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Liverpool Team of the Decade: Suarez in but Gerrard and Coutinho miss out

13:00 SAST 2019/10/17
Steven Gerrard Luis Suarez Philippe Coutinho Liverpool
With 2020 approaching, Goal has decided to pick out the best players to have represented the Reds over the past 10 years

  • Alisson Liverpool 2018-19

    GK: Alisson Becker

    This was not a difficult choice.

    Alisson Becker may only have been at Liverpool for 15 months but he is undoubtedly the best goalkeeper to have represented the club in the last decade – and beyond.

    Calm, commanding and positionally perfect, the 27-year-old enjoyed a remarkable first season on Merseyside.

    His 21 clean sheets earned him the Premier League Golden Glove award, and the Brazil No.1 finished the campaign as both a Champions League and Copa America winner.

    "A complete goalkeeper," Jurgen Klopp has called him, and few would argue. Without him, Liverpool would not be European champions.

  • Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool 2018-19

    RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold

    "Just a normal lad from Liverpool whose dreams came true," Trent Alexander-Arnold said after the Champions League final back in June. It's hard to argue with that, really.

    The England international has yet to reach 100 appearances for Liverpool but his impact on the Reds' first team has been truly remarkable.

    At just 21, he is already among the world's best full-backs, a potent attacking threat and an improving defender. The steady stream of assists provided by his wand of a right foot make him a Reds legend in the making.

    He's already played in two Champions League finals, as well as a World Cup. And the scary thing is, he's only going to get better!

  • Joel Matip Liverpool 2019-20

    CB: Joel Matip

    You might be surprised to read this one. Liverpool have had some pretty good centre-backs down the years, but only two of them delivered the Champions League

    Joel Matip's rise to prominence last season was something of a surprise. He had not entirely convinced following his move from Schalke in 2016, but with Virgil van Dijk alongside him, the Cameroon star has emerged as a truly world-class performer.

    He was key in the European Cup triumph over Tottenham, and has continued that form into the new season too.

    For a free transfer, Matip ranks alongside the best signings in Liverpool's history. 

  • Virgil van Dijk, Napoli vs Liverpool

    CB: Virgil Van Dijk

    Who else? The £75m ($96m) bargain, that's who!

    Has one player ever had such a transformative effect at this football club?

    Van Dijk's signing in January 2018 turned Liverpool from top-four hopefuls to European royalty. The Reds have the best defensive record in the country since the big Dutchman turned up.

    Aerially dominant, classy in possession and never anything other than completely in control, Van Dijk is the world's best defender, a Champions League winner and could land the Ballon d'Or before the year is out. 

    If that doesn't justify inclusion in this team, then nothing will!

  • Andy Robertson Liverpool 2019

    LB: Andy Robertson

    Another simple choice.

    Liverpool's struggle to find a reliable left-back goes back longer than most would care to remember but, with Andy Robertson, they have absolutely cracked the code.

    A low-key signing from Hull at just £8 million ($10m) back in 2017, the Scot took a few months to get into Jurgen Klopp's team but has made the position his own since.

    He's racked up 90 appearances, won a Champions League medal and become a firm favourite with the fans for his humility and his all-action style.

    Jose Mourinho once said he was "tired just looking at him", such is the intensity with which the 25-year-old plays.

    Liverpool have the best attacking full-backs in the world right now, and that is testament to the incredible strides the Scotland captain has made at Anfield.

    Klopp wouldn't swap him for anyone in the world.

  • Fabinho Liverpool 2019

    CM: Fabinho

    Right, first comes a disclaimer.

    In terms of talent, Steven Gerrard is the best midfielder ever to play for Liverpool Football Club. That's beyond debate.

    But in terms of the last decade, Fabinho simply cannot miss out on this team.

    Another big-money Klopp signing, the Brazilian overcame a slow start at Anfield to prove himself an elite holding midfielder; a physical monster with a great passing range and a first-class mentality.

    Ask Klopp how important he is to what he is looking to do at Liverpool, and he will wax lyrical.

    Fabinho's time on Merseyside has been brief, but it has been glorious. More silverware beckons with him in the team.

  • Jordan Henderson Liverpool 2019-20

    CM: Jordan Henderson

    No player has played more games for Liverpool in the last decade than their captain. Jordan Henderson stands 52nd on the all-time Reds list, having played 335 times for the club he joined back in 2011.

    Not always universally popular among supporters, the Wearsider has been deemed vital by three Liverpool managers, is adored by his team-mates and has been central in all of the club's big moments over the past 10 years. 

    Luck wasn't always on his side. He has been a runner-up in the Premier League (twice), the FA Cup, League Cup, Europa League and Champions League, but his 'nearly man' tag was shaken off in glorious fashion in Madrid back in June.

