Liverpool's four most important players for the rest of the season

Who will play a key role down the stretch of this season?

Liverpool FC v LASK: Group E - UEFA Europa League 2023/24
Liverpool FC v LASK: Group E - UEFA Europa League 2023/24 / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

The next several months are shaping up to demand much of this Liverpool squad. The Reds have reached the League Cup final at Wembley, are favorites to advance further into the F.A. Cup and Europa League, and sit top of the league ahead of what they can expect to be another exhausting title race against Manchester City. 

It’s a testament to the depth and tenacity of Liverpool’s squad that it remains in the running for all four trophies despite numerous injuries to first-team players as well as the departures of Mohamed Salah and Wataru Endo for mid-season international duty.

However, while Klopp’s side have managed well despite absences to key players at times, it will need to keep a core set of names available in order to sustain its challenge for a quadruple. As the final stretch of the season dawns, these four players will prove the most crucial to the remainder of the Reds’ campaign:

4. Trent Alexander-Arnold

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s package is quite distinctive among right backs, as his passing range, creativity, and expertise from set-pieces set him apart as one of if not the best right back on the planet.

After he endured a difficult last campaign, the right-back has rediscovered his best form, assumed greater leadership of the squad as vice captain and grown into a more versatile role in his side. 

In his traditional role at right-back, his commitment to offering support in the final third has seen him amplify Liverpool’s threat in the right-channel and set the record for most assists in the history of the Premier League for a defender, which he currently shares with his teammate Andy Robertson. There will be plenty more of those to come throughout his career. 

However, Alexander-Arnold’s exceptional quality on the ball also offers Klopp additional methods of wielding his skillset. The 25-year-old has proven adept in a hybrid role of midfield and right-back and that has given Liverpool greater command in the middle of the park.

At times, Klopp has fully transitioned him to the midfield, where he has consistently been a source of creativity for the players in front of him.

In addition to what Alexander-Arnold can offer on the ball, his ability to deliver in multiple positions will provide Klopp with greater flexibility to rotate in multiple positions. Those will prove valuable assets for the remainder of the season. 

3. Virgil Van Dijk

Much like Alexander-Arnold, last season was one to forget for Liverpool’s towering center back. And much like Alexander-Arnold, Virgil Van Dijk has returned to his best since he took on the captaincy last summer. 

Last weekend’s horror show against Arsenal aside, Van Dijk's leadership and solidity at the back have been integral to his side’s challenges this campaign.

Liverpool have conceded the joint fewest goals in the Premier League with Arsenal thus far in large part because of the Dutchman’s ability to organize his back line, aerial dominance and positioning have all kept Liverpool’s defensive end secure.

Crucially, his presence at the back also boosts Liverpool going forward as it affords Alexander-Arnold the license to support his side in the final third. 

Van Dijk's arrival at Liverpool in 2018 almost single-handedly transformed the Reds’ shaky backline into the most fortified in the world and proved a major catalyst for the immense success he’s achieved in Merseyside. Six years later, that continues to be the case at Anfield.  

2. Alisson Becker

While Van Dijk has played a massive role in Liverpool’s strong defensive record this season, the Reds also owe much to their goalkeeper, who has bailed them out repeatedly this season.

Alisson’s heroics have won his side points since the early days of the campaign, when his magnificent save to deny Miguel Almiron kept Liverpool from going two goals down against Newcastle before it snatched an unlikely victory with two late strikes. That moment was an indicator of what has come since.

 While Caoimhin Kelleher has proven a reliable backup, there are few keepers in the world who can safeguard Liverpool’s net as well as the Brazilian. His performance in goal throughout the upcoming months will be decisive in Liverpool’s push for silverware. 

1. Mohamed Salah

As has been the case for the entirety of his Liverpool career, Mohamed Salah continues to be his side’s most productive player going forward. His 22 goal contributions in 20 league matches (14 goals and eight assists) have spearheaded the Reds charge for the title and underscores the enormity of his value to the club. 

Even when opponents have kept him quiet, Salah has proven himself capable of producing moments of individual brilliance to alter the course of matches, as he did with a superb assist for Darwin Nunez’s winner against Newcastle and his equalizer against Arsenal at Anfield.

Liverpool missed his spark dearly in the reverse fixture with the Gunners last weekend, when it managed a meager one shot on target in a 3-1 defeat. 

Liverpool turned down Saudi club Al-Ittihad’s offer of over £150 million for the winger last summer. If it goes on to win the league in Klopp’s final season at Anfield, that decision will have paid off more than any sum of money ever could. 

Honorable mentions

Darwin Nunez 

While Nunez’s failure to put away simple chances can be infuriating, the Uruguayan still offers many qualities to Klopp’s side.

His relentless work rate, aerial prowess and strong hold up play have all proven massive advantages from which whoever plays wide of him has benefited.

Even if he has not produced anywhere near the tally of goals as he did at Benfica, he has managed a respectable return of 11 goals and 11 assists in all competitions, the first player in the Premier League to attain those figures. Notably, Liverpool have suffered their only four defeats this season when Nunez did not start. 

Joe Gomez

The numerous injuries and suspensions for Liverpool’s defenders have seen Gomez fill in at every position across the back line and he has risen to the occasion.

At center back, he kept the Reds secure in the defensive third when Ibou Konate or Van Dijk were unavailable. At left back, he has been so sound while Andy Robertson recovered from injury that he could well keep his starting place there for the next few weeks.

His reliability as a right back also benefits Liverpool further up the pitch as it permits Klopp to field Alexander-Arnold more centrally as a creative outlet in the midfield. 

Gomez is the only player in this squad who Klopp can trust anywhere in Liverpool’s back four. That will certainly come in handy through the remainder of the season.