Liverpool FC pre-season player ratings – Who impressed most this summer?

Liverpool have completed their pre-season for another year, but how has each Reds squad member performed during the summer?


Jurgen Klopp‘s men played nine matches in total in preparation for the 2018/19 campaign, with seven wins, one draw and just a solitary defeat coming their way, against Borussia Dortmund.

The US tour proved to be a great success and Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Torino at Anfield was a memorable spectacle for supporters.

Though the focus was on fitness and the workings of the squad as a whole, which individuals stood out for better or worse over pre-season?

Here, we rate every Liverpool player to feature for 45 minutes or more over the summer—which rules out Jordan Henderson and youngster George Johnston.

 

Alisson – 6.5 (out of 10)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 7, 2018: Liverpool's new signing goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the preseason friendly match between Liverpool FC and Torino FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s new goalkeeping saviour only played in the victories against Napoli and Torino and had very little to do.

The Brazilian did everything in an efficient manner, though, and his ball-playing ability was there for all to see from minute one.


Loris Karius – 5

CHARLOTTE, USA - Sunday, July 22, 2018: Liverpool's goalkeeper Loris Karius looks dejected as Borussia Dortmund score a late second goal during a preseason International Champions Cup match between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool FC at the Bank of America Stadium. Borussia Dortmund won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Unfortunately, Karius’ post-Kyiv hangover continued this summer, even though most were willing him to banish his demons.

Bad errors came his way against both Tranmere Rovers and Dortmund and it is clear that he is still struggling mentally, despite attempting to exude confidence.

A great reception for him when he replaced Alisson on Tuesday will hopefully have helped.


Caoimhin Kelleher – 6.5

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 19, 2018: Liverpool's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher during the pre-match warm-up before a preseason friendly match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Ewood Park. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Drafted into Klopp’s squad alongside fellow youth stopper Kamil Grabara, Kelleher was provided valuable game time as the manager seemingly ran the rule over his possible options as No. 3.

Despite Grabara emerging as the more impressive prospect with the U19s and U23s last season, it was the Irishman—just four years into his career as a ‘keeper at any level—who shone brighter.

“I don’t know in the moment how many really good goalkeepers Ireland has, but one more is never a big mistake,” Klopp said after the 5-0 thrashing Napoli.

“I like him a lot and I’m glad we have him in our squad.”


Kamil Grabara – 6

BURY, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 14, 2018: Liverpool's goalkeeper Kamil Grabara during a preseason friendly match between Bury FC and Liverpool FC at Gigg Lane. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Though Kelleher may have moved ahead of Grabara in Klopp’s pecking order between the stocks, the Pole certainly didn’t damage his reputation during pre-season.

A confident sidestep past Alexis Sanchez in the six-yard box during the 4-1 win over Man United was one of the highlights of the summer’s friendlies.


Nathaniel Clyne – 6.5

CHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 7, 2018: Liverpool's Nathaniel Clyne during a preseason friendly match between Chester FC and Liverpool FC at the Deva Stadium. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

It was a steady but unspectacular summer for Clyne, which perfectly sums him up as a player.

The 27-year-old will be delighted to be back to full fitness and he will be an important squad member as the season progresses.

On pre-season’s evidence, he is now second-choice right-back behind Trent Alexander-Arnold, with his attacking limitations exposed.


Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6.5

DUBLIN, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND - Saturday, August 4, 2018: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the preseason friendly match between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at Landsdowne Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The youngster returned late after his World Cup excursions with England, easing his way back in against Napoli but thriving when Torino came to town.

There was one trademark cross that so nearly led to Mohamed Salah scoring, and his all-round game was immaculate throughout.

Only 19 and already a key man.


Rafa Camacho – 7.5

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Tuesday, July 10, 2018: Liverpool's Rafael Camacho during a preseason friendly match between Tranmere Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Prenton Park. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Not many would have pencilled Camacho in as a possible first-team player this season but he has done his chances no harm whatsoever.

