Power Ranking Every Player for Liverpool in 2017/18 Season So Far

Rob Lancaster@RobLancs79Featured ColumnistOctober 5, 2017

Philippe Coutinho has cause to celebrate our rankings. Dejan Lovren? Not so much...
Philippe Coutinho has cause to celebrate our rankings. Dejan Lovren? Not so much...Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

As the majority of Liverpool's first-team squad take a break from club duties to represent their countries around the world, the time feels right to evaluate what's happened so far this season.

How you view the campaign to date may depend on your general outlook on life.

If you're a glass-half-full type, Jurgen Klopp's squad have lost just twice (and one of those was a Carabao Cup tie), sit only one point outside the Premier League's top four and are unbeaten in the UEFA Champions League.

If you're the pessimistic sort, however, they have won just once in their last seven outings, are still conceding soft goals and, worryingly, have developed a nasty habit of spurning scoring chances.

The temporary stoppage in the season due to the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers could be a blessing. Klopp now has breathing space to assess his players, tweak tactics and find a formula to turn frustrating draws into wins.

Read on for Bleacher Report's appraisal of the squad. That's right—it's our first power rankings of 2017/18.

Note: Only players who have registered an appearanceas a starter or a substitutein the Premier League or Champions League made the list. Therefore, cup specialists Jon Flanagan, Danny Ings, Danny Ward and Ben Woodburn are missing. So, too, is Divock Origi, who is now on loan at Wolfsburg.

                        

The Cellar-Dwellers

21. Marko Grujic

Aside from starting the League Cup defeat to Leicester City, Grujic has managed seven first-team minutes. There was a late substitute appearance at Hoffenheim and a slightly longer cameo off the bench in the 4-0 home win over Arsenal (he played six whole minutes).

"I hope that I'll get the chance to start more games," the Serb told Andy Kelly of the Liverpool Echo.

At least Grujic is looking on the bright side, but opportunities will be fleeting unless there's an injury crisis.

                  

20. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

So far, the £40 million signing from Arsenal has yet to get going at Anfield. A regular off the bench in the Premier League, Oxlade-Chamberlain has played all of one minute in Europe for his new club.

The England international wasn't signed with a short-term plan in mind. Yet, a month after his move to Anfield, it still remains a bit of a mystery where he fits in at Liverpool.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has failed to hit the ground running with the Reds.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has failed to hit the ground running with the Reds.Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

               

19. Loris Karius

Klopp's faith in Karius still seems misguided. The German goalkeeper barely had anything to do when handed a surprise start against Arsenal, yet he still made it an ordeal every time he had the ball at his feet.

His failure to keep out Fernando's free-kick in the 1-1 draw with Spartak Moscow in the Champions League led to further criticism. It would be kind to say the jury is still out on the signing from Mainz 05—many supporters have already made up their minds about the 24-year-old.

                

18. Ragnar Klavan

Klavan has perhaps played more than expected due to Dejan Lovren's fitness problems (more on that to come). He's had a win, a draw and a heavy loss in his three Premier League starts so far.

However, the 5-0 reverse against Manchester City demonstrated why the Estonian is one place too high in the centre-back pecking order.

Slow of foot and unable to cope with the quality he was up against, Klavan looked out of his depth. It's not his fault Klopp didn't sign another centre-back in the summer, though.

            

17. Andrew Robertson

After a bright league debut against Crystal Palace, Robertson has become the forgotten man at Anfield. He played well in the League Cup at Leicester, yet he hasn't even made the bench for the last two league games.

The Scottish left-back is playing second fiddle to the resurgent Alberto Moreno, but it is still too early to judge him after his transfer from Hull City. His crossing abilities look an asset.

             

16. Dejan Lovren

Lovren revealed the extent of his physical issues in an interview with Croatian newspaper Sportske Novosti (h/t the Observer): "I have problems with my whole body for the last two weeks, my back and now I have hurt my Achilles tendon."

Liverpool fans may feel medication would be beneficial when the centre-back is in action. He's painful to watch at times.

So often the scapegoat for the team's defensive problems, Lovren is always just one tiny mistake away from starting a meltdown on social media.

            

Stuck in the Pack

15. Dominic Solanke

Solanke wasn't signed with the idea of becoming an immediate starter. He has at least had more of a look-in at Liverpool than he enjoyed during his time at Chelsea, coming on as a sub in four Premier League fixtures.

He's yet to grab his first goal for the club, but that's not due to a lack of effort. The striker's livelier cameos could lead to greater opportunities down the line—it wouldn't be surprising if he moved up these rankings by the next time they're updated.

           

14. Daniel Sturridge

After a delayed start due to injury (whodda thunk it, eh?), Sturridge has had to be patient. Crucially, though, when chances have come his way, he's failed to grasp them. 

Injuries appear to have left a shell of the player who prospered under Brendan Rodgers in 2013/14.

"I think whenever we talk about Sturridge, we keep going back to that season when Liverpool nearly won the league and he was devastating with Suarez. We keep thinking that player is there. I'm not quite sure it is—well, I don't think it is," former Red Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports after the draw with Newcastle United on Sunday.

                

13. Joe Gomez

More at home playing in the centre of defence, Gomez has had his ups and down at right-back this season. In comparison to his rivals for the position, he doesn't pose the same threat when pushing forward.

However, he's also had some iffy moments defensively, most notably against Sevilla when, caught out by an opponent running in behind him, he picked up a careless second yellow card to leave his team with 10 men. Still, he's played more than he expected in the early months of the campaign.

              

12. Joel Matip

Is Matip any good or just the best of a bad bunch at the back? The Cameroonian continues to be part of a porous defence and is fortunate at times that Lovren is around to take most of the flak.

