Liverpool have developed a spine that stands as the world’s best right now. It’s the foundation of an extraordinary team.
They’re certainly not the only team with a great spine, of course. You can look at Manchester City for a quick contender for the crown.
Ederson, Aymeric Laporte, Fernandinho, and Sergio Aguero are all outstanding players – but you’d still pick Liverpool’s. Real Madrid – Thibaut Courtois, Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema – and Barcelona – Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Luis Suarez – both have stellar spines, although both are also ageing.
Alisson Becker (£66.8m per BBC), Virgil van Dijk (£75m per BBC), Fabinho (£39m per BBC), and Roberto Firmino (£29m per BBC) are the peak. All four can claim to be the best in the world at what they do and all four are playing their best football.
But it’s also how they define the team that makes them special.
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Liverpool can counter-attack faster and play higher up the pitch thanks to Alisson. They can take more risks in defence and play the ball out better with Van Dijk. Fabinho allows the midfield to play wider and cover more of the pitch – especially behind the attacking full-backs. Firmino means Liverpool don’t need to worry about linking the attack from midfield, while also giving space to the goalscorers out wide.
That’s the true magic of the spine at Liverpool. Not only are all four phenomenal players but the team is truly built around them. Jurgen Klopp has designed arguably the best team in the world right now and this spine is the reason for that.