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  • David Tyrer

Player Ratings: Liverpool squad 2018-19 season (Part 4)

To the fourth and final part of this look at how our players have performed throughout the 2018-19 season and it brings us to the rest of the lads that make things tick up front.

Here we go to part 4:

Xherdan Shaqiri - 7

By the time the player that would go on to be affectionately named 'Shaq' signed for Liverpool last summer, there were only a handful of Reds arguing the toss about whether the £13.5 million fee was worth the risk.

Shaqiri came with something of a reputation for being a slight prima donna. He had upset the Bayern Munich dressing room when he wasn't playing regularly and wasn't happy with some of the dross he was playing with during Stoke's relegation year.

But alll we've seen from Shaqiri in the past 12 months is unbridled joy at playing for a genuinely big club again, and a propensity for increasing levels of hard work that he wasn't previously used to.

Admittedly, his first 4-5 months were better than his second half to the season, as his appearances tailed off in the last few months. But there's no doubting his ability to have an impact.

In the end, it was something of a mixed bag. But at such a small cost, the return of 6 goals (2 in that memorable Anfield win against Man Utd) and 5 assists in 30 appearances, just 14 of which were starts, isn't anything to grumble at.

Daniel Sturridge - 7

He won't ever be remembered as a legend, and he probably won't appear in the future versions of '100 Players Who Shook the Kop', but most modern Liverpool fans will always have great memories and a huge amount of respect for Daniel Sturridge.

So it seems almost fitting that the 29-year old got through most of last season without a serious injury and managed to appear 27 times. He scored 4 goals and got a couple of assists, with his goal against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge an absolute beaut.

But most fitting of all was that the striker left Anfield as a Champions League winner and was wished well in whatever he does going forward by the club and fans alike.

Roberto Firmino - 7.5

Si Senor! This was the season where Bobby finally got his own real song and it replaced 'Allez, Allez, Allez' as the song that everybody sang a dozen times or more per game.

The Brazilian didn't quite hit the heights of the season before, but then only Sadio Mane improved on his previous season last year out of the front three.

Instead, Bobby's game adapted once again, as his defensive pressing and tackling from the front became even more of a feature, with his attacking game suffering slightly in its stead.

There were also a few niggly injuries but he still managed to impact many big games, particularly when it mattered. And there were many 'no-look' goals to enjoy, and plenty of shots of those big, bright teeth.

He managed to bag himself 24 goals and assists, a memorable hat-trick against Arsenal, before the goals started to slow down later in the season. But he'll be back to his best next season, particularly if he leads his country to the Copa America.

Divock Origi - 7.5

Bloody hell, big Div. Who'd have thought at the start of the season that Divock Origi would come anywhere near the heights that he did?

After turning down a move to Wolves before the season began, and a number of loan moves throughout the summer and January window, Origi opted instead to stay and fight for a place in the team.

It took a while, but while the winner at Anfield against Everton was a it of an anomaly, in that he wasn't exactly a regular (even off the bench) at that time. It was a sign of things to come.

He made the odd substitute appearance from there on in, always adding pace and effort but not really showing his quality enough.

But in the final 2 months of the season, we saw what Origi is really capable of as he bagged a goal against Watford, the winner against Newcastle from the bench, with a brace against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final second leg proving ultimately decisive.

Perhaps most importantly of all though, he grabbed the winner against Spurs in the final, with less than 5 minutes of normal time remaining, when nerves were frayed.

His end of season form has earned Origi perhaps one last chance, one last season too, to prove that he's capable of staking a regular claim at Anfield. Boy, has he deserve that too.

Mo Salah - 9

Ah, Mo Salah. He was one stroke of bad fortune away from perhaps leading Liverpool to the Champions League last season and undoubtedly would've won a Ballon d'Or too.

Fast forward 12 months and while he didn't quite have the same level of season, he did still score or assist 40 goals in just 52 games this season. 20 worse off than last season, but still many, many levels above what any other forward in the world would be able to manage.

His early season form saw him struggle to make the same sort of impact, he was still struggling for fitness and his confidence was clearly taking a knock too after a World Cup that wasn't what he'd hoped and an injury he still hadn't fully recovered from too.

But Mo Salah is, make absolutely no mistake, one of the top 5 players in world football and has been for 2 years.

Despite the moniker of 'one season wonder' being labelled against him for most of last season, he scored many crucial goals and had a hand in most of our biggest games and moments.

Namely, the winner against Napoli that set us up to go on and win the competition. But who could forget that worldie against Chelsea?

But the goal to open the scoring from the spot in the Champions League final was the ultimate moment, with Salah holding his nerve; clearly a man on a mission after so cruelly being denied last season.

Whatever Liverpool achieve next season, Salah will be crucial to it. And after seeing how he adapted to the extra attention he received last season, we can only imagine he'll hit new heights and take the rest of the players at the club with him. It will be glorious!

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