Loris Karius left Liverpool in the deep end of the pool last season committing two costly mistakes in the final match against Real Madrid which cost them a 6th Champions League trophy. But this season was different. Liverpool needed to address the goalkeeper issue before the campaign and they did and to splendid effect with the signing of AS Roma goalkeeper Alisson Becker shelling out a humongous £66.9 million last summer. Alisson played a huge role in the Mersysider’s run upto the Champions League final and ultimate glory. Alisson made a crucial save in the final minutes of their group stage match against Napoli which proved pivotal in their qualification in the knockout stages of the tournament. Alisson was also in top form during Liverpool’s semi-final clash against Barcelona keeping the mercurial Messi away and preventing the Catalan giants from putting in a crucial away goal.
The young starlet from Liverpool has been in the form of his life and has impressed everyone with his skills both in the Champions League and the Premier League. He has three assists to his name with two of them vital in Liverpool’s comeback against Barcelona in the second leg of the semi-final. But it is not only his attacking prowess as a defender that has impressed one and all. He has notched an impressive record averaging 1.9 tackles, 1.8 interception and 1.7 clearances per game in Europe’s elite competitions this season.
Matthijs de Ligt:
This 19 year old has been the highlight of the season and it is hard to believe the performances he puts forth at this age. The Dutch international led the Ajax team to their most impressive run in the Champions League in the recent years. They lost to Tottenham in the semi-finals but they won a lot of heart with their performances. He was on field 11 times in this seasons Champions League and has averaged a stellar 1.5 tackles, 4.2 clearances and 4.2 aerial duels per game.
Virgil van Dijk:
He was a surprise buy for Liverpool and all the more surprising was the price the Mersysiders shelled out for the Dutchman during the winter transfer window in January 2018. He came at a whopping cost of a club record fee of £75 million from Southampton. But at the end of this season it is safe to say that he has put all doubts to rest and more after putting in tremendous performances throughout for the English club. Liverpool has on an average conceded one goal per match in their 12 matches in the Champions league and Virgil van Dijk is the main reason behind it. He has gone up against the best in the world this season in the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymer and Kylian Mbappe and no one has got the better of him on one-on-one situations this far. He averages a 1 tackle, 0.9 interceptions, 4.8 clearances, along with with 3.5 impressive aerial duels per game in Europe’s top tournaments and Leagues this season.
Jordi Alba played superbly leading up to the Catalan giants second leg match in the semi-finals against Liverpool where his performance drew a lot of flak from the footballing community. But that does not take away his initial performances and he deserves his place in the Champions league XI. In his 11 games for Barcelona in the Champions League this season he has scored one goal while assisting in five. He has averaged an impressive 1 tackle, 1.5 interceptions and 2.1 clearances per game.
Frenkie de Jong:
Barcelona spending a whopping £65 million on this man to secure his services is justified with the performance he has put up in the recently concluded Champions League. The 21 year old has pin point accuracy with his passing completing 718 passes in 11 games for the Blaugrana and a passing accuracy of 89.3per cent. He put in his best performance yet against Juventus in April completely dominating over his opponents midfield consisting of Miralem Pjanić, Rodrigo Bentancur and Blaise Matuidi. His defence has also been noteworthy with him racking up 27 tackles, along with completing 19 clearances and making 19 interceptions.
His start at Anfield was rocky and many people doubted his abilities but the Brazillian has matured with the season and after his recent stint of performances is safely one of the first names on Liverpool’s team sheet. He was deployed as the centre midfield by Jurgen Klopp and has proved that he belongs there on the field at that crucial position by shutting down the likes of Lionel Messi in the second leg of their semi-finals tie against Barcelona.
He was relegated from the Premier League in 2016 while with Newcastle United. He has come a long way since then guiding Tottenham Hotspur to the final of the Champions League in 2019. He has appeared in 9 Champions League matches this season completing 272 passes with an impressive accuracy of 87.5 per cent. Defensively he has averaged 1.9 tackles and 1 interception per game in Europe’s top tier football.
Barcelona’s embarrassing exit from the Champions League does not take away the magnitude of the performances that Lionel Messi has put forth in the competition. He has scored 12 goals in 10 matches for the Catalan side in the Champions League and is currently the leading goal scorer in the League.
He is at present on of the most underrated players in the world but he played a pivotal role in Tottenham Hotspurs Champions League campaign which led them up to the final. The South Korean striker missed out on the first leg of their semi-finals against Ajax and his absence could be felt on field with the Lillywhites struggling in the attack department. His return in the second leg was equally enthralling with Heung-Min putting in an immaculate performance at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
Dusan Tadic was considered surplus to requirements by Southampton and the 30 year old was sold to Ajax at a measly £10 million in the summer transfer window of 2018. The Saints have since realised their mistake but there is no coming back anymore. He was indispensable to the Dutch team and netted six goals and racked up four assists before his teams elimination from the competition.