As we enter a new decade, The Hard Tackle takes a look at the best players to have represented Liverpool over the past ten years.
The last decade was one of major highs and lows for Liverpool. The 2010s began with a sense of gloom around the club with the departure of Rafael Benitez, but ended with them being the champions of Europe and charging rampantly towards their maiden Premier League title.
Over this period, there have been some exceptionally gifted players to have represented Liverpool, while there have been some major duds along the way as well. And, here at The Hard Tackle, we pick out the best team of the decade for Liverpool.
GK: Alisson Becker
A no-brainer really. The Brazilian has been at Liverpool only for eighteen months or so, but there is no denying the impact that he has made in that time. While Pepe Reina had his day in the sun, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Alisson has been by far the best goalkeeper to have put on the Liverpool shirt in the last decade and beyond.
A complete goalkeeper, Alisson won the Champions League in his debut season with Liverpool along with the PL Golden Glove and looks set for a PL title this time out.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold
He may be young, he may be only a few seasons into first-team football, but Trent Alexander-Arnold has redefined the role a modern day full-back with his exceptional attacking prowess, while remaining a reliable presence at the back.
Recognized as the best in his position in the world now, he is the obvious pick here especially with the competition being Glen Johnson, Nathaniel Clyne, Javi Manquillo etc.
CB: Joel Matip
Came in on a free transfer, made instant impact, became an integral player under Klopp and delivered one of his best performances in the Champions League final against Tottenham. That is more than enough to earn Matip a place in Liverpool’s team of the decade.
Dejan Lovren might have been at the club longer and has been part of memorable moments (read: that winning goal against Borussia Dortmund), but he has had his downfalls. Daniel Agger was good when he played, but he spent more time out on treatment tables.
CB: Virgil van Dijk
Another easy decision. It was, in many ways, Virgil van Dijk’s arrival in January 2018 that proved to be the catalyst for Jurgen Klopp’s side to scale the heights they have done in the past two years. Up until his arrival, Liverpool had problems at the back, which was stopping them from going that one step further.
The Dutchman is one of the best defenders in the world and was crucial to Liverpool’s European triumph last year, while being a dominant presence again this season as the Reds romp towards the Premier League crown. Has to be one of the best transfers of the last decade, nay in the history of Liverpool.
LB: Andrew Robertson
Liverpool have had a dearth of quality left-backs over the last decade, having had to rely on the likes of Jose Enrique and Alberto Moreno. However, all that changed when Andrew Robertson arrived at Anfield for just £8 million from Hull City. Along with Alexander-Arnold, the Scotsman has grown into one of the most potent full-backs in the game currently and he is richly deserving of a spot in the Reds’ team of the decade.
CM: Steven Gerrard
Fabinho has been brilliant since arriving at Liverpool, no denying that. However, there is also no denying that Steven Gerrard is one of the best to have ever played for the Reds. Yes, ‘that slip’ against Chelsea will be a lasting memory of this decade, but the former Liverpool skipper gave it all out every time he was on the pitch.
A leader, a true team player, Gerrard may have been at his best in the 2000s, but he was equally important for Liverpool in the early parts of the past decade, which is why he just about edges out Fabinho.
CM: Jordan Henderson
From one Liverpool captain to another, Henderson hasn’t always had it easy during his tenure at Liverpool. The Englishman had his troubles when he arrived from Sunderland and for a long time the fans were unconvinced about him. However, all that has changed in recent seasons.
One of the pivotal members of Klopp’s merry brigade, Henderson is the player with most appearances for Liverpool in the past decade and a Champions League winning-captain.
RW: Mohamed Salah
Two and a half years into his stint at Liverpool, the Egyptian has written himself into the history books with his prolific goalscoring prowess. Salah bagged a mind-boggling 44 goals in his debut season and while he hasn’t reached the same numbers in the seasons that have followed, the former Chelsea star has been one of Liverpool’s chief driving forces.
Heaps and heaps of goals, some certified stunners including, along with a Champions League winners’ medal and Salah’s place in the Liverpool team of the decade is well deserved.
CAM: Roberto Firmino
This was a difficult one, with two Brazilians vying for the spot. However, Roberto Firmino edges out Philippe Coutinho in the team, who misses out despite having played some of his best football with the Reds. Firmino is such an integral member of this Liverpool setup that it is hard to imagine them functioning this well without the hard-working Brazilian.
Goals, assists, work-rate and the Samba flair – the Liverpool No. 9 has it all and his presence on the field helps get the best out of the players around him, making him a natural inclusion into this team.
LW: Sadio Mane
Since joining from Southampton in 2016, the Senegalese speedster has been one of Liverpool’s top performers in every season. Mane enjoyed his best ever campaign in 2018-19, bagging the Premier League Golden Boot and has kicked things off in the same fashion this time as well.
Along with Salah and Firmino, Mane, who was recently crowned the African Player of the Year, has formed a fearsome attacking trio capable of taking apart any defence on their day. And we are not going to break this partnership up in the Liverpool team of the decade.
ST: Luis Suarez
The man who almost took Liverpool their first Premier League title. Suarez’s sensational tally of 31 goals in 33 matches in the 2013-14 season brought the Reds on the cusp of a historic title win, but sadly it was not to be. The Uruguayan may have won just a League Cup during his time at Anfield, but his tally of 82 goals in 133 matches says it all.
There may have been some unsavoury incidents along the way, but there is no questioning how brilliant Suarez was in his three-and-a-half year stint at Anfield, which is why he earns his place in Liverpool’s team of the decade.
Team of the Decade: Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Luis Suarez