Liverpool V Everton: Pictures
Virgil van Dijk stated after Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Everton on Saturday that the Reds have been in a “transition” over the past year as they transform into a new-look team. Gone are the days of Liverpool’s physical dominance over teams as they pressed their opposition into submission, but an emerging era involving a completely different team have showcased their credentials. With many stars putting their hands up, Express Sport has looked at four players Klopp could consider ‘undroppable’ after pivoting to a new system.
Dominik Szoboszlai has adapted to Premier League life like a duck to water and has quickly proven that he has the ability to become one of the division’s top midfielders. His all-round ability to create, break forward, press and defend has seen the Hungarian compared to Steven Gerrard and while the comparisons are premature, Szoboszlai has cemented himself in the Liverpool team.
Though Jurgen Klopp has a wealth of options to call upon off the bench including Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones, but Szoboszlai is proving key to how Liverpool’s new setup functions as he can push forward and combine with Mohamed Salah while allowing Trent Alexander-Arnold to move into the midfield at the same time.
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Alexis Mac Allister
Klopp’s reluctance to use Wataru Endo as the deepest midfielder of the three has seen Alexis Mac Allister being trusted to play a slightly different role than he is used to, but his ability on the ball has shone through and although has been forced to undertake more defensive duties, the Argentine has cemented himself as Klopp’s prefered option.
Mac Allister’s ability to move deeper also gives Klopp the option to play both Szoboszlai and one of Elliott, Jones and Ryan Gravenberch further forward – his versatility gives Liverpool greater ability on the ball and it is one of the reasons why Klopp refuses to drop his summer signing.
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Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk has always been a mainstay in the Liverpool defence, but at a time when Andy Robertson is out with a lengthy spell after undergoing shoulder surgery, the club’s top defenders need to stand up.
Ibrahima Konate was fortunate not to have been sent off in the Merseyside derby but his blushes were spared, while Alexander-Arnold’s attacking capabilities paper over the cracks defensively but Klopp will be aware that without Robertson, their backline is in a weaker place than with the Scot.
Van Dijk has been the best defender in the world previously and in order for Liverpool to compete at the very top of the table, they will need him to return to that level as he continues to show that the Reds’ defence cannot function without him.
Salah’s consistency has been his key attribute, scoring twice again as his efforts were the difference in a 2-0 win over Everton. He took his Premier League tally to seven goals in nine games, in addition to four assists and it has been evident why the club were prepared to turn down a mammoth fee from Saudi Arabia in the summer.
Speaking after the Merseyside derby victory, Van Dijk explained how exactly Salah has proven to be undroppable despite the stunning forward options at Klopp’s disposal. “Great players deliver,” the defender explained. “Towards the end of last season he missed a couple, but to step up like he does is something we need and something that is part of a big football club.”
The 23/24 home shirt for Liverpool pays homage to the past of the club, as well as collaborator Nike, with a strong 1970s influence. The iconic red, capped with bold white cuffs and collar really does invoke that classic Liverpool FC style while adding a cool retro touch
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