After a long, and frankly bizarre 11 months, Liverpool’s 2019/20 season has finally drawn to a close, with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over Newcastle United.
In a season where the Reds had 18 match unbeaten runs, looked like going invincible, won the Super Cup and Club World Cup, it was certainly a rollercoaster.
Above all though, after 30 years of hurt, Liverpool achieved the holy grail. They got their hands on that illusive Premier League title, and not even a worldwide pandemic was going to stop them.
It’s a season Liverpool fans will definitely never forget, and every player in the squad has played a big role.
But which players stood out this season, and who perhaps should have done more? I am going to rank every Liverpool player’s season with a letter grade, something which I’m sure will divide opinion.
Let’s get to it.
*Note: this only includes players who started at least 3 games for Liverpool in all competitions; players who featured in 1 Carabao Cup game say, will not be included.
You don’t want to start with the highest grade straight away, but you can’t argue that Alisson doesn’t deserve it.
The impact he’s had at Liverpool since joining cannot be understated, and he has been a key component to all our success in recent years.
There have been occasions this season where he’s had little to do, but when it matters, he produces those match-winning saves, or offers that necessary amount of composure to help us see out a game. He doesn’t make flashy saves for the cameras, but does his job expertly, and fills you with confidence.
The fact he missed 9 Premier League games through injury and suspension, and was still close to being in Golden Glove contention says it all.
Harsh? Perhaps, considering his Super Cup heroics, but I think Adrian’s importance in our early season run has been slightly overstated.
His save to deny Mertens against Napoli still stands out as one of the best saves I can remember, but there were still plenty of errors and heart-in-mouth moments.
4 errors leading to goal in all competitions is the second most of all goalkeepers in the Premier League; for a backup, that is alarming.
His display against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League was a shambles, with the Spaniard at fault for both of Llorente’s goals.
You don’t expect a second choice to play as much as he has, and I’ll boost him up to a C+ for winning us the Super Cup, but a shaky season.
Caoimhin Kelleher: C
The young Irish goalkeeper played throughout the duration of our Carabao Cup campaign, and had a big role in saving Dani Ceballos penalty in the 5-5 thriller with Arsenal back in October.
There were quite a few goals he should have done better on, and will benefit from a loan move next campaign to really test his credentials.
Virgil Van Dijk: A+
What more can be said about Van Dijk which hasn’t already been said?
Our only player to play all 38 league games this season (for the second consecutive campaign), Van Dijk was the epitome of consistency, and was the primary reason the Reds had such impeccable defensive records at points of the season.
More goals than any other defender in the Premier League is also an impressive statistic.
Some say he hasn’t had as world-class years as he did in 18/19, where he stormed to the PFA Player of the Year; personally, I disagree. He set the bar so high last season, that it’s simply become expected now, and he doesn’t get the plaudits he should have.
My personal Liverpool player of the season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: A+
Another A+, but another which is difficult to dispute.
Alexander-Arnold had a sensational year, notching 13 Premier League assists to break the record assists he set for a defender himself last year, and 15 in all competitions.
Sometimes doesn’t get the credit he deserves from a defensive standpoint, but it’s hard to fault him.
That Leicester City performance in December with 2 assists and a goal will live long in the memory.
Already a Liverpool legend, and it’s hard to forget he’s still only 21-years-old.
Andy Robertson: A
It was another very strong season from the left-back, who produced 12 Premier League assists, one more than last year; to be getting those sorts of numbers consistently as a defender is outstanding.
His record post-lockdown of 1 goal and 5 assists in 8 games is a great return, while his ability to chip in with a goal or two now has not gone unnoticed.
The reason he gets an A instead of an A+ is because he’s had a few off-games, although that’s not disputing the fact he’s had another top year.
Joe Gomez: A
It started off as a difficult year for Joe Gomez; injury issues, demoted to fourth choice centre-back, and booed by fans of his own national team for quite frankly nothing.
But to say he’s recovered well would be an understatement.
When he got an extended run in the team back in December, he was instrumental in an incredible defensive streak, that saw the Reds keep 10 clean sheets in 11 league matches.
With his pace, physicality, and defensive awareness, Gomez possesses all the attributes to be one of the best centre-backs in the world, and now firmly established as Van Dijk’s preferred partner again, next season could be even better.
Joel Matip: B+
It seems so long ago now, that it may be easy to forget just how good Joel Matip was at the start of the season.
He was arguably Liverpool’s best player in the opening month or so, with his form seeing him pick up the PFA Player of the Month award for September; not a simple feat for a defender.
Injury problems came at precisely the wrong time, and it’s been difficult for him to regain his spot back from Gomez, but as a third-choice defender, you can’t ask for anyone better.
