Here we’re ranking the five players Liverpool can’t afford to lose right now. There are some highly valuable assests at the club but who tops the lot?
5. Sadio Mane
Mane may not get the goals and assists of a certain other teammate but his importance is enormous. The start of the season, in particular, showed just how vital Mane is to Liverpool.
His goals and assists were worth a massive 18 points before the New Year. And that’s without counting the two trophies he can claim. Mane came off the bench to bag two in the UEFA Super Cup final, helping take that one to penalties. He also set up the winner in the Club World Cup final.
When Liverpool struggle, Mane usually finds a way.
4. Trent Alexander-Arnold
Liverpool would be a much worse and very different team without the Scouser in it. Alexander-Arnold is the most creative player in the team and he does it from right-back – that’s unique and allows Liverpool a dimension to their attack that every team struggles to handle.
Alexander-Arnold has effectively set a new standard for full-backs, redefining the position despite being just three years into his career. Take him out of the team and the Reds will have a far inferior and less diverse attack. There just isn’t anyone around to replace him at anywhere near his level.
3. Mohamed Salah
134 goals and assists in 150 games. Salah is a Liverpool legend and one of the most productive players in the club’s history. This season has actually been his least-productive as he failed to score 20 league goals for the first time.
And yet, he still had 36 goals and assists in 48 games.
Only Lionel Messi betters Salah’s figures since he joined Liverpool. The Egyptian is, quite undoubtedly, one of the world’s finest players and losing him would blunt Liverpool’s attack significantly.
2. Roberto Firmino
Firmino cannot match the numbers of anyone else on this list. Despite that, losing him would cripple Liverpool.
That’s not necessarily because of his talent, either, but how unique a player he is. Firmino can score and create goals but his strengths lie in his ability to find space, press, and move defenders about. There’s no one quite like him and when teams don’t take him into account, he thrives.
Firmino is so special that Jurgen Klopp effectively builds his attack around him. He drops deep to link with the midfield, while also creating the space for Mane and Salah. His pressing allows Liverpool to attack from the front, and yet he’s not a defensive forward. All of that while chipping in with nine goals and eight assists.
It actually creates a problem. What happens when Firmino leaves or regresses? Unlike anyone else on this list, there is no like-for-like replacement. You might not find someone as talented as Salah to play right-wing but you can at least find someone with a similar style.
There isn’t anyone else but Firmino. He’s a key and unique player – if he left, Liverpool would need to rethink just about everything.
1. Virgil van Dijk
Whether you’re ranking Liverpool players on their importance or pure ability, Van Dijk comes out on top. He’s the club’s best player and one of the absolute best on the planet.
There’s little doubt that he’s the finest defender around. His impact on Liverpool has been so great that no other defender can match his importance.
When Van Dijk arrived, Liverpool were also-rans. Within five months, they were in a Champions League final. Within 18 they were champions of Europe. They’d added the Premier League and Club World Cup within the first three years.
Van Dijk is so far above the rest in his position that replacing him would see a dramatic decline in quality. There’s just no other way around it. You can’t change style or ideas – you just get worse.
And all of that is why Van Dijk tops out ranking for the most valuable Liverpool player.