Liverpool’s Evolution: The Rise of Liverpool 2.0
Ahead of all the hoopla and noise that will naturally reverberate around the Saturday clash at The Etihad, talk will naturally turn to personal battles, management contests and title challenges. Liverpool are in second place and only a point behind the league leaders after a difficult run of fixtures to start the season. There’s plenty to like and the main stars have been shining rather brightly so far, but it’s still early days to be heralding any dawn of a new era. Liverpool 2.0 have our backing and at the core of that are the key members of a previously strong spine. Whether these can players can replicate that will only be answered in time.
From 2018 onwards, the spine of the team was without doubt world-class by any Reds’ definition and arguably the best in certain positions. The fact that the funds from sale of Coutinho was utilised to bring Alisson Becker and Virgil Van Dijk to Anfield still seems strange even saying it now. Mo Salah had already begun to break premier league records and having been brought in from Monaco and after a bedding-in period, Fabinho provided the reds with a top class six Jurgen Klopp had been searching for. They weren’t the only stars by any means, but the spine that was key for any team chasing the big prizes was set as record points and trophies followed.
A lot of the key columns are still there and in some cases going stronger than ever. Despite all the Saudi chat, Salah already has twelve goals and four assist to his name, 200 league goals, player of the month awards and further records seem to tumble by the day. At 31 years old, the Egyptian king is a Demi-god for all reds everywhere and recognised rightly as the main man of Klopp’s side. There will be natural talk again with January around the corner but however long he’s at Anfield, if Liverpool are to enjoy Reds’ success then Mo Salah will always be a key component of if not the main player for the side.
Van Dijk’s Defensive Mastery
After some difficult moments during the horrendous campaign, any doubts around Virgil Van Dijk have well and truly been extinguished since this season started. Already boasting an 80.5% aerial duel success in the league (against 69.5% last season), Liverpool’s new captain is one of the main reasons they boast the meanest defence so far this season. He’s not been dribbled past or dispossessed and those long diagonals have been a show a number of times. The easiest thing to say about Alisson is that he was the best there was last season and the greatest around today. Whatever any awards or votes may declare. Two key columns in Liverpool’s spine are well intact.
The midfield may well be a case of overall lumbar support as opposed to replacing Fabinho and may well play the key part in how this season finishes. Alexis isn’t a six by his or anyone’s definitions, yet Jurgen Klopp seems well aware of that. Szoboszlai, Jones and Gravenberch give great options, although whether they can provide that solidity that top teams have to be successful…it’s too early to tell. This Liverpool side is strong at its core and if Alisson, Van Dijk and Salah maintain their levels then there’s very few will live with them. There’s a hell of a lot to like about Liverpool 2.0’s spine. Hopefully it’ll all have us tingling by the end of this campaign.