Neco Williams: B+
It has been a memorable first-year for the right-back, who broke onto the scene from relative obscurity with a solid performance in the Carabao Cup win over Arsenal in October.
He’s become a more prominent member of the team since then, especially post-restart, where he’s featured 6 times, including 3 starts.
A lapse of concentration against Newcastle still shows he has a long way to go, but he has the makings of being a very good player.
Ki-Jana Hoever: B
The young defender appeared 3 times for Liverpool this season; twice in the Carabao Cup and once in the FA Cup replay victory over Shrewsbury.
Looked solid whenever he played, and scored his first goal in a Liverpool shirt with a header against MK Dons back in September.
There’s still confusion whether his best position is at right-back or at the heart of defence, but at still only 18-years-old, he has a bright future.
Dejan Lovren: C-
This was a typical Lovren season: had spells where he was solid, had multiple injury problems, with all this undone by a few defensive horrorshows.
The Croatian came into the team after Matip’s injury back in October, and was mainly faultless, with a domineering display in the victory over Man City standing out as a highlight.
However, his games against Shrewsbury and particularly Watford were characteristically poor, and he played a big role in the loss of our invincible run, which we’d kept going until the end of February.
He hasn’t been seen since a disastrous cameo against Everton in the first game since the restart, and looks set to depart to Zenit in an £11m move.
Probably best for all parties.
Sepp van den Berg: C-
The 18-year-old arrived to a lot of hype in his move from PEC Zwolle last summer, and has amassed 4 apperances for the Reds in all competitions.
Van den Berg did look out of his depth early on, and was a weak point in many of the displays, but looked much more assured against Shrewsbury back in February, and showed why the Reds faced such intense competition for his signature.
He still has a long way to go, and it’s never going to be easy for a teenager to adjust to a new country and league, but it was an alright start.
Jordan Henderson: A+
Undoubtedly his best season in his professional football, Henderson had a near-perfect campaign, that was topped off with a well-deserved FWA Player of the Year award.
The skipper was vital to our success, both from a defensive standpoint, and by chipping in more goals and assists; he was effectively the complete midfielder.
Liverpool’s recrod with and without Henderson in the team makes for a surprising read, and it reflects just how important he’s become to this Liverpool side.
He’s battled plenty of criticism, but you couldn’t ask for a better man to captain Liverpool to that illustrious Premier League title.
Georginio Wijnaldum: A-
Wijnaldum was an ever-present for Liverpool this season, and was a key component in Liverpool’s success.
Perhaps he has become more underrated in recent times, with his importance in doing the unheralded work in recycling possession and protecting the full-backs often going unnoticed.
There are times when he tends to go missing in games, and a second consecutive Premier League season with no assists is striking, but I suppose that isn’t his main role in the team.
His Liverpool future is marred in certainty, with the Dutchman yet to sign a new deal with only a year left on his current contract remaining.
Regardless of what happens, he’ll be remembered as a vital cog in this Liverpool machine.
Take Fabinho’s form up until his untimely injury against Napoli in November and he gets an easy A+.
The Brazilian was superb, and stood out with his defensive awareness, but also his ability to drive the team forward with his long pick-outs.
His rusty form after coming back from injury marks him down a bit, and it took him a while to find his groove again, but that world-class display against Crystal Palace, including an absolute rocket of a shot, reminded us what he is capable of.
A very solid year all round.
Naby Keita: B+
Prior to the restart, it looked set to be another underwhelming year from Keita overall.
When he played, he was generally very good, with back-to-back MOTM displays in December reminding everyone of his talent, but consistent injury problems prevented him from really kicking on and getting an extended run in the side.
However, ever since the restart, Keita has been Liverpool’s standout player, and served as a reminder why we forked out £52m for his services.
He fits Klopp’s system to a tee, while also chipping in with some creativity from midfield that is often lacking.
Let’s hope next season is his breakout year.
Curtis Jones: B+
This was a breakthrough year for the young Scouser, who played a more predominate role throughout the season.
Moments such as the decisive penalty against Arsenal, debut Premier League goal against Aston Villa, and, of course, his screamer in the Merseyside Derby will all live long in the memory, and are moments all boyhood Liverpool fans can only dream about.
Klopp rates him highly, and he looks set to play a bigger role going forwards. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: B
This was a mixed bag of a season for Oxlade-Chamberlain, who scored some fantastic goals and injected some explosiveness into Liverpool’s midfield, yet this was coupled with frustrating, inconsistent performances.
When he gets the ball and runs at the opposition, he can be scary to watch, and his all-action display against Atletico Madrid reminded us all of his capabilities and what he can offer this team.
I don’t think he’s nearly as effective on the wing, where he’s often shunted, and needs to find some more consistency to his game if he wants to be a long-term member of this squad.
