The Graham Cummins column: Liverpool are a decent team but nowhere near the best in Premier League history

The Graham Cummins column: Liverpool are a decent team but nowhere near the best in Premier League history
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah and Wolverhampton Wanderers's Jonny battle for the ball at Molineux this week. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

THEY are on course to end their 30-year wait for a league title and might break a lot of records along the way but to suggest this Liverpool side are the best side in Premier League history is laughable.

Jurgen Klopp’s team are a well drilled machine and play to their strengths but they aren’t as talented as previous winners of the Premier League.

The Arsenal Invincibles, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side that created history by accumulated 100-points two seasons ago and the Manchester United team of 2008 were all better sides than this currently Liverpool team and certainly were easier on the eye.

All of those previous winners, had everything to their game.

Liverpool are strong, work extremely hard, and teams struggle to cope with the high tempo they play at but they aren’t a team that will open sides up by dominating possession and putting 25-30 passes together to score a goal.

The previous winners I have mentioned above, were able to do everything this current Liverpool side can but also had more creativity in their side and could wear teams down by keeping the ball.

Watching Liverpool, it’s very rare that I want to stand up and applaud a wonderful team goal.

I don’t get excited viewing a Liverpool game. I’d much prefer to watch City over the league leaders.

Although Guardiola’s team haven’t been quite at the races this season, they have produced more admirable moments than Klopp’s side.

Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Liverpool have been excellent but they have not faced a real challenge for the title from City because Guardiola’s team do not care about the league.

City won the domestic treble last season but the campaign was still seen as a failure by some, because of their failure to win the Champions League.

The current Premier League champions knew that only winning Europe’s elite club competition this season would be deemed as a successful campaign and they have lacked real motivation in their pursuit of a third league title in as many years.

Liverpool supporters won’t care how they win the league as long as they did it.

I’m not his greatest fan and people think he’s mad for saying it but United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wasn’t totally foolish when he described Klopp’s team as “the most direct team in the league”.

I don’t agree that Liverpool are the most direct team but Klopp’s side do go from back to front a lot more than the best teams do.

Liverpool play to their strength and their strength is getting the ball as quickly to their front three of Sadio Mane, Mohammed Salah, and Roberto Firmino as possible.

These are the players that can create that bit of magic for Liverpool.

It’s hard to argue with Liverpool’s methods because of their position in the league but it is justified to say that Liverpool aren’t a free-flowing passing team like the Citys and Arsenals of the past.

Most of the best teams, their creativity comes from midfield but Liverpool are reliant on their full-backs to provide assists more than their midfielders.

Liverpool’s midfielders are excellent at what they do but they aren’t technically gifted players.

Liverpool's Jordan Henderson is a good midfielder but not a great one. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Liverpool's Jordan Henderson is a good midfielder but not a great one. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Where City, Arsenal, and United opted to play through midfield because they had players like David Silva, Patrick Vieira, and Paul Scholes Liverpool bypass their midfield more often than not because they don’t have the players in the middle of the pitch that are capable of controlling a game.

Liverpool look their most vulnerable when they do try and pass into their midfielders because players like Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum get dispossessed.

They dwell on the ball and are more of a burden to the team on the ball that a benefit. Henderson has been outstanding for Liverpool this season and does a job for the team that most players in the world would struggle to do but he is not a world-class player.

What Henderson is good at is, picking up second balls and putting the opposition players under serve pressure but technically, he is average.

Henderson is captain of Liverpool and comparisons have been made between him and ex-Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard.

For anyone who thinks Henderson is a better player than Gerrard was, they don’t understand football.

Gerrard could have walked into any team in the world but the same can’t be said about the current Liverpool captain. Henderson wouldn’t ever play for Real Madrid or Barcelona whereas Gerrard could.

The former Sunderland player suits the way Liverpool play and his limitations are exposed when he represents England — a team that want to play a possession-based game and play through midfield.

Football goes around in circles, one moment playing with two strikers is the way forward and the next, not playing with a forward and using a false nine is more fashionable.

Before, being a possession style side was the way to be successful but now, it seems that being a powerful and pacey team is the way forward and Liverpool are certainly the best team equipped to do this.

I do admire Liverpool and they deserve to be crowned champions this season but in terms of the best team to grace the Premier League they are down the list.

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