Brendan Rodgers has discussed Liverpool’s most unexpected title bid since his glorious failure in 2015, identifying the players that will be instrumental in their attempts to finally bring the trophy to Merseyside.
Jurgen Klopp, of course, has no Luis Suárez to make him look like a genius while he blathers on about the word outstanding and how outstanding it is, and so Rodgers has decided there are three players that will be vital to the Reds’ attempts to top the table.
Star man Phillippe Coutinho is unsurprisingly talked up, his absence already felt last weekend when the side lost only their second game of the season away at Bournemouth.
Next up, again quite predictably, is Jordan Henderson. Any club should be looking towards their captain for inspiration when launching an assault on the title, and Henderson’s form this season has improved markedly, meaning he is not just key because of leadership, but playmaking too.
The former Sunderland midfielder has four assists to his name since the season began and ranks in Europe’s top five passers within the same time period. He may still have his critics, but it is doubtless that he is playing well and will be crucial should Liverpool go all the way.
That brings us to Rodgers’ third selection. If you’d already guessed that would be Lucas Leiva, congratulations; also, don’t start a managerial career any time soon, or bother buying the new Football Manager for that matter.
We would suggest that defensive rock Joel Matip – whose nonappearance due to injury last weekend against Bournemouth led to a previously airtight defence looking weaker than an anaemic kitten – has a more important part to play in the side’s fortunes.
There is also fan favourite Roberto Firmino, who has been one of the league’s top performers and who combines so effectively with Coutinho and fellow forward Sadio Mané. If only for moments like the one below, we insist he’s necessary.
Actually, we’re going to go out on a limb and suggest than any player who is actually in the club’s starting XI will have a bigger impact than Lucas. The Brazilian seems like a lovely, lovely man, but that doesn’t make Rodgers’ claim any less perplexing.
To be fair to Brendan, the quotes came in the context of those players having experience, but surely then James Milner would be the man acknowledged? The Yorkshireman did actually win two titles with Man City, after all.
With the return of Joe Gomez and rumours increasingly daily about Virgil van Dijk, it is hard to see Lucas even making many more appearances for the club. Maybe the Brazilian might even join his old boss in Glasgow, walking to a title win with perennial champions Celtic.
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