Liverpool squad for Premier League 2022: player profiles - Salah, Núñez, Díaz, Van Dijk…
The Reds made three reinforcements over the summer and will be challenging on all fronts again this season.
Liverpool were just pipped to the Premier League title last season by Manchester City. Just one point separated the two sides on the final day, City were crowned champions despite having lost more games than the Reds with both teams conceding exactly the same amount of goals. It looks like this season’s title race will be just as closely fought. City and Liverpool go into it as the two favourites and both reinforced their squads over the summer but as Jürgen Klopp adroitly pointed out ahead of his team’s Week 1 trip to Fulham so have everyone else - Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, United…
Liverpool brought in just three new players over the summer - a deal for midfielder Fabio Carvalho has already been on the table since the start of the year, right-back Calvin Ramsay was signed as an alternative to Trent Alexander-Arnold and the club was forced to move quickly to land Darwin Núñez when Sadio Mané decided not to see out the final year of his contract. The Senegalese striker was one of three members of the first team squad to bid Anfield farewell - for Divock Origi and Take Minamino, their time too had also come full circle and both moved on.
We take a quick look at how Liverpool’s squad is shaping up ahead of the new campaign.
The Brazilian enjoyed another solid season last year, and ended sharing the Golden Glove award with compatriot Ederson, both with 20 clean sheets. An abdominal injury meant he missed most of the team’s pre-season friendlies but he is now back to full fitness and should start the campaign. The last line of defence, Alisson has played a key role in Liverpool’s triumphs since he joined the club. He’ll be hoping to stay out of the casualty room - especially with the World Cup just around the corner.
Alisson’s deputy and Klopp’s Cup keeper. Solid, agile, cool and calm under pressure, the Ireland international has shown himself to be a trustworthy alternative whenever Alisson is unavailable. Kelleher nonchalantly kept his nerve to rifle in the winning penalty against Chelsea to win the EFL Carabao Cup. He too missed the pre-season and is expected to miss the first few weeks of the campaign.
At 35, Adrián is now in his final year at Anfield. With Alisson and Kelleher injured, he was called on to guard Liverpool’s goal for most of the pre-season. Good reflexes, blocking skills and experience. On occasion, he has made fans’ hearts miss a beat when trying to play it out from the back but learned his lesson the hard way and now puts the ball into the stands rather than taking any chances.
Home-grown, local hero and the first-choice at right-back. Blessed with exquisite passing skills, his precision balls into the box, set-pieces and corners are an asset to the side; he is not afraid to have a go from distance - as he showed against City in the Community Shield. His can sometimes be slow to recover his position or seemingly unaware of who is on his back but those are areas of his game he will be working on.
Youth international at every level with Scotland, Ramsay signed from his hometown club Aberdeen over the summer. Likes to get forward, will have a crack on goal if he is given space and is equally comfortable using either foot. Set-pieces and corners are his specialties so he will provide some healthy competition for the right-back slot. Klopp will be molding him into exactly the kind of player he needs in the back four.
Virgil van Dijk
Arguably one of the greatest centre-backs in world football, if not the best. The big Dutchman never panics, is always in control of what’s going on around him, a sharp reader of the game; his timing is impeccable and he is also a great leader. Gives the team extra aerial power from corners at both ends of the field - he transformed the team’s defence since the moment he arrived.
Van Dijk’s usual partner and right-hand man in central defence - the two have forged a good understanding at the back. A run of injuries stopped him from gaining consistency for a couple of seasons but he now seems to be over that. He is comfortable conducting the ball out of defence and going forward, is good in the air and can pop up with a goal or two.
Towering centre-back, Ibou joined the Reds last season and made 29 appearances in total in his debut year. He seemed to take a while to adapt to the pace of the Premier League at first but found his rhythm as the season wore on. Can sometimes be a little slow to track back when the team is hit on the break. He and Big Virg are the heavy artillery in the box when Liverpool win corners. At 1.94, he’s just the man you want on the end of high balls into the box - he ended with three goals, not bad at all for a centre-back and the first of many.
Another defender who has suffered his fair share of injury setbacks, Joe made just four league starts last season in 21 appearances overall, sometimes filling in at right-back. Was given run-outs against United, Leipzig, Salzburg and Strasbourg during the pre-season.
Liverpool’s marauding left-back - tireless and committed, Robbo gives his heart and soul in every match and is considered one of the best attacking full-backs in the business. He was the missing link on the left and made the position his own but so many matches to get through, ran the risk of exhaustion. He’s already made over 200 appearances for the Reds and won every major domestic and European honour in the game. He is also Scotland’s captain, with 59 caps at full international level.