The Portuguese brought great energy up and down the right flank, scoring against Tranmere.and assisting Salah in the victory over Man City

He is now an option at both right-back and further forward.


Virgil van Dijk – 8.5s

CHARLOTTE, USA - Sunday, July 22, 2018: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring the first goal during a preseason International Champions Cup match between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool FC at the Bank of America Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s most important player?

It’s up for debate but Van Dijk was brilliant during pre-season, showing exactly why an injury to him would be disastrous.

Classy on the ball, colossal in the air and brimming with leadership. World class.


Joe Gomez – 7

CHARLOTTE, USA - Sunday, July 22, 2018: Liverpool's Joe Gomez during a preseason International Champions Cup match between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool FC at the Bank of America Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Gomez was finally afforded plenty of playing time at centre-back and he largely impressed alongside Van Dijk.

There was still the odd lapse in concentration which will happen to any young player, but hopefully this was the summer that saw him go up another gear.

Likely to start against West Ham on Sunday.


Joel Matip – 6

CHARLOTTE, USA - Saturday, July 21, 2018: Liverpool's Joel Matip after a training session at the Bank of America Stadium ahead of a preseason International Champions Cup match between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool FC. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There is something about Matip that is thoroughly unconvincing, not least his questionable injury record.

The Cameroonian was solid enough in the opening matches, but was rarely tested, before hobbling out of the Dortmund defeat on July 22.

That was the end of his summer, missing four matches in the process.


Ragnar Klavan – 6

BURY, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 14, 2018: Liverpool's Ragnar Klavan during a preseason friendly match between Bury FC and Liverpool FC at Gigg Lane. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

It was a fairly unnoticeable summer for Klavan, who went about his business in an efficient, adequate manner but never threatened to push for more of a regular starting berth this season.

Par for the course.


Nathaniel Phillips – 7

CHARLOTTE, USA - Sunday, July 22, 2018: Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips after a preseason International Champions Cup match between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool FC at the Bank of America Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Few would have tipped Phillips to play such a prominent role, but this was a hugely productive pre-season for the centre-back.

He looked a calm, assured presence whenever he was given a chance to impress and his only black mark was allowing Andrea Belotti to head home for Torino.


Andy Robertson – 6.5

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 19, 2018: Liverpool's Andy Robertson during a preseason friendly match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Ewood Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Andy Robertson didn’t match the heights of last season’s performances this summer, but he will thrive again in 2017/18.

There were few standout moments but he also rarely put a foot wrong; he was Liverpool’s top assist-maker for pre-season, with four.


Alberto Moreno – 7

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 19, 2018: Liverpool's Alberto Moreno during a preseason friendly match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Ewood Park. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Contrary to popular belief, Moreno is a good footballer who remains a handy squad player for the Reds.

His corker of a strike against Napoli was one of the goals of the summer and his general play caught the eye, from linking up with others to defending more resolutely.


Fabinho – 6.5

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 19, 2018: Liverpool's new signing Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' during a preseason friendly match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Ewood Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s fair to say Fabinho hasn’t come in and set the world alight—but then again, defensive midfielders should not be expected to.

The 24-year-old has displayed good positional skills and brought a sturdiness to the midfield—his use of the ball will only improve over time.

Patience is required, like with any new signing.


Naby Keita – 6.5

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 19, 2018: Liverpool's new signing Naby Keita during a preseason friendly match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Ewood Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Much like Fabinho, we are yet to be see the very best of Keita but it is clear to see what an outstanding player he is.

The balance he possesses, ability to beat a man and defensive work have all caught the eye, not least in the 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers, when he was excellent.

He will explode once the real football gets underway.


James Milner – 7

CHARLOTTE, USA - Sunday, July 22, 2018: Liverpool's James Milner during a preseason International Champions Cup match between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool FC at the Bank of America Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s Duracell Bunny started pre-season by being the last man standing in the lactate threshold test and he did well all summer in the middle of the park.

He stroked home a penalty in the opening win over Chester and also scored with a tidy left-footed finish against Napoli.

