It has been a season to remember for Liverpool with Jurgen Klopp’s side on the brink of a first Premier League title, but which of his players make it into Jamie Carragher’s team of the season?
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Carragher has provided his 11 player picks for the 2019/20 Premier League campaign so far, with the competition suspended indefinitely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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Do you agree with his selection? Have a read of his reasoning and let us know in the comments section below, plus pick your team in our selector at the bottom of the page…
Goalkeeper – Dean Henderson (Sheffield United)
I actually think Liverpool have the best goalkeeper in the world right now in Alisson, but he’s missed a lot of football this season. He did not start the season and before the break we have now he was out as well, and that probably culminated in Liverpool going out of the Champions League to Atletico Madrid.
When he has played, he’s shown he is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League and the world, but because he has missed so many games, I’m going with Dean Henderson of Sheffield United. As a club, they deserve someone to be in this team, they have been a revelation. You could argue Chris Wilder is manager of the year in some ways, even with what Jurgen Klopp is doing and Pep Guardiola is doing in cup competitions.
They have got a really good defensive record, he’s kept a lot of clean sheets. I just think Sheffield United as a whole have been a breath of fresh air in the Premier League and they deserve someone to go into the team of the season.
I think the Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka is probably as big of an influence on their team as any goalkeeper. I’m not saying he’s the second or third best goalkeeper in the Premier League, but I think in terms of where you see Newcastle in the table, I think a lot of that is to do with the goalkeeper. He’s right up near the top of the list and he plays a big role in the fact Newcastle aren’t embroiled in a relegation fight.
Defenders – Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Andrew Robertson (Liverpool)
The only decision I had really was who was going to partner Virgil van Dijk. I thought about Jonny Evans in that position and Harry Maguire has had a really good season. I’m a big fan of Caglar Soyuncu in that he just makes me smile when I see him play for Leicester. Conor Coady has also done brilliantly for Wolves; he has not missed a minute this season and is probably as good as anyone alongside Van Dijk in terms of passing from the back.
But the reason I went for Joe Gomez is he has not lost a game. The one game Liverpool have lost this season away to Watford in the Premier League, he didn’t actually play. As a young player, he was in and out of the team at the start of the season because of his injury at the end of last season, but I think his performances have matched Van Dijk at different times and Liverpool’s defensive record is so much better than anyone else’s.
I think it’s difficult for anyone to really challenge the Liverpool full-backs. I could not think of anyone at left-back to really put pressure on Andrew Robertson. I’m a fan of Ben Chilwell and Luke Shaw has done well at times for United, but maybe more as a left-sided centre back in the last few months. I do not think there has been anyone close to the levels of Robertson.
I think there has been a few players close to the levels of Trent Alexander-Arnold in a different way. Aaron Wan-Bisakka is as good as anyone defensively in the Premier League and Europe in terms of one-on-one defending. I’m also a big fan of Leicester’s full-back Ricardo Pereira; every time I watch him play, he’s a really classy player who should be playing in the Champions League and hopefully he will next season for Leicester.
Midfielders – Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)
Midfield is probably one area where Liverpool have not been streets ahead of other teams, certainly in the last year or two. Liverpool need three midfield players who can run because they do a lot of work for the front three, who do not have to cover back so much really. You do not see Liverpool’s wide players in full-back positions; they are almost like a front three, so that midfield three at Liverpool have to cover a lot of ground.
I’ve gone for Jordan Henderson to hold. He has probably played in the position for half the season and the other half he has played in more of an attacking role when Fabinho was fit. I think Henderson has had a brilliant season as captain of a team who is running away with the title.
But I do not think I was in a position where I could put the other Liverpool midfield players in, certainly when you have got someone like Kevin De Bruyne, who I think is the best midfield player in the world. If I was picking a world XI, De Bruyne would be in that position. I think he’s as good as anyone, and there’s no doubt he has to go in there.
I went for a 4-3-3 because if you look at Man City and Liverpool, they are the two top teams now and that’s the system they play. On the other side of Henderson, I went for Jack Grealish. He’s been as influential as any player in those bottom 10 teams for their team. I know at the moment Aston Villa are in the bottom three, but I dread to think where Villa would be without him. You do not watch every game every team play, but whenever I watch Aston Villa, he’s always the best player, and he always provides something or a moment in the game where you think: “That’s class.” The best way to describe him is that it almost feels like every time Grealish gets the ball, the game stops.
It’s like everyone is waiting to see what he’s going to do, like he’s got time on the ball. Who knows how the season is going to end up and whether Villa go down or not, but there’s no doubt he’s got the quality to play for one of the top clubs in the Premier League or Europe.
Forwards – Mo Salah (Liverpool), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
I’ve gone for two of Liverpool’s front three. It was a toss up between Sadio Mane and Raheem Sterling, but Mane just has the edge this season. Sterling had a brilliant start to the season but has maybe gone just off the boil in the last couple of months. They basically both play on the left, so what I didn’t want to do is fudge it and put players out of position. So I have just got to go with Mane. He’s not just a goalscorer and he’s different from Salah, who I see as a real goalscorer, taking the penalties and looking to score every game. Mane is more involved in general play.
I was thinking about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but the only problem with Aubameyang is he plays in so many different positions across the front three. Sometimes he plays on the left, sometimes he plays up front, sometimes in a front two with Alexandre Lacazette, now and again he plays on the right, so it’s difficult to say he’s ahead of Mane or Sterling on the left and I couldn’t justify that.
It’s the same when I go to the centre forward position. I looked at Aubameyang, Jamie Vardy and Roberto Firmino, but I have gone for Sergio Aguero. Whenever he plays, Aguero is absolute dynamite. At one point, people were talking about Firmino being in this position, but I actually think Firmino has had better seasons. He’s had a really good season but I do not think he’s done enough to get in the team of the year. I went for Aguero, which may be a bit harsh on Vardy. I’m also a big fan of Raul Jimenez of Wolves.
On the right, I went for Mo Salah. Again, like Firmino, I think Salah has had better seasons for Liverpool, maybe even both of his previous two seasons, but he’s still right up there with the top goalscorers and the other goalscorers do not play on the right, they play as centre forwards. I could not think of any other player in the league really who plays from that side who does as well as him.
I didn’t want to put Sterling on the right if he had not played there all season. Adama Traore on the right for Wolves deserves a shout, he’s been devastating at times.
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