Next season is huge for him.
James Milner: B-
Milner was his usual, reliable self this season, although making only 9 starts in the Premier League, and with more injury problems than usual, suggests his career may finally be winding down.
I can’t recall a time he necessarily played badly, but his importance on the pitch is slowly waning, and he may begin to feature even less in 2020/21.
You can’t underestimate what a fantastic servant he’s been to the club, and is the model figure you want in the dressing room, but I expect him to feature less next year.
Pedro Chirivella: B-
If you’d told me at the start of the season I’d be giving Pedro Chirivella a grade, I’d have thought you were crazy.
The midfielder hadn’t featured for the Reds since May 2015 amongst various loan moves, and a permanent switch seemed inevitable.
However, Chirivella stuck around and every-time he played, he was a standout. Led the younger players by example in the FA Cup against Shrewsbury, while his display against Everton in the FA Cup was genuinely fantastic.
He turned down the offer of a 5-year deal for first-team football with Nantes, which you can’t fault him for.
Best of luck to him.
Adam Lallana: C+
After over 6 years, Adam Lallana has finally departed Liverpool, looking increasingly likely to sign for Brighton on a free.
The 32-year-old, who epitomised Klopp’s pressing style in his early years, has appeared less and less, with injury problems playing their part.
However, he’s still had moments this season; that late equaliser at Old Trafford to preserve our unbeaten streak at the time will live long in the memory.
He’s been a loyal servant to the club, and you could see how much the club meant to him.
Wish him the best.
Sadio Mane: A+
This may be controversial as I have him above the rest of the famed front-three, but Sadio Mane was my standout of the attackers this season.
One of the most exciting players in the division, Mane has this unpredictability to him, while he’s also been very clutch this season, rescuing Liverpool in moments where we looked like dropping points.
The main plus I have for Mane, is that even when the rest of the team is underperforming, he always looks the most likely source of a goal, and has that tenacity to him.
Fantastic season from a fantastic player.
Mo Salah: A
It was another prolific season from the Egyptian, who notched 23 goals and 13 assists in all competitions; a fine return to accompany his two previous goal heavy seasons at Anfield.
There were some great moments sprinkled in, namely that last minute goal against Manchester United in January to seal all three points, and Salah always provides a threat.
Poor performances where nothing goes right happen from time to time, but these can be overlooked considering how good he’s bee on the whole.
Roberto Firmino: B+
I don’t like giving Bobby anything lower than an A, but I’m sure he’d admit himself that he could have done better this season.
His linkup play, vision and overall game remains superb, while he provided many match winners and played a formidable role in our Club World Cup success.
Despite that, with some of the chances he gets, he should still be scoring more goals. 9 Premier League goals is slightly underwhelming, while only 1 Anfield goal in the league all season isn’t the best record.
Firmino being “the system” has become an overused cliche, but he is much more than just goals; it would just be nice to see him get a few more.
Harvey Elliott: B-
The 17-year-old showed a lot of promise after joining from Fulham in the summer, making 8 appearances in all competitions.
There are glimpses of his talent, and his skill and footwork with the ball is something to keep an eye on.
He didn’t feature enough in the Premier League to earn an official medal, but he looks to be the future of the club.
Takumi Minamino: C
It’s hard to rate Minamino, who only joined midway through the season from RB Salzburg, and you don’t want to expect too much from him at this stage.
His linkup play has been good at times, and he seems much more suited to playing centrally as opposed to on the wing, although his versatility is a positive.
He needs a goal to build confidence, and may take a while to adjust due to his seemingly shy, quiet demeanour, but if he finds his feet, he’ll be a bargain.
Divock Origi: C-
Divock Origi will always be a Liverpool legend for his Champions League heroics last season, but nobody can deny that this was a frustrating, underwhelming campaign from the forward.
He had some bright moments, with his 2 well-taken goals against Everton back in December standing out, but he always looks out of place and far below standard when starting, especially alongside the first-choice XI.
He drifts in and out of games, and tends to make poor decisions, while 0 goals in 31 appearances as a substitute in the Premier League, when he’s supposed to be our impact attacker, is just not good enough.
Should ideally be upgraded upon.
Xherdan Shaqiri: D
I don’t want to dish out the only D to Shaqiri, as I’m a big supporter of him, but you can’t mask the fact that this has been a poor season from him.
Injuries have severely reduced his playtime, and even when he is fit, Klopp just doesn’t seem to rate him highly enough, which strikes me as strange.
1 goal all season is incredibly underwhelming, while 3 starts alongside that is even more alarming.
It appears to be the end of the road for Shaqiri at Liverpool, and it would be surprising if he’s still here next season. It’s a shame, but if Klopp doesn’t want him, it’s the best move for all parties.