by Michael Bisset (@MJBisset_96)
Supporting Liverpool’s like a roller-coaster – fast-paced, exhilarating, unpredictable, Helta-Skelta. From winning the magnificent “cup treble” in 2001 (my first memory) to finishing a season trophyless and a mediocre 8th in 2016, it never ceases to amaze you or, conversely, disappoint you. So with all these disparate experiences in mind, picking my dream squad of the 21st century should be a lot of fun.
Here is the best LFC squad in a millenial’s lifetime…
The brilliant Brazilian is an easy choice. Finding a reliable keeper has been tricky in the past. Big Ali has kept 34 clean sheets in 65 games, regularly coming to the team’s rescue. He’s thus an imperative cog in a mouthwatering dream line-up.Embed from Getty Images
The second option picks itself really as Pepe Reina is a more than capable deputy. Three consecutive Golden Gloves speaks for itself really. Jerzy Dudek is third choice. His heroic performance in Istanbul means he’s a shoo-in.
Despite being a 21-year old and only breaking into the side in 2017, he is already a legend in my eyes. He’ll undoubtedly break many assist records in the months and years to come. As a result, he takes charge of the right side of my defence.Embed from Getty Images
One of my heroes growing up. Carragher and Liverpool inextricably intertwine. His influence on the club is similar to that of Steven Gerrard. It would have been great to see him in a back four alongside Virgil van Dijk!Embed from Getty Images
Virgil van Dijk
To the left of Carra is arguably the best defender of his generation. I have no superlatives for the great Dutch centre-back. In brief, good luck getting passed this pairing.Embed from Getty Images
The “Flying Scotsman” operates on the opposite flank. A super footballer with an exceptional mentality. By far the best left-sided defender in my time as a Liverpool supporter. He is excellent defensively and has an eye for an assist. His chemistry with Trent is a major reason for why Liverpool are, currently, champions of just about everything.Embed from Getty Images
Steve Finnan and John Arne Riise provide plenty of depth. Obviously, it is difficult to overlook Alvaro Arbeloa, but I feel like the pair I have chosen are pretty capable.
My reserve centre backs are pretty exceptional too. Firstly, Sami Hyypiä was more than useful wasn’t he? If you need a goal late on, there are worse options than throwing the big Finn on and hoping he nets a cracker like the one against Juve in the 2005 Champions League. The fourth choice is Joe Gomez: England’s best centre back and a man with the potential to write his name into club folklore.
The Brazilian “lighthouse” – as Pep Lijnders calls him – forms the foundation for what could be the greatest midfield ever seen in the Premier League (well, in my eyes). I firmly believe that he was the final piece of the Klopp jigsaw. Despite a noticeable slump in form following injury this season, his ability to shield the back four whilst exuding calmness and confidence, is something we’ve not seen at Anfield since the days of Javier Mascherano. But, guess what, Fab’s even better!Embed from Getty Images
An icon. A passing metronome who played with passion and grit whenever donning the famous Liverbird. He’d spray balls out to the fullbacks all day long whilst creating counter-attacking opportunities for the fearsome front three. An absolutely phenomenal footballer – so pleased to have watched him play.Embed from Getty Images
Steven Gerrard (C)
The greatest Liverpool player of all-time? I think so. Controversial, but I don’t think that anyone could have begrudged him a move away from Anfield – but he never left. I grew up watching him dominate midfield’s across Europe so, like Van Dijk, he’s a shoo-in. He’d also be my captain. However, I do believe that Jordan Henderson’s a more natural leader, but as Hendo’s on my bench, Stevie takes the armband.Embed from Getty Images
Henderson and James Milner are in here without a doubt; leadership, consistency, intensity and vigour aplenty, so it would be silly to leave either out. Sixth choice is a tricky one. Javier Mascherano was a top draw footballer, but he left when we needed him most. Thus, the vacant slot goes to Gini Wijnaldum. I feel that most people understate just how brilliant he is – he is a big-game player and his strength and stamina are two attributes invaluable to a successful modern midfield.
The Egyptian King has made 108 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, making 101 goal contributions. His extraordinary output is often overlooked by football supporters. However, nobody can question his value to Klopp’s Champions. I knew that he would be a fantastic signing when rumours circulated back in 2017, but wow – pacey, direct and desperate to contribute with goals or assists. Three seasons on and he is already a club legend.Embed from Getty Images
The system. The man who makes Klopp’s current crop tick and arguably my favourite Liverpool player (although I have eleven or twelve of those in fairness). Bobby is criticised for his lack of goals and, in some ways, I agree with that because he is a dazzling footballer who is more capable in front of goal than his stats suggest. Having said that, his ability to play in small pockets of space and expose defences is a thing of beauty. He presses relentlessly and so his value is frightening.Embed from Getty Images
The man who initiated the ‘Klopp revolution.’ Once he scored that cracker against Arsenal on the opening day of the 2016/17 season, he’s an instant cult hero. Couple his work rate with his desire to improve and you have one of the best players on the planet. He scores important goals and does all of it with a smile on his face. I love him.Embed from Getty Images
Probably the area of the squad that is most likely to spark debate. Luis Suárez, Fernando Torres and Philippe Coutinho are my reserve front three. Suárez was a phenomenal footballer who did things most believed were impossible. If this side were lining up against a Norwich City for obvious reasons, the Uruguayan would be a starter!
Torres gets the nod as he was the world’s best number nine in his peak years – 2007 – 2009. In fact, I would go as far as to say that he is the most lethal finisher in this 23. Finally, I would rotate Coutinho on the left-wing – he can also play as a number 10 so he would be invaluable against low block defences. Raheem Sterling deserves a shout but his best performances have been in a City shirt so that settles that.