Updated: Jun 26, 2020
Jürgen Klopp has transformed football at Liverpool. He's taken a group of talented, but by no means 'star-studded', players and turned them into European champions. The players they've developed over the last few years have become world-beaters through putting faith into Klopp's football. Salah, Mane, TAA and Van Dijk have become some of the world's best in their respective positions, but only through the entire team pulling their weight under Jurgen's dynamic system.
On Football Index, Liverpool aren't as world dominating as some would imagine. But Football Index favours those with scope to improve. It's difficult for Van Dijk, Salah and Mane to climb any higher in their careers - so their buy value is not particularly high. Trent Alexander-Arnold is still incredibly young, he's flying high on the index because of his youth. He's also flying high because he is English, a media attraction, and a great PB scorer.
So is Klopp's football suited to the PB matrix on Football Index?
From a team perspective, a dominant season is obviously beneficial to PB. Clean sheets, low goal concession and high number of goals scored improve PB for the players. A tight defence and high win ratio is always going to benefit PB ratings across the board.
Specifically from a goalkeeping perspective, no. The very simple opinion towards goalkeepers across the index is that they are poor PB winners. The better the team is defensively, the lower the average PB of the keeper. They need a lot of action to win PB, through saves and blocked shots. It's why they're valued so poorly.
Defensively, Liverpool are a strong PB winner under Klopp's system. Defenders that keep clean sheets are favourable. Defenders that control the pace of the game, playing a lot of passes and capable of playing key passes excel on the index. Liverpool's central defenders are ball-playing defenders who are capable of getting involved on the offensive end. Van Dijk was third in passes last season and leads the league in passes completed this term. He has also scored 4 - leading goals by defenders this season.
For fullbacks, it's a resounding yes. The focus on fullbacks to play crosses and key passes is a prominent factor in favouring the PB matrix. TAA averages 187 per game and has won £0.43 this season in PB. The chance creation from attacking positions, in addition to the willingness to rotate the ball across the back 4, means the fullbacks play plenty of passes each game. TAA is the league leader in most crosses in the PL this season, whilst Robertson is in 9th. They sit in 3rd and 4th for passes completed in the Premier League respectively.
Midfielders at Liverpool don't yield huge PB on the Index, largely due to the fact that when in possession the defence dictates the vast number of passes and volume of chance creation. The midfielders praise is in their tireless pressing when off the ball, which isn't particularly effective for PB though vital to Liverpool's success. Naturally, the midfield aren't able to contribute to assists and key passes as much, given the play is focussed down each flank through the fullbacks. However, Liverpool are still such a dominant force going forward that the midfielders can offer good PB. Henderson has hit 269 this season, and averages 115 per game. He's picked up £0.08 in PB dividends this season. Wijnaldum has scored a superb 328 this term and also paid £0.08 this season in PB. Keita has scored a 270 and Oxlade-Chamberlain 253. Fabinho has only hit a 182, though his role has always been of a defensive nature. So you can see, although the Liverpool midfield is often viewed as unattractive on FI, they have the ability to post big numbers and win the odd dividend.
Wingers at Anfield have an unusual way with the PB Matrix. Klopp's system is less reliant on the wingers being responsible for wide-play, so they generally aren't taking on defenders and whipping balls in as much as other forwards in PL. For example, Mane averages 1.9 dribbles, and Salah 1.7. In comparison to say, Adama Traore - who averages 5.2 per match, the Liverpool forwards are relatively low in aggressive running. However, their ability to both contribute to passes and get shots off certainly improves their PB. Salah has a respectable average PB of 117, whilst Mane 114. In comparison to other goal-scoring wingers such as Rashford and Sterling, their average PB is higher - though their peak PB is lower for the season. In short, they are consistently good but rarely score a stand-out high PB performance. This is why Mane has only picked up £0.02 in dividends this season. Salah has managed £0.15 this season and looks the better PB option for forwards at Anfield.
Strikers are not particularly suited to Klopp's style. The contribution to goals from the two 'wingers' takes focus away from the prime opportunity to score high in PB for the centre forward - namely Firmino. He's a crucial piece to the puzzle, but so rarely has stand-out performances compared to other European elite strikers. He's only won £0.02 in PB despite Liverpool being the dominant force in the PL and reigning European champions. A PB high of 202 is very small for such a high profile striker, which largely explains why his price sits at just £1.75. In comparison to other leading PL forwards, he's scored a higher average PB but lower PB max over the course of this season. Vardy, Aubameyang and Aguero all follow this model. That said, PL strikers are tame in PB average and max compared to those on the continent. Lewandowski averages a PB of 135 compared to Firmino's 96. Ronaldo offers an average of 158. Liverpool's forwards actually offer good PB in comparison to other Premier League teams, but low in comparison to star forwards in other Top European leagues. Highly consistent, but rarely stand-out.
There is still a good chance that PB will improve in some aspects based on this dynamic football. Firmino has missed more big chances this season than any other striker - failing to capitalise on 18 occasions. He could easily improve in that sense. Robertson is yet to win any dividends this season despite the style suiting fullbacks. He's averaged a respectable 135 in PB and maxed 228, so there's still a chance he will offer PB divs in due course too.
So there we have it - an overview of what the Klopp system is doing to players' PB scores at Liverpool.