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Half-Season Player Ratings: Grading each Liverpool player in 2020/21 so far

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After 19 Premier League games, we’re officially halfway into the season. Here, we rank the Reds individually so far.

Jurgen Klopp‘s men started the campaign as the reigning English champions for the first time since 1990/91, but they haven’t had it all their own way this time around.

A mix of injuries, questionable VAR calls and a drop-off in form leave Liverpool sitting fourth in the table and six points adrift of leaders Man United, not to mention being dumped out of the FA Cup by them, too.

While some individuals have struggled to match their exceptional standards from last season, others have found a strong level throughout the campaign.

Here are our player ratings for the Premier League season so far. Do you agree?

(NB: Only players with four or more league appearances are included. Stats are league-only.)

Alisson – 8

Starts (Sub): 16 (0)
Clean Sheets: 5

Alisson has been as influential as ever in Liverpool’s goal, outlining his status as the best in the world in his position.

The Brazilian’s greatest strength is making everything look so easy and he has cruised through most games, making difficult saves appear routine.

His absence through injury earlier in the season hurt the Reds, with Adrian in goal for the shocking 7-2 loss at Aston Villa.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5

Starts (Sub): 16 (1)
Goals: 0
Assists: 2

Alexander-Arnold has dipped well below his accustomed level this season, with his attacking output significantly down compared to 2019/20.

Testing positive for COVID-19 and having to play deeper to make up for the loss of key defenders hasn’t helped in that respect, but much more is required in the second of the season.

Just two assists in the league highlights Alexander-Arnold’s struggles – at 22, he is allowed a blip, though.

Neco Williams – 5

Starts (Sub): 2 (2)
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

The young Welshman has done an adequate job as understudy at right-back, but it is clear that there is still plenty of learning to do and Klopp doesn’t seemingly trust him enough yet.

A reckless penalty conceded at Brighton typified this, although an assist for longtime friend Curtis Jones against Ajax was a high point – though as this grade is only for league form, it doesn’t boost his score.

A significant step down from Trent, for the time being at least, we’d have expected him to have been involved more so far in this pandemic-condensed season.

Joe Gomez – 6

Starts (Sub): 6 (1)
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

Gomez’s season has been cruelly ended by another serious knee injury – having to come back from it again is going to require huge mental fortitude.

In truth, the 23-year-old’s form was patchy before then, with a shambolic showing at Villa outlining a player at odds with his game.

In the few weeks before his injury, however, there were signs that his form was improving, as he stood tall in the absence of Virgil van Dijk.

Virgil van Dijk – 7

Starts (Sub): 5 (0)
Goals: 1
Assists: 0

Will we look back on Van Dijk’s injury as the defining moment of the 2020/21 season? Quite probably.

The Dutchman had been in generally commanding form before Jordan Pickford’s act of recklessness in October – he was poor at Villa, admittedly – and he has left a gaping hold in the Liverpool team.

Whether it be Van Dijk’s towering aerial presence, blistering speed, quality on the ball or leadership, the Reds have missed it all.

Joel Matip – 7

Starts (Sub): 8 (1)
Goals: 1
Assists: 2

When Matip has played this season, he has been excellent, showing why is one of the best, and most underrated, centre-backs in the league.

The problem has been staying fit, though, with the 29-year-old’s continued injury problems proving infuriating without Van Dijk and Gomez around.

Matip’s defending has been consistently strong, he has forged a strong understanding with Fabinho and a lovely assist for Sadio Mane against West Brom also stood out.

He’s yet to have completed back-to-back league games this season.

Fabinho – 9 (Star Man)

Starts (Sub): 16 (1)
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

Fabinho has been Liverpool’s Player of the Half-Year, by some distance.

Forced into a centre-back role he had barely played in before, the Brazilian has been exceptional, producing rock-solid performances that have held the Reds’ defence together.

An immaculate showing against United in the league summed up his brilliance, on a day when he had Jordan Henderson alongside him, and a horribly dangerous attack to deal with.

A wonderful player. But we do miss him in midfield.

Andy Robertson – 8

Starts (Sub): 19 (0)
Goals: 1
Assists: 5

Robertson is second only to Fabinho in the current Player of the Year stakes.

While fellow full-back Alexander-Arnold has floundered, the Scot has been a model of consistency, defending doggedly and chipping in with one goal and five assists in the league.

The quality of Robertson’s final ball has been unrivalled for much of the campaign, with his cross to pick out Roberto Firmino at Crystal Palace a perfect example of his final-ball expertise.

Jordan Henderson – 7

Starts (Sub): 14 (1)
Goals: 1
Assists: 1

Henderson is yet to replicate the phenomenal levels he captured at times last season, but he has still been a good performer for the Reds overall.

The skipper has produced his usual industry and drive in the middle of the park, and while his form has tailed off in recent weeks, he was decent in a rare centre-back role against United.

Henderson was deprived of a memorable stoppage-time winner away to Everton because of a debatable VAR decision, but did curl home ruthlessly in the 7-0 rout of Palace.

Gini Wijnaldum – 8

Starts (Sub): 17 (2)
Goals: 1
Assists: 0

We’re handing the bronze medal to Wijnaldum in the Half-Season Player of the Year stakes.