Milner is going to be such a useful figure to have in the squad in 2018/19, both on and off the pitch.


Gini Wijnaldum – 7

NEW JERSEY, USA - Wednesday, July 25, 2018: Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum during a preseason International Champions Cup match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the Met Life Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)NEW JERSEY, USA - Wednesday, July 25, 2018: Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum during a preseason International Champions Cup match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the Met Life Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wijnaldum didn’t play until the late win against City in New Jersey and performed effectively until the Torino game.

The Dutchman came alive against the Italians in a more attack-minded midfield role, however, scoring once and almost netting another.

It was an exciting performance from him, highlighting how good he could be if let off the leash this season.


Marko Grujic – 6

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 7, 2018: Liverpool's Marko Grujic during the preseason friendly match between Liverpool FC and Torino FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Serb’s future is still up in the air with the transfer deadline imminent but he hasn’t done enough to suggest he will be a regular squad member at Anfield.

He hasn’t played badly by any means, showcasing his physical style at times, but his fellow midfielders look on another level.


Adam Lallana – 5.5

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 19, 2018: Liverpool's Adam Lallana during a preseason friendly match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Ewood Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The more Lallana’s Liverpool career lasts, the more he flatters to deceive.

Don’t be fooled by the twists and turns and the last-ditch lunges, there has been a lack of end product in the final third and it must improve.

That being said, having him back fit again is good news and he does have the ability to be a useful squad player—if he stays fit.


Ben Woodburn – 6.5

CHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 7, 2018: Liverpool's Ben Woodburn during a preseason friendly match between Chester FC and Liverpool FC at the Deva Stadium. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Woodburn returned to pre-season looking like a man, having bulked up in the gym.

His performances improved as the summer went on, with more maturity to his game and an added physical edge that was much-needed.

It wasn’t enough to remain at Anfield this season, though, with a loan move to Sheffield United completed.


Pedro Chirivella – 6

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Tuesday, July 10, 2018: Liverpool's Pedro Chirivella during a preseason friendly match between Tranmere Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Prenton Park. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Pedro Chirivella will have arrived back for pre-season under no illusions: after reasonable loan spells with Go Ahead Eagles and Willem II, he was likely to be moved on.

With the summer a shop-window process for the Spanish midfielder, his composed performances understandably sparked interest from clubs in Norway, Scotland and England.


Curtis Jones – 8

NEW JERSEY, USA - Wednesday, July 25, 2018: Liverpool's Curtis Jones is fouled during a preseason International Champions Cup match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the Met Life Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jones wasn’t expected to make such giant strides, but he was Liverpool’s find of the summer, without question.

A prodigious midfield talent with quick feet, strength, intelligence and creativity, he didn’t look at all fazed, not least in front of over 100,000 fans against United in Ann Arbor.

Jones has a massive future—the fact that Klopp has retained him over the likes of Woodburn and Harry Wilson speaks volumes.


Harry Wilson – 6.5

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Tuesday, July 10, 2018: Liverpool's substitute Harry Wilson warms-up at half-time during a preseason friendly match between Tranmere Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Prenton Park. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Some bright early displays from Wilson, including a double against Chester, led to some tipping him play a bigger role in 2018/19.

Klopp thought otherwise, however, sending him out on loan to Derby County for the season.


Sheyi Ojo – 6.5

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Tuesday, July 10, 2018: Liverpool's Sheyi Ojo celebrates scoring the second goal during a preseason friendly match between Tranmere Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Prenton Park. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Like Wilson, there were glimpses of Ojo’s quality and he scored a lovely finish away to Tranmere, as well as a penalty in front of a huge crowd against United.

It is a struggle to see where chances will come his way, though.


Xherdan Shaqiri – 8.5

ANN ARBOR, USA - Saturday, July 28, 2018: Liverpool's new signing Xherdan Shaqiri scores the fourth goal with a bicycle kick during the preseason International Champions Cup match between Manchester United and Liverpool FC at the Michigan Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There were doubts surrounding the signing of Shaqiri, just as there were with Salah and Sadio Mane, but he looks a superb buy.

