Ten games in to the Premier League season now, and Liverpool are flying high. After five games, I assessed each Liverpool player, and ranked them based on their performance in the league alone. Not nearly enough people threatened to find out where I live for not putting Coutinho at the top, so let’s see who I can anger on this occasion!
Once again, I will only be using league games to assess players, so let’s not try to get too upset when Daniel Sturridge’s ranking increases by approximately f—k all. Only players who have played at least 10 minutes of football in the last five games will be ranked; so, for example, Simon Mignolet was ranked 12th after five games, and he isn’t even included on the updated list, as with Lucas, who’s only played 2 minutes of Premier League football in the last five games.
One place where Simon will be included, is the overall ranking list, which will – over the course of the season – determine who has been Liverpool’s best player this season. The science is patchy and imperfect, but you can’t argue with me, because I’ll tell my mum. Sadio Mane was ranked 1st last time out, so he will receive 20 points for round one, while Alberto Moreno was ranked 19th, which means that the little Spanish toe only receives 2 points.
Shall we begin?
- Phillipe Coutinho (↑3)
Played: 5 – Goals: 2 – Assists: 3
Remember when Coutinho was magical but immensely frustrating to watch? Me too. This season has been the one that we’ve waited for, for nearly four years. The little wizard (a nickname I loathed until recently) has been utterly magnificent over the last five games, taking his goal and assist tally to 4 and 4 for the season.
- Roberto Firmino (↔)
Played: 5 – Goals: 2 – Assists: 1
For the second time in two articles, Roberto Firmino comes out as Liverpool’s chief bridesmaid, and not quite the bride. If anything, being our second best player over the course of ten games – while others fluctuate – makes Sir Bobby our most consistent player. Liverpool’s gegenpressing system seems to fall apart when he’s not leading the line.
- Sadio Mane (↓2)
Played: 5 – Goals: 2 – Assists: 1
Last time round, the new guy was Liverpool’s top-dog, and although he’s still been scoring goals and creating chances, Mane has been overshadowed by Coutinho’s brilliance, and Firmino’s pure industry in recent weeks. Mane is still brilliant however, and our front three are a true force to be reckoned with.
- Joel Matip (↑3)
Played: 5 – Goals: 1 – Clean Sheets: 1
Joel Matip’s place in the Liverpool side is assured after injuries ruled him out of the start of the season. It may be a bone of contention for some, to place a defender so highly up this list, considering our propensity for conceding easy goals, but it is undeniable that our overall defensive play looks a lot more solid when the marauding centre-back is on the field.
- Jordan Henderson (↔)
Played: 5 – Goals: 0 – Assists: 2
The attacking numbers don’t look particularly impressive for the Liverpool captain, but considering that he’s been playing as a holding midfielder… well… up yours buddy. If any manager in the world could turn Jordan Henderson’s industry in to something special, it’s Jurgen Klopp, and Hendo’s contribution in every game has made him utterly undroppable.
- James Milner (↑4)
Played: 4 – Goals: 3 – Clean Sheets: 1
We missed Milly at Selhurst Park didn’t we? Consistently consistent, and seemingly infallible from the penalty spot. James Milner’s place as our first-choice left-back seems more assured every game that he plays – and even more-so every game that he doesn’t (sorry, not sorry Alberto). It’ll be good to have him back from illness next weekend.
- Dejan Lovren (↓1)
Played: 4 – Goals: 1 – Clean Sheets: 1
Dejan drops one place in this week’s rankings, and possibly could’ve dropped even further, had it not been for the injury troubles of Lallana and Wijnaldum, coupled with the anonymity of the usually consistent Nathaniel Clyne. Always battling, and oft frustrating, Lovren’s game against Palace – the horrendous mistake, and the goal in response – pretty much encapsulates his career for the club thus far.
