Liverpool has probably their best roster under Jurgen Klopp as they prepare to play European champions, Chelsea, in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday.
Even if Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are ruled out due to injury, Klopp still has enticing choices, which is a huge difference between this squad and others since he took over at Anfield in 2015.
Apart from the goalkeeping position, which now has high-caliber cover, Klopp’s starting XI is no longer predictable across the rest of the team. It’s a dramatic contrast to the previous season when injuries decimated the Reds.
A squad capable of posing a threat from every angle.
On Sunday, when Liverpool plays Chelsea at Wembley, that enhanced squad depth will be on display.
The probable absences of Jota and Firmino will be easily covered, and there will be fierce rivalry for starting positions – and even substitute spots.
Liverpool have been gifted with an almost fully-fit squad, with England centre-back Joe Gomez and Japan striker Takumi Minamino failing to make the bench in recent games.
Klopp stated earlier this month, “We have no doubts about the quality of our group.” “We’ve got a good group if they’re all fit.”
“Of course, we have to utilize it, but they’ve never all been fit.” We’re in a new circumstance now. This is the first time I’ve seen anything like it. We’ve never had the entire squad accessible at the same time before.”
Liverpool’s attacking options have been curtailed due to the injuries to Jota and Firmino, but they are still able to choose a frightening front three after signing Luis Diaz in January, who has made an immediate impact.
Last Saturday, Salah and Mane, as well as Diaz, lined up against Norwich City, while Minamino, cult hero Divock Origi, and the flexible Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – who has made a much bigger impression this season – provide more options.
Former England goalkeeper Rob Green stated he “can’t recall the last time Liverpool had such depth in their team,” while Carlton Cole, an ex-Premier League attacker, called it a “unbelievable roster.”
When Liverpool went to the San Siro for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 series against Inter Milan, Diaz, Firmino, regular center-back Joel Matip, and captain Jordan Henderson were all on the bench.
During that time, Minamino, Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Curtis Jones all stepped up, contributing significantly as Liverpool’s season progressed in the league and cup competitions.
Caoimhin Kelleher, a promising young Republic of Ireland goalkeeper, has performed in the cup competitions, allowing Klopp to rest Alisson – if not yet challenge him as his first-choice keeper. When Andy Robertson went down with an injury, Greece’s Kostas Tsimikas stepped in and did an excellent job.
Former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock stated that the Reds “want to have a bench like Manchester City” and that smart recruitment has brought them near to that goal.
“Perhaps Liverpool’s difficulty in the past was a lack of depth,” he speculated. “For a long time, their front three didn’t change, and while they were fantastic, they didn’t have the luxury of resting players.”
“Manchester City’s strength has always been their squad and the variety of alternatives available to them.” Liverpool is on their way to achieving that goal.
“This is without a doubt Klopp’s best team to date.” They have a group that can compete on every level.”
New Signings are always on point.
The continuous astute business in the transfer market is largely responsible for Liverpool’s improved squad.
While Trent Alexander-Arnold, Henderson, and Firmino have all grown under Klopp, as has Adam Lallana during his tenure at Anfield, the newcomers have propelled Liverpool to new heights.
Liverpool’s transfer committee used to be criticized, but today their purchases are almost always on target. Michael Edwards, the club’s sporting director, will be difficult to replace when he leaves the club this summer.
“One of the arts of great management is the ability to buy a player and make him look like he’s been playing for you for years,” Ian Kennedy of BBC Radio Merseyside explained.
“With Luis Diaz, Klopp seems to have done it again. He has a lot of terrific running ability, quick feet, doesn’t give the ball away easily, and even enjoys tackling.
“Jota is another example of a player who was brought in by Klopp and made an immediate impact, just like Salah, Mane, Van Dijk, and so on.”
“Diaz fit right in with the team like he’d been there all along,” Green continued.
In his brief Premier League career, the winger has already assisted and scored – in a 3-1 win over Norwich.
Jota, who had previously gone unnoticed at Wolverhampton Wanderers, is now the league’s second-highest scorer with 12 goals in 23 matches, trailing only Salah (19).
Liverpool’s own Phil Foden
The club’s capacity to plan for the future is also a key in their current healthy status.
Alexander-Arnold and Jones, both academy graduates, have established themselves as first-team players, with the right-back probably one of Liverpool’s most important players, and teenage midfielder Harvey Elliott appears destined to follow in their footsteps.
After recovering from a catastrophic ankle injury in September, the 18-year-old, who was purchased from Fulham in 2019, has already made an impact at the San Siro this season.