Season’s ratings 2018/19: Who was our player of the season?

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So, the dust has settled on a brilliant season which saw us break our Premier League points tally and win our sixth Champions League but who was our top performer over the season? Here I’m going to give my take on our players overall performance in 18/19.

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Alisson (9) - Before Alisson signed, I’d forgotten what a top goalkeeper looked like. Having witnessed calamity Karius’ meltdown in 2018’s Champions League final, the need for a new goalkeeper was apparent and as far as upgrades go, they don’t come much better. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes Alisson’s shenanigans with the ball at his feet drives me nuts but he’s only really been punished for it once, in a game vs Leicester that we went on to win anyway. Other than that, his basic goalkeeping skills are immaculate, as demonstrated in the stark contrast between his and Karius’ respective European final displays. Some big saves over the season too, none more so than the last minute wonder save against Napoli in the group stages, keeping us in the competition. All in all, Alisson and the rest of us, can be delighted with his first season.

TAA (8.5) - Would have scored higher if I was only scoring the second half of the season as his game went up a level from about Christmas onwards. Some inconsistencies defensively in the first half of the season stopped him from having a higher overall score but we must remember, the kid is only twenty. Finished the season like a train however, setting a new PL assist record for a defender, with a hugely impressive thirteen. Trent is one player I really can’t wait to see next season. He’s developing all the time and is a really special talent. That assist for Origi’s second against Barca will be remembered forever.

Matip (8.5) - Much like Trent, had he played all season the way he did in the second half of the season, he’d have had a higher score. It’s almost unbelievable to think he started the season as fourth choice, given how strongly he finished. Injuries to Lovren and Gomez gave him his chance however, after recovering from a broken collarbone which had kept him out for a period. Once he was back in the team, he was simply superb and looked every inch the defender we’d all hoped he would be when he signed from Schalke. No doubt who our first choice pairing will be going into next season.

Van Dijk (10) - For me this is a no-brainier. The PL player of the year and Player’s player of the year, Virgil is our player of the season in my opinion. I can’t ever think of one player having such an overall effect on a team. He’s pretty much single handedly turned us from a defensive laughing stock to the meanest defence in Europe. Nobody has dribbled past him in something like sixty five games, he scores goals and was clocked as the fastest player in this season’s Champions League. A model of quality, consistency and composure, Virgil is destined to go down as one of the all time great centre backs.

Robertson (9.5) - What can I say about Robbo... He’s upped the bar on what it means to be a left back and is now the benchmark for the position. Probably (along with Trent) the finest attacking fullback in the world but what separates Robbo from other good attacking fullbacks is that he’s absolutely rock solid defensively as well. His tackling is superb and he very rarely gives fouls away. Boundless energy, heart, desire, work rate and a really good lad as well. Rivals Van Dijk for consistency, rarely injured and equalled the previous PL assist record of twelve. I predict Robbo is going to add goals to his game next season. If he does, we might as well give him next season’s player of the year award now. Brilliant player.

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Fabinho (7.5) - Another who would have scored higher had the season started in January but a slow start for Fab and a couple of suspect performances as he was getting up to speed with the demands of Klopp’s system, mean I’m scoring him a respectable 7.5 for his first season. He really grew into the team in the final third of the season however, cementing his place in the side and putting in some brilliant displays. One on one tackling is superb as he creates a one man wall in front of our defence and his forward passing from the holding position was a breath of fresh air. He’s another I’m expecting big things from next season.

Henderson (8) - Nobody divides our fan base quite like our skipper and this season has been no different. It’s no secret I don’t like Hendo in the DM role. I can remember writing umpteen player ratings lambasting the relentless sideways and backwards passing. I saw an interview with Gerrard recently where he said he’d advised Hendo to start trying more himself, instead of always taking the easy option. In Hendo’s defence, he’s never claimed to be a DM and has done a more than respectable job in that role over the last couple of seasons. The rise of Fabinho however, allowed the captain to move further forward into his preferred role and since then, he’s been absolutely sensational. One of our most important players in the final stretch of the season as he really drove the team on and provided the spark in midfield that had been so painfully missing for large periods of the season. Delighted for him to get his hands on some major silverware and silence his critics (myself included) with his displays in the final third of the season. Hopefully his recent injury woes are behind him and this will be the Hendo we see week in, week out moving forward.

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Wijnaldum (8) - Scoring Gini and Hendo the same will no doubt be controversial amongst the community, on both sides of the divide but I feel they’ve been of equal importance to us over the season. By far our most used midfielder last season, Gini is one of Klopp’s most trusted and with the unrivalled dirty work he does, it’s no wonder. Popped up with some important goals, none more so than his brace from the bench against Barca and that bit of skill he had in that game where he completely hosed on three Barca players was one of my favourite moments of the season. Not everyone’s cup of tea but for me, Gini is arguably our most technically gifted player. If he could be more of a consistent attacking threat, he’d be the perfect all round CM.

