Christmas Feature: Top 10 Liverpool players for 2019 (Part 2)
As Liverpool visit the King Power today, in a bid to put a premature end to Leicester City's title hopes, it seems fitting that our top 5 contains perhaps our five most important players.
At least by the standards set by them throughout 2019. Each of these players would've easily deserved their place at number 1 but, ultimately, the top 3 all set themselves apart in one way or another during the year.
On to part 2...
5. Andy Robertson - It was - quite literally - a toss up between Robbo and Trent for who finished 5th and who 4th, but in the end the young Scouser won out.
But there's literally nothing between the two, other than a handful more assists in Trent's favour. For Andy though it's been the best year of his career.
From Queen's Park to Liverpool, via Dundee and Hull, the Scotland international became the Scottish captain this year. Became the first Scot to win the Champions League in years and ended the year as unarguably the best left-back in world football.
He also emerged as perhaps the biggest, and best, shithouse (or arl arse) in world football. With incidents against Barcelona, where he wound up the formerly best shithout in world football for 180 minutes, Luis Suarez. He also managed to get Messi angry, for fuck's sake!
It wasn't just this though, Robbo simply epitomises everything about Klopp's style of football. He's a hard worker, an intelligent player, with no little quality, and he never stops running. Liverpool are always great when we have a Scot in the team. We have one again.
4. Trent Alexander-Arnold - 'Corner taken quickly... Origi!' is the one moment that Trent will be most remembered for in 2019, rightly so. But he has achieved so much more, in all truth.
He turned 21 two months ago and has already played over 100 times for Liverpool. Less than six months ago he became the youngest ever Scouser to lift the European Cup.
And he may not have become the captain of his country just yet, but he's already being recognised as England's finest full-back at the present time, despite only (ridiculously) being awarded 9 caps.
But Reds will care not a jot, as it's his performances and form for Liverpool that matters and in the year of 2019, he has been nothing short of phenomenal for one so young.
On a purely personal level in 2019, he was nominated for the Ballon d'Or, was 3rd in the UEFA Champions League defender of the season, whilst being in the Champions League and PFA squad/team of the season. All before turning 21 years of age.
3. Alisson Becker - To be perfectly honest with you, when Alisson signed from Roma last summer, I wasn't overly impressed.
I was delighted we'd been forthright and spent a fortune on a goalkeeper. It was something we needed and had done since Pepe Reina was criminally sold by Rodgers.
But he has proven me, and no doubt many others, very wrong. He signed with a reputation as the Brazil number one, one of the best in the Serie A but the fact we'd put 5 past him at Anfield was a huge mark against him, sadly.
He has just had the best season, and best 2019, of any goalkeeper in recent memory though, providing some ridiculous stats, trophy hauls and personal accolades.
At once, he combines athleticism, agility, command of his area, incredible distribution and passing and an innate sense of what's required of him. Either in, or outside, his area.
On a more personal level, his year got even better, as he was awarded best keeper in the world by FIFA, placed in the best FIFA 11, the best Champions League 11, Champions League goalkeeper of the season, the inaugral Yashin trophy.
He kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League and the Copa America, winning the Golden Glove in both competitions. It was an epic year for the 27 year old, in every sense of the word.
Clean Sheets: 19
2. Virgil Van Dijk - Deciding not to put big Virg in at number one was a tough choice, believe me.
The man that should've won the Ballon d'Or for his 2018-19 season will feel hard done by once again but it's probably for good reason, on this occasion.
Van Dijk was the best defender in the Premier League in 2018, hands down. People still largely mocked the fee, but we knew it was a relative bargain by this time last year.
But in 2019, he took the footballing art of defending to levels we'd not seen since the time of Maldini. That is literally how good he is/was.
His levels have slipped somewhat so far this season, but he's still better than anyone else in Europe and that, quite simply, is a fact.
He captains his country, he's one of Liverpool leaders, and he's now a European and World Champion. Should we win the Premier League this season, a lot of it will be down to how much he has changed our defence since he arrived in January 2018.
Like Alisson, it's been a ridiculous year on a personal level too, as Van Dijk missed out on the Ballon d'Or by a few votes.
But he also took home the UEFA, PFA, Premier League and FSF Player of the Season awards. Along with being in the PFA and UEFA teams of the year and defender of the year.
1. Sadio Mane - How has Sadio Mane been our best player of 2019? Well, in answer to that, I'll say: just watch him today.
When we first signed Mane from Southampton, there was a lot of mocking from rival fans. There was grumbles from our own fans, after it felt like we'd had to settle for him after Mario Gotze opted to turn us down.
His first game against Arsenal, he scored a worldie and has rarely looked back since. Whilst the likes of Mo Salah and Virgil Van Dijk are - rightly - recognised as the best in the world, they still have off days.
Sadio Mane doesn't do off days. Sadio is always our hardest working, most important player. He regularly scores pulls an assist out of nothing, when his more illustrious team mates are under-performing.
It's why he is usually always in the starting 11, even when Jurgen feels it necessary to rest the likes of Firmino and Salah.
Simply put: without Mane, Liverpool just aren't the same. We could say that about most of our starting 11, but in his case, it's scarily true. The thought of him suffering a long-term injury is terrifying, quite frankly.
His personal acclaim, long over-due, is finally coming though and has steadily gained pace in 2019. To the point where even Messi admitted to voting for him for the Ballon d'Or. He's also being talked up as the early front-runner for the Player of the Season awards.
Again, like Alisson and Van Dijk, it's been a good personal year too with Mane being placed in PFA, UEFA Champions League and CAF teams of the season. He also placed 4th in the Ballon d'Or. This year has truly been Mane's breakout year on the world stage.