The 2022-2023 season was one of the hardest years for Jurgen Klopp’s Reds. Premier League and Champions League winners were the aspirations at the beginning, yet at the end, those aspirations turned into fighting for the Europa League. Changes were made, especially in midfield.
The rebuild was real. Fabinho joined Saudi Arabian side Al Ittihad for £40 million. The Red’s paid £43.7 million for the Brazilian. That was tremendous business for a player who was aging fast towards the end of the season.
The Skipper, Jordan Henderson, joined Steven Gerrard’s, Al Ettifaq for $14 million. He left a legendary level of success behind.
James Milner and Naby Keita left on free transfers to Brighton and Werder Bremen. Liverpool’s midfield was changing right in front of our eyes.
Every great Liverpool team has dominated the midfield. Klopp is attempting to build his newest midfield to take the club into the future.
Here is a recap of the arrivals:
Dominik Szoboszlai: £60m from RB Leipzig
Alexis Mac Allister: £35m from Brighton
Wataru Endo: £15.4m from VFB Stuttgart
Ryan Gravenberch: €40m from Bayern Munich
Under Klopp, possession and work rate are the most important qualities for a midfielder. After Matchday 1 at Chelsea, they have held the possession advantage in every match bar the 10 man win over Newcastle.
Their average possession of 55% is sixth in the Premier League. Without a natural Defensive Midfielder, Alexis Mac Allister has played the defensive role as well as he can. A natural attacking midfielder, he has rarely put a foot wrong.
They only have 1 clean sheet yet they have conceded 8 goals which is 3 less than Manchester City.
With the purchase of Gravenberch from Bayern, they have a player who can defend and attack. His positional versatility is something the club is eager to exploit.
Let’s take a look at how things are going for the new look midfield.
Szoboszlai has been the best Liverpool midfielder to date. He won the Liverpool Player of the Month award. He is third on the team with 13 chances created and has notched 2 goals.
He has a 78% success rate for tackles won and his 88% accurate pass rate makes him an elite midfielder. As Jude Bellingham chose Real Madrid over Liverpool, Szoboszlai is playing on Bellingham’s level for the Reds so far.
Alexis Mac Allister:
It was tremendous business by the club to get a world class midfielder for only £35 million. As mentioned, he is playing in a deeper role for Liverpool than expected, but he is doing just fine.
A patient and controlled midfielder, the game is never too quick for Mac Allister. In his most recent cameo, he played a lot more attacking, notching an assist to Darwin Nunez.
With Trent Alexander-Arnold on his way back, Mac Allister can ideally play more offensively.
The scouser has been exceptional in his 5 matches this term. Jones has a 95% passing accuracy rate so far, which is sublime and incredible. He is the perfect midfielder for a Jurgen Klopp team.
He rarely loses the ball and is versatile enough to play defensively as well. The homegrown kid’s IQ is off the charts and him playing left center-mid next to Mac Allister and Szoboszlai may very well be the future of the Reds.
Harvey Elliot and Ryan Gravenberch:
The 20 and 21-year olds have shown flashes of what they can do around the midfield. Elliott’s energy and passion for Liverpool is shown every time he steps on the pitch.
Gravenberch is 6’3 and supremely strong around the halfway line. Offensively he has been impressive with 2 assists in 3 matches. The Netherlands man is the future No. 6 for Liverpool.
Endo and Stefan Bajectic: Liverpool signed Wataru Endo for €18 million from Stuttgart. It seemed like a panic move after they lost out on Romeo Lavia and Moises Caicedo to Chelsea.
Endo seems slow footed and too small against Premier League level midfielders. A 38% ground duel rate is below average.
The young Spaniard Bajcetic is in a very difficult spot. Liverpool have 5 midfielders under 25 that play for the first team. He will have trouble getting game time after a very good spell in 2022-2023.
Klopp has tested him out at Right-Back behind Alexander-Arnold and Gomez, but he seems not as comfortable there.
In his Bayern Munich days, there wasn’t a more technically gifted midfielder in the world. Yet, his spell in red has been up and down. Injuries have derailed his time in Northern England.
This season, he has not featured due to injury and the rumors of him leaving have been grown. There’s still some hope for the future as a Szoboszlai-Mac Allister-Thiago midfield is World class.
The only question is, can he stay healthy?
Following a strong start to the campaign, Liverpool needs to continue growing. Anfield has been rocking and their true first test is this weekend against high-flying Tottenham.
Jones and Szoboszlai showed a good chemistry against West Ham that created a handful of chances.
If Liverpool can get Thiago back and healthy, the depth is there and they have a world class midfield group. With Mac Allister being 24 and Szoboszlai 22, they have their 2 attacking midfielders for the future. The future is bright in Liverpool. Klopp has the city back at the top.