Salah (7.5) - Perhaps a little harsh given he retained his golden boot but a really patchy season for Salah and one where we’ve seen his ego grow enormously in my opinion. Salah scores bucket loads of goals but his all round game - first touch and passing in particular are absolutely dismal most of the time and his selfishness, particularly when going through his goal drought, was really starting to bother me. No doubt, with twenty two goals and a Champions league winners medal, he’s had a successful season but in my opinion, Salah still has vast room for improvement in a lot of areas. He’s apparently turned down a move away this season but will reassess his situation next season. If his ego grows at the same rate next season that it has this, he’ll start thinking he’s bigger than the club and at that point, I would start the bidding at £200 million. Hopefully the individual awards won by Virgil and Mane matching him for goals, might remind him that there isn’t a ‘main man’ in this team.

Firmino (7) - A comparatively disappointing season for Bobby as he looked jaded for large parts of it and failed to hit the heights he did last season. There’s an argument to be made that he’s overplayed but given his importance to the team and the lack of a natural replacement, it’s understandable. Still, work rate alone means he always justifies his place and he’s treated us to some good moments. Probably could have done without the Copa America this summer though.

Mane (9) - Comfortably our best attacker this season in my opinion, especially from Christmas onwards. His twenty two goals in the league was a personal best and enough to see him share the golden boot with Salah but it’s not just his volume of goals but the importance of them. Mane scores the first goal of the game way more frequently than any of our other forwards and his form in the second half of the season made him arguably Europe’s form player. Another player who took his game to another level last season. Let’s hope he can maintain it.

The rest

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Ok, so I’m not going to go through the entire squad for everyone who played a minute or two here or there but for the remainder of our squad who play or have played quite regularly, here we go...

Gomez (7) - Had he been able to stay fit and maintain his early season form, Joe would have scored much higher but as always seems to be the way with Gomez, he’s good for about a dozen games a season before picking up some kind of bad injury that almost always seems to rule him out of the rest of the campaign. Hugely talented and should have a big future but availability is the best ability and up until now in his LFC career, he’s not available anywhere near enough. Having already lost his place as a starter to Matip, he really needs an injury free year next year to get his LFC career back on track.

Lovren (6) - Decent early season when played but an injury in the opening minutes of the cup tie vs Wolves and the rise to prominence of Matip, effectively ended Lovren’s season and potentially his LFC career, with strong rumours he’s off to Milan this summer. I won’t be particularly sorry to see him go but it will leave a gap in our squad that will likely need filling.

Milner (7) - Slightly more reduced role for Milner this season compared to the previous two but I’ve previously described Milner as a ‘solid seven’ as in he rarely puts in a performance below a 7/10 rating and such was the case again this season. His experience, professionalism and positional flexibility have been very important for us this season and with it (finally) being confirmed he still has another twelve months on his existing deal and talk of an extension, the evergreen James Milner
will continue to be a reliable and important player for us for at least another season.

Keita (6) - If there was one disappointment last season, it was probably Naby Keita. Having been signed the season before and arriving to much fanfare, Keita struggled badly for periods after a promising start. Injuries have meant the stop-start nature of his first season has led to real inconsistency in his performances. He’s shown flashes of what he can do but nowhere near enough to justify being our most expensive midfielder of all time. I fear he’ll be rushed back into action too quickly at AFCON this summer, when not properly recovered from the injury that ruled him out of the final stages of last season. Hopefully not as he really needs a fast start to next season to win over his doubters.

Shaqiri (6.5) - A real mixed bag for Pete Squirrel. Started the season like a house on fire, with the highlight being a match winning brace off the bench against United. His early season form even prompting a formation change from Klopp. Tailed off though and was barely seen after January. Quality squad player though, capable of changing any game from the bench, which is something we’ve lacked for years.

Origi (8) - Ok, so you may think that’s too high a score for Divock but we all recognised before a ball was kicked that he was very much a squad player and wouldn’t play much but when called upon, he’s done a lot more than provide cover. He’s scored massive, late winning goals against Everton and Newcastle and his brace against Barca will become nothing short of iconic in time, especially his second. Let’s hope he kicks on from here and becomes the player he has the potential to be.

Honourable mentions 

Honourable mentions to Mignolet and the Ox. Mignolet has been praised for his professionalism this season as he has helped Alisson maintain his lofty standards and never rocked the boat, despite barely playing. Top professional and a thoroughly decent chap.

Ox has battled back from a horror injury and it was great to see him get some minutes under his belt before the season finished. High hopes for him next season as we’ve missed his driving runs forward and goals from outside the box.

Klopp-watch (10) - The man, the myth, the legend. Bridges a twenty point gap to Man City from the previous season and won the Champions League. Can’t ask for much more from a manager who has truly worked wonders at our club. If he can win the PL before his LFC career ends, he will be right up there with Shanks and Paisley as our greatest ever manager in my opinion. Come on Jurgen, sign an extension, you know you want to...

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That’s it then folks, my take on how our squad performed over a truly memorable season. Let’s hear your thoughts below. Walk on.

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