Matip has played every minute for Liverpool in the league and Europe—and yet he still cannot crack our top 10. That speaks volumes about his performances. In summary: Must do better.

           

11. James Milner

James Milner: No longer a left-back, now just an afterthought in central midfield.
James Milner: No longer a left-back, now just an afterthought in central midfield.Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

No longer Liverpool's auxiliary left-back, Milner is now stuck down the midfield pecking order, hardly a position a 31-year-old, two-time Premier League champion wants to be at this stage of his career.

However, the former England international didn't let Klopp down in starts against Crystal Palace and Burnley, plus he helped hold on to a lead at Leicester City.

                  

The Top 10

10. Georginio Wijnaldum

Wijnaldum's form tends to mirror that of the team as a whole. Simply fantastic in the 4-0 triumph over Arsenal, he too often goes missing when the going gets tough, allowing games to pass him by.

Still waiting for his first away goal since moving to the Premier League, Wijnaldum must shed those passive performances, because he's clearly talented.

With Naby Keita on his way to Anfield next year, the Dutchman needs to show he belongs at one of the top clubs.

                   

9. Simon Mignolet

Stuck in a rather odd timeshare with Karius and Ward for first-team minutes, Mignolet still appears to be Klopp's No. 1. Well, in the Premier League at least.

The Belgian has shipped 12 goals behind a back four that succumbs like a sandcastle when the tide comes in. They weren't all his fault and, bar a dodgy day at Leicester, the goalkeeper has been solid enough.

                    

8. Trent Alexander-Arnold

One man's misfortune is another's man's opportunity. With right-back Nathaniel Clyne sidelined through injury, Alexander-Arnold has stepped in admirably to fill the void at the start of the season.

The 18-year-old scored a stunning free-kick at Hoffenheim, and his corners suddenly made Liverpool look threatening from set-piece situations again.

However, Klopp is rightly picking and choosing when to play the latest youngster to come off the academy's production line.

Congratulations if you predicted these two would be Liverpool's full-backs at the start of the season.
Congratulations if you predicted these two would be Liverpool's full-backs at the start of the season.Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

               

7. Emre Can

While the issue of his expiring contract remains, Can just has to focus on doing all he can on the field to justify a bumper new deal.

The clock is ticking, though, and Anfield legend John Barnes believes Liverpool shouldn't be held to ransom by a player who was on the periphery of the first-team squad not too long ago.

"It's all very well saying, 'Give him what he wants to stay or he's going to go to Real Madrid, Barcelona'," Barnes told James Cambridge of the Daily Express. "But that's not going to happen. They don't want Emre Can."

Ouch. Liverpool should want to keep Can—provided the price is right.

                  

6. Roberto Firmino

While his form has dipped of late (so much so that he was dropped for Sturridge at Newcastle), Firmino ranks this highly because of his first-class performance in the home leg against Hoffenheim.

Up against his former club at Anfield, the Brazilian forward scored once and set up another to help secure a place in the Champions League group stage. He was almost as good against Arsenal four days later, too.

Since then, however, he's struggled to hit the same heights. Firmino is still the best option to play as the central focal point in Klopp's front three, but he needs to find some middle ground between the impressive highs and the disappointing lows.

              

The Famous Five

5. Jordan Henderson

Captain Jordan Henderson led from the front in the 3-2 league win over Leicester City.
Captain Jordan Henderson led from the front in the 3-2 league win over Leicester City.KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/Getty Images

Liverpool's captain endured a slow start to the campaign, hardly surprising after a long layoff. Henderson has looked far sharper in recent weeks, though, putting in impressive displays at Leicester and in Moscow against Spartak.

His goal against the Foxes perhaps demonstrated how the midfielder is better utilised further forward, rather than deployed in a typical No. 6 role that requires him to sit deeper and work as a defensive shield.

                     

4. Alberto Moreno

This is possibly the greatest comeback since Lazarus. Moreno has gone from regular benchwarmer to Liverpool's starting left-back.

Not many thought the Spaniard would survive the summer, but he's now played 810 minutes of first-team football this season (he finished the last campaign with a grand total of 835).

The old deficiencies still show up occasionally—he's reckless in the tackle and prone to falling asleep positionally—yet the 25-year-old deserves high praise for his renaissance with the Reds.

           

3. Sadio Mane

Mane might seem high at No. 3, yet it is easy to forget he was voted the Premier League's player of the month for August. The fleet-footed forward started the season with three goals in as many league games, despite switching wings to accommodate the arrival of Mohamed Salah.

However, everything changed after the last international break. Mane hasn't been the same player since his red card against Manchester City, albeit not helped by his hit-and-miss availability due to suspension.

                  

2. Mohamed Salah

Salah has quickly set about repaying Liverpool's sizeable outlay to AS Roma in the summer, scoring six goals and providing two assists in 11 appearances.

"What was it, £38 million? I can never say a fee like this was cheap. But he's a very good player, one we were convinced about. That's why we did it," Klopp said of the Egyptian, per Mark Critchley of The Independent.

The winger could have topped this list had his finishing been a little sharper in August and September. Still, his pace and willingness to make dangerous runs off the right flank make him a huge asset for the Reds.

                   

1. Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho has forgotten about playing Barcelona...for now at least.
Philippe Coutinho has forgotten about playing Barcelona...for now at least.Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

There were concerns about Coutinho's state of mind after his failed summer switch to Barcelona. Fans didn't need to worry—the Brazilian has rebuilt bridges by showing his commitment to the cause.

"I'm here to defend the colours, to give my maximum," the influential playmaker said after finding the net against Spartak Moscow, per Sky Sports.

Mane is scintillating at his peak, and Salah looks a superb addition. However, Coutinho—who scored a trademark stunner against Newcastle on Sunday—remains Liverpool's main man.

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