Liverpool Are Lacking That One True Superstar

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As Zlatan Ibrahimovic inspired Manchester United to their League Cup triumph on Sunday afternoon, it was impossible not to feel a twinge of jealousy.

Liverpool’s most bitter rivals had been outplayed for much of the game against a slick Southampton side, but Ibrahimovic was ultimately the difference between the two sides.

The legendary Swede has been an enormous success story at Old Trafford, unfortunately, with his all-conquering swagger both on and off the pitch helping transform a club in delightful decline over the last three years. By all accounts, his influence in the dressing room, whether that be as a monumentally-talented footballer, ultimate professional or born winner, have made a huge impression on the rest of the squad, and United would be nowhere without him.

Anyway, enough of gushing over a United player.

The reason Ibrahimovic has taken up the early part of this article is because Sunday made you realise Liverpool have nobody like him at the moment. There is no superstar at Anfield, perhaps for the first time in many years.

Delve through the annuls of history from around the time Liverpool won their first European Cup in 1977, and there has almost always been someone thought of as one of the greats of the game within the squad.

Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness, Ian Rush and John Barnes were world-renowned heroes during the club’s greatest ever period, while Robbie Fowler’s genius for three or four in the 1990s should never be forgotten.

Michael Owen and Fernando Torres may both have tarnished their reputations by leaving the club under a cloud, but both were genuinely world-class in their prime.

Steven Gerrard was a colossus over many years, with few midfielders in world football worthy of being spoken of in the same breath as him. Then there was Luis Suarez – quite possibly the most gifted player Liverpool have ever had.

Players of this ilk really are priceless. They are often at their most dangerous when the chips are down, and they thrive on being the man expected to get their team out of the mire. Where is this figure at Liverpool now?

In times of trouble this season, it is hard to think of any occasion when a Reds player has taken the bull by the horns and stood tall above his teammates. Where was that Gerrard-esque player waiting to lash home a thunderbolt away to Burnley? Where was that nasty, never-say-die attitude that Suarez possesses against Hull?

That’s not to say Jurgen Klopp’s current squad isn’t filled with some superb players, of course, and under the German they remain very much on the up.

Philippe Coutinho certainly has the ability to become world-class, but still falls just short of that bracket. He does not yet produce match-winning brilliance on a regular basis in the way people like Ibrahimovic, Alexis Sanchez or Sergio Aguero do.

Sadio Mane is also threatening to reach that elite group of forwards, but it remains too early to say that he has hit those heights, despite one of the most eye-catching debut seasons at Anfield in a long time.

Roberto Firmino is also a special player in his own right, but while his individual magic brings so many positives to this Reds side, he is not a striker who will fire his side to glory with 30 or 40 goals in a season.

There is undeniable quality away from that front-three, too – Adam Lallana’s ever-improving game is worth of a mention, for example – but even the most ardent of Liverpool supporters would have to admit they don’t possess a genuine world-beater in their ranks.

This isn’t Klopp’s style, as we have been told time and time again, but it is hard not to see that a sprinkling of absolute star quality would take the Reds to the next level. It’s not as though Klopp is incapable of managing a world-class player, as he showed when in charge of the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Marco Reus at Borussia Dortmund. He just won’t tolerate anyone with a giant ego and a lack of team ethic.

The true greats are team players, though. Suarez, Gerrard, Ibrahimovic, Aguero, Sanchez. The list goes on. They are born winners who may appear arrogant on occasions, but a sheer will to achieve success impacts on everyone around them.

So much is being made of the importance of the summer transfer window, and should Liverpool finish in the top-four, they must go all out for a signing of enormous intent.

We all know that there are wealthier clubs who have more pulling power than the Reds, but a move to Anfield with Klopp at the helm can still easily convince some stellar names to join.

You look at this current team and see so many encouraging things about it, but the lack of a true footballing giant is something that cannot be denied.

Imagine Suarez in this side, with all due respect to Firmino, or Gerrard in Georginio Wijnaldum’s midfield role. It would become a title-winning team. On the flip side, imagine United without Ibrahimovic, or Arsenal without Sanchez. Their respective seasons would have been a shambles.

As Ibrahimovic headed home that late winner at Wembley on Sunday, and United drew level with Liverpool in their overall trophy haul, the influence that one special footballer can have became more apparent than ever.

The Reds need that badly, if they are to return to the top of English football in the coming years.