An outrageous overhead kick on his debut against United was the perfect start and he was a constant threat in the wins over Napoli and Torino, assisting Daniel Sturridge in the latter.

Built like an ox, lightning fast and possessing a peach of a left foot—he’s going to be a lot of fun.


Mohamed Salah – 7.5

NEW JERSEY, USA - Wednesday, July 25, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrate scoring the first equalising goal, to level the score 1-1, during a preseason International Champions Cup match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the Met Life Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After the disappointment of his Champions League final injury and a poor World Cup with Egypt, Salah returned with a point to prove.

He looked electric in general, scoring against City and Napoli—the header against the former came just a minute into his first appearance of the summer—and there is another gear to find as the weeks progress.

Liverpool’s talisman.


Sadio Mane – 7.5

ANN ARBOR, USA - Saturday, July 28, 2018: Liverpool's Sadio Mane scores the first goal from a penalty kick during the preseason International Champions Cup match between Manchester United and Liverpool FC at the Michigan Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mane looked equally hungry and dangerous when he returned from World Cup duty, as he looks to rival Salah and Roberto Firmino in terms of influence this season.

The 26-year-old’s pace and directness was menacing and we continued to see him take up more central positions, as he did during the second half of 2017/18.

Scored well-taken penalties against both City and United and won a spot-kick on Tuesday night.


Lazar Markovic – 6

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 19, 2018: Liverpool's Lazar Markovic during a preseason friendly match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Ewood Park. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Markovic has no future at Liverpool and the summer did little to change that, despite the odd lively moment and a goal against Blackburn.


Ryan Kent – 5.5

CHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 7, 2018: Liverpool's Ryan Kent during a preseason friendly match between Chester FC and Liverpool FC at the Deva Stadium. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Kent left Liverpool to join Steven Gerrard’s Rangers on a season-long loan towards the end of July, with his move to the Scottish Premiership a closer fit to his standard at present.

He sparked into life in the opening 7-0 win over Chester, but Kent produced little more as he was phased out of Klopp’s plans prior to completing his move to Glasgow.


Roberto Firmino – 7

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 7, 2018: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring the first goal during the preseason friendly match between Liverpool FC and Torino FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was a late return to the fold for Firmino, but it didn’t take long for him to get up to speed.

He opened the scoring against Torino and his perfectly weighted pass to set up Wijnaldum perfectly illustrated his subtle brilliance.

Firmino doesn’t look 100 percent just yet, which is to be expected, but he will be integral from the West Ham game onwards.


Daniel Sturridge – 8.5

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 19, 2018: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring the second goal during a preseason friendly match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Ewood Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sturridge looked dead and buried at Anfield but he has returned looking fresh and was one of the Reds’ best players in pre-season.

He found the net six times in total, but his work rate and all-round play shone just as bright, not least with a stunning pass to Moreno for his goal against Napoli.

It’s as though Sturridge went to West Brom and realised the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and he looks accepting that he will be a squad player.

Can he stay fit though?


Dominic Solanke – 5

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 19, 2018: Liverpool's Dominic Solanke during a preseason friendly match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Ewood Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Solanke continued to struggle throughout the summer and he just cannot find a run of goalscoring form.

He didn’t score once, in fact, and Klopp needs him to find another level as one of the backups to Firmino.


Danny Ings – 6

CHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, July 7, 2018: Liverpool's Danny Ings inspects the pitch before a preseason friendly match between Chester FC and Liverpool FC at the Deva Stadium. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Lots of puffing and huffing from Ings, but just not enough quality.

Should seal a move away before Thursday’s deadline.


Divock Origi – 5

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Tuesday, July 10, 2018: Liverpool's Divock Origi during a preseason friendly match between Tranmere Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Prenton Park. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Origi looked a million miles from the player who excelled during the Europa League run in 2015/16.

Whether it be an inability to hold the ball up, poor decision-making or a lack of intelligence, the Belgian failed to impress in all facets of his game.

Needs to be sold.

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