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5 players who have stepped up to put Liverpool in top 4 driving seat

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Liverpool are unbeaten in their last eight and have won their previous four to place themselves in pole position for the top-four, and it’s in part thanks to five players rising to the fore.

If you’d said only a few weeks back that the Reds would head into the final day with their Champions League destiny not only in their own hands but with third place still for the taking, you’d be borrowing the well-known line of “what are they smoking?”

But that’s exactly where Jurgen Klopp’s men find themselves.

A Crystal Palace side led by the outgoing Roy Hodgson now provide an untimely narrative, but the objective is clear; win and Liverpool will be dining at the top table of European football.

And that Liverpool are in this position is in part thanks to rediscovering their mental edge, but also the upturn in form of five players that stretch across each department, rising to the levels set by the likes of Mo Salah and Fabinho.

 

Thiago

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 8, 2021: Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The world-class operator admitted he was ‘not happy’ with his form earlier this year, but he has been the subject of some bizarre criticism this season.

Injury, COVID-19 and coming into an unstable team that changed his role didn’t allow for the player we thought we’d signed, but Thiago has cleared that up in recent weeks.

With Fabinho back in the holding role, the Spaniard has thrived having pulled the strings to provide attacking impetus while also doing his fair share of defensive work.

The go-to man has played 24.9% of his season’s minutes in the last six, four wins and two draws, and has look every bit of the star that led to such great fanfare at the time of is signing.

Acting as the right-sided number eight, Thiago has shown his vision, calmness and experience, with the chemistry with his teammates now flourishing.

He’s added a new dimension to the team and it’s still a wonder how he didn’t start either leg vs. Real Madrid.

 

Trent Alexander-Arnold

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 10, 2021: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Another to be under the microscope with his England chances constantly debated, the right-back has truly turned the corner and has been a shining light.

In his last eight league matches, Trent has accumulated four assists and one goal. In his previous 27 Premier League games, he set up just three and found the net once.

But he’s been more than just his goal contributions, with his ball distribution back at its deadly best and his defensive actions look a lot sharper.

That you can point to him being one of Liverpool’s most consistent performers of late speaks volumes and if Gareth Southgate overlooks him for the Euros, he’s out of his mind.

But England’s loss of a generational talent will be the Reds’ gain.

 

Roberto Firmino

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, May 13, 2021: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates after scoring the third goal, his second of the game, during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There can be no sugar coating Bobby’s season, it’s been one largely to forget with the showman missing his energy source.

It’s not been for a want of trying and he’s shown glimpses of the No. 9 of old in the last four games, moving with greater confidence and conviction.

Three goals and one assist have helped send the Reds on their way, with his double at United coming at the most crucial of times on either side of half-time and his opener at Turf Moor was needed to ease the tension.

Some may say, “well it’s his job to do just that” but it takes nothing away from the importance of his contribution.

 

Nat Phillips

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 10, 2021: Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Irrespective of what you may think of his limitations and future prospects at the club, Phillips is putting in an almighty shift of late.

Goal-line clearances, an assist and his maiden Liverpool goal, talk about being at the heart of the action!

Yes, he has caused some heart-stopping moments at the back but he’s taken on the role of first-choice as well as expected, and some may say he’s exceeded them.

“I am very pleased for Nat, I love the boy,” Klopp said after the win at Burnley, and why wouldn’t he? He’s grown in stature before his very eyes and without him rising to the occasion this season, who knows where the Reds would be.

 

Alisson

2FND1T6 Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson celebrates scoring their side's second goal of the game with team-mates during the Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Picture date: Sunday May 16, 2021.

This one speaks for itself.

Like those aforementioned, Alisson looks to be thriving off the pressure Liverpool are under to get results, complementing his safe hands with a headed finish any striker would be proud of.

His winner at West Brom will undoubtedly go on to be one of, if not the moment of the season. His save against Napoli sent Liverpool on their way to No. 6, will his goal provide the springboard to fight for No. 7 in 2021/22?

He’s been asked to be a lot more involved throughout this campaign and of late we’ve seen his confidence rise and with it the command of his box has been taken up a notch.

With any mistake to prove costly, the No. 1 has been instrumental in ensuring 10,000 fans at Anfield can help propel the team to exactly where they need to be come the end of the 90 minutes.

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