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  1. We are a shambles. A winger playing LB, a very poor, and short, DM playing CB excruciatingly badly, no proper DM to protect the worst defence I’ve ever seen and no goal threat at all and some people think we might just qualify for Europe?
    You have to blame Klopp. Three transfer windows and our squad is woefully weak. We’ve got tons of money, having made a big profit on transfers last summer, but the manager thinks Milner is a LB and Lucas is a CB! Good grief! Would Gerrard or Souness have stood for that crap? Who is supposed to dictate things on the pitch? We have no natural leaders even if Henderson had been playing.
    Lallana was abysmally invisible, as was Coutinho, Mane couldn’t do anything right and Firmino is NOT a striker. Can is having a poor season and, yet again, Wijnaldum proved he can’t hack it away from home.
    Without a doubt the worst performance of the year but what petrified me was that the manager thought we could play a high defence, giving super-fast Vardy acres of space to run into against the ultra-slow, and short and old, Lucas. If that is the best you can do, Mr Klopp, you won’t last long here.

  2. Dan, you’re deluded if you think we’re short just ONE superstar. We’ve had a few world class players over the last decade or so and they’ve had it away on their toes because of the sheer mediocrity around them. Can’t challenge or win trophies with mid table players with journeyman personalities and mental attributes.

  3. When you talk about a rot taking hold it usually begins at the top. Yes we do not have a world class player and serial winner like Zlatan but this goes way beyond any players, it goes right up to the owners and manager. For the owners, say what you want about the United owners but if there is one constant, they demand major trophies besides profits and they are prepared to spend big to lure top players. Now compare this to FSG, pay over the odds for average players and hope they turn into world beaters and then sell them for a profit. This mentality also had a bearing on the way they select managers, choosing a candidate not because they serially win trophies but because they can assemble a half decent team on the cheap.
    Which brings us to Kloop. Why are we surprise that he and his team are faltering. Lets see :

    1) Any top teams or even aspiring top teams would have 2 world class GK. At worst they would have at least one top GK. We by own Kloop design have TWO, yes 2 shitty GK and we are constantly wondering, whoever is playing, how they are going to mess up the team. Just count the points loss due to GK errors.

    2) We have a decent RB but again by Kloop own design have a converted midfielder and another shitty player posing as LB. He has 2 windows to address this issue, what was he doing ?

    3) Now move on to CB. We have 1 very good CB and one rather decent one in Lovren. Why convert Lucas to a CB which had been an absolute disaster in general. Why loan out Sakho without a decent cover ? Why can’t Kloop forgive him and reinstate him to the team ? Yes he made some mistakes but who does not ? This is something that winners like Jose and Pep are prepared to do but not Kloop.

    4) Insistence on playing Can. Off form can pass the salt but for some strange reason Kloop insist on playing him.

    5) Not getting a cover for Mane during the window.

    6) Last but not least, this is a manager who by his own admission, knows only ONE tactic. Yes heavy metal football is nice to see but Kloop seems to forget that we are in a COMPETITION, winning matters. Look at the Leicester gave, knowing Vardy’s game and we walk right up his valley and gift wrapped the win by playing “i have no pace” Lucas. Clearly by now we should realize that Kloop is just a German version of BR, all this crap about their philosophy forgetting what really matter to the fans are just titles. Yes playing style is nice but titles are much better. Please note that Kloop had lost ALL his cup finals.

    We are mid table because this is the mentality of the owner and the manager and sadly some fans too. There are some fans out there who are quick to defend Kloop and BR even when it is clear a malaise had sets in, defending every loss and says LFC is not the power we once was and thus deserve much less. We should not harbour any hope of winning anything really. Thank our lucky stars that we have some American pseudo billionaires that some years ago saved us from another bunch of American cowboys and a one tactic manager who was willing to come here. They had forget that this is LIVERPOOL FOOTBALL CLUB, a club with a legacy of winning, a club capable of giving us memories like that night in Istanbul. Sadly under FSG and Kloop, we shall never witness events like that anymore. CL, we now struggles to even qualify, let alone win it.

    Barca is interested in Kloop i hear ? Well really, can i drive him there myself ? Let him ruin some other club. Do we want to return to those winning ways ? If yes FSG have a chance to redeem themselves and do something that they should have done years ago, reappoint Rafa as our manager and back him. Yes that man that last won us a major trophy, nearly won the league for us, regularly qualifying for CL barring just ONE season, his last one with us and he does it all on the cheap with those pesky, meddling cowboys, none of which BR and Klopp had to deal with and yet both had failed so miserably.

    Better do it quick before Klopp does another Brendan.


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