Anatomy Of A Great Team - Why Liverpool Are So Good?

Posted by ibusiness on January 26th, 2020

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Forgive us if you consider this a spoiler, but Liverpool are going to win the Premier League in England this season. Normally making such a prediction in January when the season doesn’t end until May would be a bold and foolish move, but there’s almost no risk of us looking foolish with this statement. They’re already so far ahead of their opponents that the prospect of anybody catching them is unthinkable. They may not stop at just winning the Premier League either - it’s well within their means to retain the European Champions League trophy, too. 

What's changed this season to make Liverpool so good, though? Why is it that a team who haven't won English football's top prize in thirty years suddenly stand on the precipice of glory after so many years on the sidelines watching Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Arsenal win championship after championship? Even Leicester City have managed to be crowned champions during their wilderness years, but those wilderness years are about to come to an end. 

Liverpool’s form has been relentless not just this season, but last season. Not only do they almost never lose matches, they almost never draw matches either. They string together win after win after win. There’s an element of luck and chance to any sporting fixture, but the normal rules of chance don’t seem to apply to Liverpool as of late. They’re the equivalent of an online slots player standing in front of the reels and winning on mobile slots UK. If such a player existed, they would be banned from every online slots website in the world. If such an online slots game existed, it would bankrupt the company who created it. Liverpool’s ability to win fixture after fixture almost seems to fly in the face of logic, but is there a formula to that logic? Let’s take a closer look at what their team is made of, and try to find out. 

The Defence

There was no shortage of opposition fans mocking Liverpool when they broke the world transfer record for a goalkeeper to bring in Brazilian goalkeeper Allison. None of them are laughing now. The keeper is a formidable presence between Liverpool's posts and does an exceptional job of organizing an exceptional defense. His job is probably made easier, however, by the presence of Virgil van Dijk, who's arguably the best central defender on the planet. He had his doubters when Liverpool paid big money to acquire him from mid-table side Southampton. Southampton, in turn, had picked him up from Celtic. There are no longer questions about whether he has the quality to play in a top-level team. Instead, people wonder how a player this good ended up in the Scottish league to begin with. 

The real story in Liverpool's defense, though, is their pair of young fullbacks. England's Trent Alexander-Arnold and Scotland's Andy Robertson. Both of them play more like wingers than fullbacks, with their attacking qualities almost matching their defensive abilities. Both of them provide pace, passing accuracy, crosses, and assists. They're a template for the ideal fullback of the future, but Liverpool has the benefit of having them both at the same time, right now. 

The Midfield

Liverpool blends their attack and midfield together so well that in a couple of cases, it's hard to know which category to put a player into. The inspiration in their midfield, though, comes from captain Jordan Henderson. When Henderson inherited the captaincy of the club from the departing Steven Gerrard, many Liverpool fans raised their eyebrows. Henderson isn't a native Scouser, and at that point, had never truly proven his credentials as a top-class midfielder. Like the rest of his teammates, he's grown into his role and is now as calm and assured a midfielder as you could ever hope to see. 

Henderson is assisted in his work by James Milner, who only seems to get better with age. The hard-working and likable midfielder can play almost anywhere on the park, appears to be in the form of his life at the age of 34, and has been referred to as the pound for pound best player in the Premier League. That claim is likely a step too far, but the experience of Milner has doubtless been a calming influence on the younger players around him. Players like Alex Oxlade, Gigi Wijnaldum, Fabinho, and new signing Takumi Minamino rotate around them and bring qualities of their own, but Milner and Henderson are the quiet, unassuming and often-unrecognized engine room of Liverpool's successful machine. 

The Attack

The only people who don't enjoy watching Liverpool's forward line are the team who have to defend against them, and the fans of that opposing team. While Barcelona's attacking line may get more attention, and PSG's strike force cost a lot more money, only the most partisan of fans would try to insist that Liverpool doesn't have the best striking lineup in the world. Mo Salah is making a mockery of the pundits who called him a 'one season wonder' when he first signed for the club, and Sadio Mane has been the most consistent striker in the world for the past twelve months. The two forwards are so good that Roberto Firminho sometimes has to make do with a place on the bench, but when he does play, he brings flair, unpredictability, an eye for goal and a knack for killer assists. No football team's strike force is unstoppable, but Liverpool's is as close as it gets. 

The Manager 

What can be said about Jurgen Klopp that hasn't been said already? The first thing the popular German manager did after being appointed manager of the Anfield side in 2015 was head out into the city to find a bar to drink in so he could get to know his new city - and the fans of his new team - a little better. Hugely personable, polite funny and charming, Klopp has clearly been able to persuade his players to buy into what he has to say even more than the press do. Klopp is a natural-born winner, having collected trophies with Borussia Dortmund before moving to England, and his passion and drive are there to see for anyone who watches him on the touchline. An excellent man-manager and motivator, Klopp is the beating heart of a Liverpool side that he molded in his image over the course of four seasons. Now he's put the finishing touches to his creation, and the club is reaping the rewards for it. 

Fans of Everton, Manchester United and Manchester City may not thank us for saying so, but this current Liverpool team are among the very best who've ever played in the English Premier League. They may be about to dominate the sport in the country in a way no team has since Manchester United's peak years in the 1990s. If you get the chance to watch them, don't miss out. Teams like this come around very rarely. 

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