- Nathaniel Clyne (↑1)
Played: 5 – Goals: 0 – Clean Sheets: 1
It probably goes without saying, that Nathaniel Clyne probably doesn’t deserve to rise in the rankings. Consistent as always, very rarely making any mistakes, but not doing much to impress recently. As with Lovren, Clyne placing so highly on the list is, in part, down to the injuries to Gini and Lallana, but this doesn’t change the fact that Clyne very rarely does anything wrong.
- Emre Can (↑8)
Played: 5 – Goals: 1 – Assists: 0
Can is our biggest climber, starting the last three league games, after missing the first eleven for the first seven games of the season. It took a while for him to find his feet again, as would be expected when you don’t start a league game for the best part of half a year, but the German has deputised well for both Wijnaldum and Lallana, grabbing the first goal against Crystal Palace, and forcing a wonder save from David de Gea in the stalemate with United.
- Adam Lallana (↓7)
Played: 5 – Goals: 1 – Assists: 2
A big drop from Lallana over the last five games, but injuries have curtailed the Englishman’s progress, he hasn’t played a full 90 minutes since mid-September’s victory over Chelsea and has only managed more than an hour three times since then. When he has played he has been as consistent as ever, although his end product has dropped off since his return from injury.
- Georginio Wijnaldum (↓3)
Played: 4 – Goals: 0 – Assists: 0
Another player who hasn’t had the game-time to shine is Gini. Restricted to two starts before missing the United game and making cameos against West Brom and Crystal Palace, it’s easy to see that the team plays better when the work-rate of Wijnaldum is being show-cased, and in his recent time on the pitch, has certainly contributed more than the players below him.
- Loris Karius (NEW)
Played: 5 – Clean Sheets: 1
Loris Karius’ explosion on to the scene has actually been a bit of a dull fart. A stat appeared this week from Opta, claiming that he’s actually claimed 100% of crosses that he’s come out for… That’s all well and good, but the problem is that he does not come for crosses half the time. He either stays on his line, or he gets halfway to the cross, and then begins to back away. Karius is coming back from a broken hand, he’s young, and he’s settling in, so I’m happy to give him time to improve… after-all, we did give Mignolet three years – still doesn’t mean he’s been close to impressive.
- Alberto Moreno (↑6)
Played: 1 – Assists: 1 – Clean Sheets: 0
A big rise in the rankings from Alberto Moreno, more due to the fact that we’ve used less players in the last five games than the first five, but also due to the assist he registered, and the fact that I only saw him more than 30-yards out of position once against Crystal Palace… that shouldn’t be an achievement, but for Moreno, it really is.
- Daniel Sturridge (↓3)
Played: 3 – Goals: 0 – Assists: 0
Daniel Sturridge in the Premier League this season: 348 minutes, 0 goals. It’s a statistic that doesn’t bear thinking of, and even though he’s not been getting as much football as he likes, you can’t see any good reason why he’s not scoring when he does play. The team looks disjointed when he leads the line, and Sky’s MNF team had a field day showing us all why the pressing game collapses when Sturridge plays. We could be saying goodbye to a cult-hero in January if this continues.
- Ragnar Klavan (↓2)
Played: 1 – Goals: 0 – Clean Sheets: 0
Only played once in our last five games, and that was in our 5-1 demolition of 10-man Hull. Did a solid job, although there wasn’t much to do for the majority of that game; clearly sharing back-up duties with Lucas at centre-back, about where he should be for a solid defender.
- Divock Origi (↓1)
Played: 3 – Goals: 0 – Assists: 0
Divock really barely qualifies for this list, but I promised to include all players who’ve played more than 10 minutes, and Divock Origi has played 11 minutes of league football in the last five games. I’m really not going to write anything more on the matter, I love Origi.
- Marko Grujic (↑1)
Played: 1 – Goals: 0 – Assists: 0
Played 16 minutes against Hull over a month ago. See above. I love Grujic.
Liverpool’s Best Players – Games 1-10
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