filling in at the heart of the defence when needed and consistently tightening up the Red’s defence from a midfield role, Lucas has not, to my recollection, had a single bad moment in a red shirt this season (barring his baffling pass to Jamie Vardy in the 4-1 win over Leicester) and his contributions should be appreciated a lot more by the Anfield faithful. A loyal servant to the club for 10 years and an honorary scouser, many will be hoping Lucas is still a Liverpool player after the summer transfer window closes.
Emre Can – 7.5/10Towards the end of this season Emre has been absolutely superb for Liverpool, undoubtedly one of the best performers in a Liverpool shirt in recent months. Revealing he played through injury on numerous occasions earlier in the season makes the young German’s contributions all the more admirable. Aside from offering defensive stability, great passing ability and an overall nasty, hard tackling edge to the side, Emre has also popped up with some stunning and important goals that undoubtedly assisted Liverpool in their ascension to the Champions League spots. Despite some concerns with regards to the German’s contract, Emre looks to be the future of this Liverpool side. An unstoppable engine providing a great driving force from deep, he has bags of potential and can only improve on this years form; an enticing thought to say the least.
Georgino Wijnaldum – 8.5/10Perhaps Liverpool’s most under-appreciated asset, Wijnaldum has been unflappable in the Liverpool midfield, quietly going about his business with intelligent movement off the ball and incisive passing while on it. Aside from his brilliant performances as a midfield maestro the Dutchman has chipped in with a number of goals in big games, perhaps his best coming on the final day of the season with a thumping shot to put the Reds 1-0 up against Middlesbrough. Throughout this season Wijnaldum has proved he was well worth the £25 million Liverpool paid for him, with the only thing the midfielder could possibly add to his game is more goals (hopefully some coming away from home).
Jordan Henderson – 7/10Aside from being kept out of action by a “bruised foot” for the majority of the second half of the season, Henderson continues to be Liverpool’s metronome in the centre of the park, keeping and dictating the rhythm of the game. Ever hardworking, when fit Henderson’s stamina could rival that of a marathon runner as he keeps pressing opposition from the first minute to the last. Here’s hoping the skipper has fully recovered for the start of next season.
Marko Grujic – 6/10Another very promising young player among Liverpool’s ranks, Grujic had very little time to prove himself on the pitch after some excellent performances throughout pre-season. The young Serbian offers hard tackling (as Crystal Palace man Janes Tomkins found out first hand) and is a threatening box-to-box midfielder. 2017/18 could be the year Grujic makes a name for himself on the big stage.
Adam Lallana – 8/10 Since joining Liverpool in 2014 Adam Lallana looks a completely different player, from a bit-part player under Brendan Rodgers to a crucial member of the starting lineup under Klopp. This season Lallana has been a great contributor to Liverpool’s success, offering a great threat going forward, assuming the role of a much needed goalscorer from deep within midfield. The technical intelligence of Lallana should not go unnoticed as well, as the England player of the year always seems capable of finding space on and off the ball, always making a nuisance of himself amongst the opposition.
Philippe Coutinho – 9/10Looking at Coutinho these days it’s hard to believe the little magician was signed from Inter for only £8.5 million. Finishing the season as Liverpool’s joint top goalscorer with 13 league goals, Coutinho has proven time and again why he is verging on world class status, up there with the likes of compatriot Neymar. Coutinho’s incisive passing, clever movement and jaw dropping shooting technique has elevated him amongst the best talent the Premier League has to offer and Liverpool should hang onto the little Brazilian for dear life.
Roberto Firmino – 8/10Firmino added his name to the list of Liverpool players who have enjoyed a significantly improved campaign this year, adding more goals to his game. The ex-Hoffenheim hitman has proven himself as a goalscoring threat time and again, notching 11 goals and 10 assists in the league and it looks as though the only way is up for the Red’s Samba striker in the coming 2017/18 campaign.
Sadio Mané – 9/10What a signing. When Mané joined Liverpool last summer, the signing was met with a great deal of scepticism by fans, though it didn’t take long for the Senegalese forward to endear himself to the Anfield faithful, scoring a magnificent goal in the 4-3 win against Arsenal on his league debut as well as netting a last minute winner at Goodison to ruin Everton’s Christmas. Throughout the season opposition defenders have struggled to deal with Mané’s blistering pace up and down Liverpool’s right flank, helping him rack up a tally of 13 league goals, a joint team best with Coutinho, despite his season being ended early through injury and a one months absence in January to play in the African Cup of Nations.
Daniel Sturridge – 6.5/10With the amount of time Sturridge has spent sidelined this year it has been easy to forget just how good he is when he’s fit and firing. Even after missing the majority of the season through a plethora of injuries, Sturridge still revitalised Liverpool’s frontline when it mattered most in the final two games of the season, scoring the all important first goal away to West Ham. Should Sturridge maintain a level of fitness it’d be well worth keeping the striker on at Anfield for at least another season, if not longer.
Divock Origi – 6.5/10To my mind Origi’s form has been disappointing this year, after displaying some stellar form in 2015/16 before his season was cut short by injury, Origi has failed to replicate the kind of performances he displayed in some of Liverpool’s more memorable games of recent years. Despite scoring on a relatively consistent basis when playing, the young Belgian’s performances seem to be lacking the same energy and creativity as was on display last season. Hopefully next year we can see Origi return to his best on the pitch, shaking off his poorer performances this campaign.
Ben Woodburn – 7/10Liverpool’s youngest ever goalscorer certainly has a bright future ahead of him. After writing his name into the history books against Leeds United in November 2016, the young Welshman has only continued to show his quality when playing for the Reds. Although he hasn’t seen too much game time, when he has played for Liverpool he has looked sharp on the ball, always looking to make a positive impact on games. At only 17 years old it looks as though Woodburn could have an exceptionally bright future at Liverpool.
Jürgen Klopp – 7/10In his first full season at Liverpool the charismatic German has seen Liverpool accrue their greatest Premier League points total since their title challenging season of 2013/14. While seeing Liverpool rise from eighth to fourth in the space of is a year is impressive, there’s no denying that the fans would have expected more, especially at the halfway point of the season. In the first half of the campaign Klopp had Liverpool playing some of the best football in the league, if not Europe. But, once teams had sussed the Reds out the wheels started to fall off, not at all aided by Jürgen refusing to make substitutions until little over 15 minutes remained, hardly enough time for any player to make a significant impact. As a result Klopp loses marks, but fans can only remain hopeful that he’ll recruit well over the summer and learn from his shortcomings this past campaign.