Liverpool XI of the 2010s: Van Dijk, Suarez and the best of the past 10 years

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With the 2010s coming to an end with success at Anfield, we select the best XI of players to represent Liverpool over the past 10 years.

The current team of the Jurgen Klopp era is hugely dominant, as you might expect, though a few legends from earlier in the decade also make the cut.

The team adopts a 4-2-3-1 formation to accommodate its combination of players.

Without further ado, here is the Liverpool team of the last 10 years.

 

GK: Alisson

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 24, 2019: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The goalkeeper position appeared to be the weight Liverpool had to carry this decade, as Loris KariusChampions League final woes represented merely the latest manifestation of a problem which refused to be solved.

And then along came Alisson.

Having only arrived at the start of last season, the Brazilian shot-stopper already has three trophies to his name.

A goalkeeper seemingly without a weakness, the combination of success and Alisson in goal appears far from coincidental.

 

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, December 26, 2019: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC at the King Power Stadium. Liverpool won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Trent’s incredible rise is marked by the fact that last season was his first as Liverpool’s dominant right-back.

Nathaniel Clyne had previously held down the position and appeared a reliable option. However, Alexander-Arnold has now revolutionised the right-back role.

A playmaker from right-back, Trent punishes teams who sit deep or play narrow, turning Liverpool into a team for all occasions.

At just 21, the world-class Scouser has his best years ahead. A sobering thought.

 

CB: Virgil van Dijk

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 30, 2019: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring the second goal, his second of the game, during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In years to come Liverpool fans may well adopt a new abbreviation to denote the pivotal turning point in their club’s trajectory: Before Virgil or After Virgil.

When the Dutch giant arrived in 2018 it had been a decade since Liverpool had possessed a reliable defence; since he arrived Liverpool have consistently been the Premier League’s stingiest back line.

An all-round Rolls-Royce of a player, he is already up there alongside Liverpool’s greatest-ever defenders.

 

CB: Daniel Agger

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 1, 2014: Liverpool's Daniel Agger celebrates scoring the first goal against Hull City during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

One of the few players from the pre-Klopp era to make this team, the thought of seeing Agger alongside big Virgil is a tantalising prospect.

Sure, everyone looks better next to Van Dijk, but the great Dane, with his cultured left foot and goalscoring ability, would have been a more-than-able partner.

A club legend who spent nine seasons at the club and has YNWA tattooed on his knuckles, the defender would occasionally foray forward to use his left-foot weapon.

Still part of the fabric of the club, a defensive alliance between Agger and Van Dijk would be one of the all-time great partnerships.

 

LB: Andy Robertson

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, December 26, 2019: Liverpool's Andy Robertson celebrates after his side's fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC at the King Power Stadium. Liverpool won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A rampaging new-age full-back with an old-school mentality, Robbo was born to play for Liverpool Football Club.

Until the flying Scotsman arrived, Liverpool hadn’t had a reliable left-back for any duration since John Arne Riise: now they have a world-beater.

His performances are so complete as to be capable of winning over even the leathery old managerial hide of Jose Mourinho.

Nothing speaks to Robertson’s success more than his assist competition with Trent on the opposite flank.

At 25, Robbo is entering his prime.

 

CM: Steven Gerrard

LONDON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 12, 2014: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the third goal against Fulham from the penalty spot during the Premiership match at Craven Cottage. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I can’t write anything better than that famous banner on the Kop: “The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.”

You could only truly appreciate the truth in that statement watching Stevie week in, week out.

If you witnessed his transition from defence, to attack, to right midfield, to central midfield, to deep-lying playmaker—and be the best player on the pitch in every position at every stage of his career—you knew the truth.

If you didn’t, you probably never will.

Gerrard’s most remarkable season of this decade would be the agonisingly close title run of season 2013/14, where he operated in a new role as a quarterback in front of the defence.

It is a season often defined by what he didn’t achieve, Gerrard scored a remarkable 13 goals and provided a league-best 13 assists from deep.

 

CM: Jordan Henderson

MADRID, SPAIN - SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2019: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson lifts the European Cup following a 2-0 victory in the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

From one great captain to another, Jordan Henderson’s road has been rougher, but he has been an ever-present force across the decade.

In 2012, Henderson was told to pack his bags for Fulham, a year-and-a-half later his absence in three of Liverpool’s final four matches would prove fatal to their title hopes.

Henderson’s remarkable ability to improve and extraordinary mental toughness and resilience have become emblematic of his Liverpool team.

Capable of playing attacking midfield or as an excellent holding player and conductor—even recently having to fill in at centre-back—his team-first mentality knows no ends and is defining.

 

RW: Mohamed Salah

DOHA, QATAR - Saturday, December 21, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah bites his winners' medal after the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 Final match between CR Flamengo and Liverpool FC at the Khalifa Stadium. Liverpool won 1-0 after extra time. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Egyptian King shook the world upon his arrival, scoring 44 goals in 52 games in 2017/18.

A left-footed attacker who comes inside from the right, Salah and Liverpool have been a match made in heaven.

Currently a player talented enough to grace any team in world football, the man affectionally known as Mo finds new ways to wow supporters on almost a weekly basis.

He is a back-to-back Golden Boot winner whilst nominally playing off a wing—what more can be said.

The fastest Red to 50 goals. A player for the ages and a cultural phenomenon.

 

CAM: Roberto Firmino

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 17, 2019: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Southampton FC and Liverpool FC at St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

By any normal measure of centre-forward Firmino is a good player.

But normal computations fail to recognise the Brazilian’s contribution. His worth is not found in goals, but in the success of the team and he is the perfect foil for his fellow attackers.

Firmino creates the space when Liverpool are in possession and eliminates it when they are without the ball.

For a German manager who sees a football field as fundamentally space to be created or denied, he is a wizard, truly one of a kind.

In this team of the decade Firmino uses his adaptability to drop into attacking midfield and squeeze another forward into the team.

 

LW: Sadio Mane

GENK, BELGIUM - Wednesday, October 23, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (L) celebrates scoring the fourth goal with team-mate Sadio Mane during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between KRC Genk and Liverpool FC at the KRC Genk Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mane began his Liverpool career with a bang, scoring a barnstorming goal away to Arsenal and would never look back.

Always dangerous, Mane topped the Premier League goalscoring charts last season, matching his Egyptian team-mate’s exploits as they both netted 22 goals.

In a time of great success, it is easy to forget how exceptional these feats are: two wide attackers from Liverpool sharing the Golden Boot.

Fourth place in the Ballon d’Or ranking sums up his current place in the world: in the top handful of players.

 

ST: Luis Suarez

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 2, 2011: Liverpool's Luis Suarez celebrates scoring his side's second goal against Stoke City, minutes after coming on as a substitute to make his debut, during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He left in acrimonious circumstances, but Suarez has a claim on being the best centre-forward of the decade, let alone just Liverpool’s.

He scored 82 goals for Liverpool across 133 appearances and has managed nearly 300 for the decade at all clubs.

Imagine the havoc the Uruguayan would cause in Liverpool’s current team!

An all-round footballer who would work hard, create and score, Brendan Rodgers’ best Liverpool teams were built around Suarez and even with a leaky defence he came within a whisker of pulling them to a Premier League title.

Best of the 2010s XI: Alisson; Trent, Van Dijk, Agger, Robertson; Gerrard, Henderson; Salah, Firmino, Mane; Suarez

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