Liverpool’s England quintet will be key men at World Cup

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Former Reds boss Roy Hodgson named his 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup on Monday, and there are five Liverpool stars who have made the cut. Henry Jackson (@OnFootballTweet) looks at what each of their roles at the tournament will be. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, June 2, 2012: England's captain Steven Gerrard in action against Belgium during the International Friendly match at Wembley. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

STEVEN GERRARD

Gerrard may be approaching his 34th birthday, but he is still unquestionably one of the first names on Hodgson’s team-sheet.

The England captain has been one of his country’s most consistent performers over the last two years, and his experience, quality and leadership at the heart of the midfield will be crucial to England’s chances in Brazil.

He may be the oldest player in the starting XI, assuming he stays fit, but he’s still as good as anyone in the team.

Squad Status: Key Man

GLEN JOHNSON

Johnson has had and up and down season at Anfield, but he still remains first-choice right-back for his country. Admittedly competition isn’t particularly strong.

Going forward he is a threat, but as we all know his defensive work can often leave a lot to be desired, especially when he’s not at his best.

The 29-year-old looked to be in a straight battle with Kyle Walker to start, but injury to the Tottenham man means he hasn’t even made the cut. Jon Flanagan has been named as back-up, should Johnson get injured.

Squad Status: Starting XI

DANIEL STURRIDGE

It seems highly likely that Sturridge will start England’s opening game against Italy, but there are two issues surrounding the striker: where Hodgson deploys him, and his current form.

The 24-year-old has often been used in a right-sided role for England, but he is completely wasted there. He has proven at Liverpool that starting him centrally is the way forward, and that he is a top class player there.

There can be no doubting that Sturridge’s performances dipped fairly drastically in the last month of the season, and his place in the side may just be in slight jeopardy if he doesn’t get back to full sharpness in the next few weeks.

Squad Status: Starter

JORDAN HENDERSON

LONDON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 17, 2010: England's Jordan Henderson in action against France during the International Friendly match at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by: David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Henderson has had a superb season, and is one of those players who, if he doesn’t play for your club, you don’t see how effective he is.

His drive, energy and quality on the ball have all improved so much in the last 18 months or so, and his relationship with Gerrard in midfield means Hodgson would be mad not to start him alongside the skipper.

Hugely fit players will be needed in the sweltering conditions in Brazil, and barring perhaps James Milner, there is not a fitter player in the squad than the 23-year-old.

Although he has strong competition for a starting berth from the likes of Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana, Jack Wilshere and Frank Lampard, Henderson should find himself in the starting XI.

Squad Status: Starter

RAHEEM STERLING

There hasn’t been a more exciting young English talent this season than Sterling, and his outstanding performances have been deservedly rewarded with a place on the plane to Brazil.

In the eyes of many, the 19-year-old should be a definite starter, with his lightning pace, quick feet and underrated creativity capable of causing any defence trouble.

He has that fearlessness of youth displayed by the likes of Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney in their teens at major tournaments, and has the talent to announce himself on the world stage this summer.

Hodgson is a cautious manager, however, and it seems likely that he will use a front three of Strurridge, Rooney and, for some strange reason, Danny Welbeck. Sterling should start, but chances are he won’t.

Squad Status: Impact Substitute / Potential Starter

How many of Liverpool’s stars would you start for England? Let us know in the comments section below.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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