Signs of fatigue have arguably started to show, but the Dutchman has been colossal at times, also staying fit while many around him are missing.

Wijnaldum has continued to be understated in his excellence, although a lovely strike against Wolves in front of the Kop showed the eye for goal he possesses more at international level.

Thiago – 6

Starts (Sub): 4 (2)
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

It’s over four months since Liverpool signed Thiago and he has made just six league appearances – the definition of frustrating.

Whenever the Spaniard has played he has looked a class act, dictating midfield battles and showing positivity in his passing and dribbling, but he is still working his way back to full fitness.

He can be a driving force for Liverpool between now and May.

Curtis Jones – 8

Starts (Sub): 7 (5)
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

At 19, the progress Jones has made this season has been impressive and perhaps unexpected.

With Fabinho‘s position altered, and Thiago and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out for long periods, he has been needed in midfield, growing into a reliable first-team player.

There has been a noticeable drop-off recently, which is to be expected at his age, but he was one of Liverpool’s best players for a period in late November and early December.

His maiden Champions League goal – a winner against Ajax – was a special moment for him, but we’re still waiting for any end product in the Premier League.

James Milner – 5

Starts (Sub): 3 (8)
Goals: 0
Assists: 1

Milner is one of a host of Liverpool players whose season has been injury-plagued, with signs of age finally catching up with the now 35-year-old.

Only three league starts are proof of this, and while he remains someone who can do a solid job in several positions, he isn’t quite the force he was.

You would rather have him around than not, and his influence is perhaps more away from the pitch these days.

Naby Keita – 6

Starts (Sub): 6 (1)
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

Another season, yet more fitness frustration for Keita.

The Guinean can’t get going in a Liverpool shirt, but when he has played he has impressed sporadically, combining relentless work off the ball and subtle class on it, such as at Palace.

With every new injury that arrives, though, the more it looks as though his long-term future could lie away from Anfield.

Xherdan Shaqiri – 6

Starts (Sub): 2 (4)
Goals: 0
Assists: 1

Shaqiri’s inability to stay fit has forever been an issue at Liverpool and nothing has changed this season, with only four starts in all competitions, half of them in the league.

He played one of the assists of the campaign, however, finding Diogo Jota in sublime fashion at home to West Ham back in the autumn.

A supremely gifted footballer, but one whose Reds career has stuttered as often as it has sparked.

Mohamed Salah – 8

Starts (Sub): 16 (2)
Goals: 13
Assists: 3

Salah’s season started in the best possible fashion, with the 28-year-old bagging a hat-trick against Leeds on the opening weekend.

From then on, he has found a typically relentless level in front of goal, both leading the Premier League scoring charts and being the best of Liverpool’s much-famed front three.

There is no denying that Salah’s form has dipped in the last month and Klopp needs him back to his best for the second half of the campaign – a brace against United in the cup bodes well.

Sadio Mane – 7

Starts (Sub): 17 (1)
Goals: 6
Assists: 2

Mane’s campaign has been a curious one.

At times, he has looked unplayable, scoring twice in a superb display at Chelsea, but his attacking output has dipped alarmingly.

The Senegalese has only netted twice in the league since mid-October and has started to look a frustrated figure since the turn of the year.

Looks like he could use a long rest, which is very understandable.

Diogo Jota – 9

Starts (Sub): 5 (4)
Goals: 5
Assists: 0

The signing of Jota seemed to happen from nowhere, but he made a stunning start to life at Liverpool, prior to injury in early December.

Five goals in as many league starts made him an instant hero, with quick feet, direct running and key winning goals against Sheffield United and West Ham all on show.

His return can’t come soon enough and he looks a massive prospect – had he stayed fit, he could be rivalling Fabinho as Liverpool’s star man, though maintaining that level of clinical finishing in front of goal would of course have been tough to maintain.

Roberto Firmino – 5

Starts (Sub): 18 (1)
Goals: 5
Assists: 3

If Jota has excelled, Firmino has flopped, looking the most likely to lose his place to Portuguese in the long-term.

Liverpool’s No.9 has been out of sorts far too often, producing heavy touches, unconvincing finishing and not even proving as effective in his work-rate.

Are we seeing the decline of Firmino, or is it just an extended dip?

There was that last-gasp winner against Tottenham and two sublime efforts away to Palace, though, so it hasn’t been all bad.

Takumi Minamino – 5

Starts (Sub): 2 (7)
Goals: 1
Assists: 0

A year since joining Liverpool and Minamino still looks like someone finding his feet.

This has not been a season to treasure for him so far, with too many performances drifting by without him affecting games in the slightest.

He has been almost bizarrely underused by Klopp at times, but improvements are needed if he is to become a key man. Then again, his best performance and first league goal came against Palace – and he wasn’t used after that for weeks, so what more could he have done?

Divock Origi – 4

Starts (Sub): 1 (4)
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

Origi has done nothing of note since the 2019 Champions League final and he is now surely in his final few months at Liverpool.

The Belgian has managed just 70 minutes of Premier League action this season, without scoring or ever looking like doing so. What he did to justify a recent start is anyone’s guess.

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