Tsimikas was signed to share duties at left-back and ensure Robertson didn’t burn himself out. The Greek defender is favourite with the fans and offers the same dependable service as his team mate. He has improved year on year during his brief time at Anfield.
The Brazilian makes Liverpool tick as the link between defence and midfield, provides cover, dictates the tempo, takes the ball out from the back and can contribute goals, either from the penalty spot, in which he is an expert, or from open play. Has vast experience playing in other league and internationally with Brazil and has a decent disciplinary record for someone in his position.
Team captain, leading the rest by example both on and off the pitch. Always get stuck in, chips in with four to five goals per season. A seasoned international with England with 69 caps.
In two words: versatility and stamina. Millie breezed through this summer’s punishing pre-season workouts like a p[layer half his age. Joined the Reds in 2015 on a free transfer in probably the shrewdest bit of business in recent times - and he’s still going strong. At 36, he’s in his final year at Anfield and rarely plays the full 90 minutes these days but he is a rare breed in that he can play absolutely anywhere on the pitch.
Classy playmaker with a precision pass who is the connection between midfield and attack. Struggled during his first season, particularly with the pace and physicality of the England game and injury problems didn’t help. Thiago’s game seemed to go up a couple of levels when Liverpool signed Luis Diaz. Now he looks settled, comfortable being one of the team’s creative forces and like the player he was in Spain and Germany.
The Guinean midfielder is another player who is in the final 12 months of his contract. He has given glimpses of his ability but consistency has been his problem. He flitted in and out of the team with injury issues but when he is at his best, there are few better.
Local lad who came through the youth ranks with Trent Alexander-Arnold. Curtis had an explosive start with the first team, curling one past Jordan Pickford in the Third Round of the FA Cup. Since then he hasn’t really made as much of an impact as the fans had hoped for and sometimes, picks the wrong option... although he’s not short on talent, hopefully he will come into his own this season.
The Ox has not had the best of luck with injuries and faces more time on the sidelines after picking up a muscular problem against United in the first friendly of the pre-season. Has never really been the same since his knee injury against Roma four years ago, in spite of his efforts to return to being the player he was. Occasionally tests the fans patience by attempting long-range strikes. He is one of four players whose contract expire at the end of the season.
The great hope for the future. Elliot was in scintillating form at the start of last season only to see his campaign cut short with an ankle fracture injury. He has managed to overcome that and pick up from where he left off. He had made a full recovery by February but Klopp didn;t want to take any risks. He can play a supporting role for Salah, out wide or in a deep-lying position.
Electric, livewire midfielder who fits right into Klopp’s heavy metal, pinball pass-and-move style. He impressed during the pre-season and seems to know exactly what the coach wants from him and his role in the side. Fabio has only been at Anfield a couple of months but he’s settled and has ample experience of the Premier League with previous club Fulham. Comfortable with both feet and a goal scorer which Liverpool have lacked from midfield.
The Colombian only joined in the January window but looked as though he’d been at the club all his life. Dived straight into the deep end and won the fans over immediately. Torments rival defenders with his pace and trickery out on the left wing, Luis is another source of goals for the team and gives the impression that he is only going to get better.
A different player who can pull something unexpected out of the hat when you least expect. Dreamy Brazilian skills, creative and entertaining on the ball with one-touch flicks, feints and touches. Struggled to shake off a hamstring injury last season but still managed 11 goals. He too will be out of contract next summer.
After 12 months of apprehension regarding his future, Salah signed a new deal with Liverpool in the summer which has taken a lot of pressure off. His form dipped towards the end of last season but he still finished as the joint-top scorer in the Premier League on 23 goals, with Spurs’ Son Heung-min. It will be interesting to see how he and the rest of Liverpool’s frontline link up with new arrival Darwin Núñez with Mane gone. This season Salah could edge past Michael Owen (he is just one goal away) and Kenny Dalglish in the all-time club goal scorers’ ranking.
Uruguayan hitman and club record signing, bought from Benfica as a replacement for Mane. The 23-year-old impressed Liverpool, scoring in both legs when the two teams met in last season’s Champions League. He ended last season on 34 goals in 41 games in Portugal and got off the mark hitting four in the pre-season friendly against Leipzig, plus one in the Community Shield against City.
Recently committed to Liverpool until 2027, Jota’s new deal was another story to underline the feelgood factor at the club. A very sharp-minded, lively player who is mentally always an extra yard ahead of his opponents, he has fast footwork and is excellent in the air - in some ways kind of a Portuguese Robbie Fowler. His intelligence and character is appreciated in the dressing room and Klopp was full of praise for him when he gave his first press conference of the new season ahead of the Fulham game. Unfortunately, Jota missed the pre-season and is estimated to be sidelined for a few more weeks.