    He's a Champions League-winning captain now, and not many can say that.

  • Mohamed Salah Liverpool 2019-20

    RW: Mohamed Salah

    "He's always scoring, it's almost boring," goes the song on the Kop. That pretty much sums Mohamed Salah's time at Liverpool up. 

    The Egyptian's record, quite simply, is staggering. He has 77 goals in 116 Liverpool appearances, 58 in 82 in the league.

    His first season alone brought 44 goals in all competitions – only Ian Rush has ever managed more in a single campaign for the Reds.

    Salah's won two Golden Boots, a PFA Player of the Year award and a Champions League winners' medal. Had it not been for Sergio Ramos, he might have had another!

    Think of the moments: those stunners against Roma and Everton; that nerveless penalty against Tottenham; the Exocet against Chelsea; the dink or the lob against Manchester City. There are many, many others. He's special, alright.

    His scoring feats are made all the more remarkable by the fact Salah is not, in the truest sense, an out-and-out striker. He usually plays off the right, where he is as creative as he is prolific.

    With Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, he forms one of the world's most potent attacking trios. He was a shoo-in for this team.

  • Roberto Firmino Liverpool

    CAM: Roberto Firmino

    The False Nine who became the Real Deal.

    It is hard now to imagine a Liverpool team without Roberto Firmino, a unique, game-changer of a player, who not only brings his own brilliance but encourages and enables others to bring theirs too.

    The Brazil international has made 204 appearances since signing from Hoffenheim in 2015 and, save for a difficult first couple of months, has been arguably the Reds' most consistent, influential player in that period.

    His elusive movement, intelligent touch and peerless awareness make him one of the world's premier forwards, someone around whom Klopp has built his team.

    No striker works harder, few have better vision or technical ability. Plenty are more prolific; none are more important. And none have better teeth!

  • Sadio Mane Liverpool 2019-20

    LW: Sadio Mane

    The third musketeer, but no less important than the other two.

    Sadio Mane's signing in 2016 was transformative for Klopp's Liverpool, injecting pace and dynamism into a team that lacked both.

    He scored a memorable goal on his debut at Arsenal and hasn't looked back since. His record at time of writing is 67 goals in 134 appearances, and it is improving with every week.

    Last season was his best, his 22 league goals earning him a share of the Golden Boot. This season, he has started in a similar vein.

    He was the club's Player of the Year in his first season, playing from the right flank. He switched to the left following Salah's arrival, but his form hasn't suffered.

    The Senegal star is ultra-consistent, the man for the big occasion, and one of the club's most popular figures. 

    He's also a European champion, of course. And if Liverpool are to end their long wait for a league title, he will play a huge role.

  • HD Luis Suarez Liverpool

    ST: Luis Suarez

    You'll have noticed a theme with this team so far, right? They all won the Champions League with Liverpool.

    Suarez didn't. In fact, he only won the League Cup.

    But in terms of performance level, the Uruguayan may just be the best of the lot. His time at Anfield was brief, too brief, but what memories he left. 

    He is the only player to reach 30 goals in all competitions in two successive years during the decade, and the one, more than any other, who was capable of making fans gasp in astonishment. 

    The 2013-14 season, his last at the club, stands out. Suarez dragged an average Liverpool side to within a whisker of the Premier League title. He scored 31 times in 33 games, forming a deadly double act with Daniel Sturridge.

    Steven Gerrard ranks him as the best he's ever played with, and that says everything.

    Not the most successful player in Reds history, but certainly one of the most talented. And one of the few who, in his prime, could improve this current team.

  • Steven Gerrard Liverpool 2014

    Honourable mentions

    It seems bizarre to pick a Liverpool team without Gerrard and, in truth, a case can be made to have the Kop legend in this one. His lack of a major trophy is all that counts against him.

    Jamie Carragher would have a shout in defence, even if his final three seasons were not his best – he did finish with a stellar six months, in fairness, but had been battling for a place with Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger prior to that.

    Philippe Coutinho may not be too popular with fans following his exit to Barcelona but, for four years, the Brazilian lit up Anfield with his skills, goals and assists. 

    Daniel Sturridge is perhaps the great 'what if?' of the decade. What if his body had not betrayed him after that 2013-14 season? What if he'd have had just one or two more years at that level? For a season, he was as good as anybody. 

    The stalwarts, too, deserve a mention.

    Gini Wijnaldum (151 appearances) and James Milner (188 appearances) were key to the club's resurgence under Klopp. Dejan Lovren (172 appearances), too, though the Croatian probably has too many off-days to be considered here.

  • Liverpool Team of the Decade

    How they line up

    So, there you have it, our Liverpool Team of the Decade!

    But what do you make of our selections? Are there any glaring omissions, in your opinion?

    Post your thoughts – and your own line-ups – in the comments section...