Fans vote on Liverpool's best midfield three

Most Liverpool fan will agree that Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister are guaranteed to start in Jurgen Klopp's midfield whenever they're available, but who should be the first choice to complete the three in the centre of the park? 

Liverpool's midfield today compared to the one that started the 2022/23 campaign is quite simply unrecognisable.

As many as seven midfielders have left the club in the last year – including Fabinho, James Milner and Jordan Henderson – while Szoboszlai, Mac Allister, Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch have come in to help form 'Liverpool Reloaded' as Klopp has called it.

While Endo will likely act as a depth option and 21-year-old Gravenberch is a promising player for the future, there is no doubt that Liverpool's new numbers eight and number ten will be two of the first names on the team sheet this season.

 

Finally, Liverpool have two exceptional creative midfielders at their disposal – one being a World Cup winner and another an international captain at the age of 22.

What is Liverpool's best midfield?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 19, 2023: Liverpool's Dominik Szoboszlai during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

However, while this does solve Klopp's desire to have creativity and goals from midfield, it does leave him with another dilemma. Assuming the Argentinian and the Hungarian start and Liverpool's system remains the same, the boss has just one vacant space in midfield and six players fighting for it.

Thiago Alcantara, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Stefan Bajcetic will all be eyeing up that third spot along with Endo and Gravenberch.

But, when everyone is fit and available, who should complete the Reds best midfield three?

Here is what Anfield Watch's followers had to say.

ANFIELD WATCH POLL RESULTS

A total of 15,567 fans voted across the two polls, with the depth of experience and technical ability of Thiago ultimately coming out on top.

The Spaniard gained 75.1% of the first poll (5728 votes), which works out at 36.8% of the total votes. On his best day, when he isn't plagued with injuries, Thiago is easily one of the best midfielders in the world.

READ MORE: Why Thiago can be more than a luxury option for Liverpool this season

Next up was Gravenberch, who received the second-highest amount of votes with 4279 (27.4% of the entire poll), followed by Bajcetic in third place with 2524 votes (16.2%).

Jones and Endo also received a respectable amount of votes, but Elliott only received a tiny amount of support (366 votes equating to 1.7%).

While it is understandable that perhaps the most attacking player in the list received the fewest votes, due to Szoboszlai and Mac Allister's creativity needing to be complemented by a third more-defensive midfielder, it does feel like Elliott could be a victim of circumstance this season.

Not only was he arguably Liverpool's best midfielder last season, but he has looked electric whenever coming on so far this campaign. However, having a player with his tenacity and energy coming off from the bench isn't a bad thing.

With that being said, let's look at the three highest-voted players in more depth.

STEFAN BAJCETIC

Despite still not playing a single minute since being sidelined in mid-March after picking up a tear in his abductor muscle, Liverpool's Spanish youngster still received thousands of votes, and that is testament to just how highly rated the teenager is amongst supporters.

After making his breakthrough into the first-team squad last season, Bajcetic quickly became an important cog in the Klopp machine and he brought a breath of fresh air into a stagnating and ageing midfield.

The 18-year-old impressed to such a level, that to many fans think that his starting place isn't even up for debate.

With the Reds letting Fabinho, Henderson and Milner leave the club, the defensive midfield role was extremely lacking. Of course, Klopp brought in Endo from the Bundesliga, but the Japanese international is 30 years old and unproven in the Premier League.

Mac Allister and Jones can both play the defensive role if necessary, but amazingly, the most experienced Premier League defensive midfielder at Klopp's disposal is a teenager, and many fans are hoping that said teenager is backed and given the opportunity to become a mainstay in Liverpool's starting XI this season.

RYAN GRAVENBERCH

Gravenberch is an interesting one.

While he received a large portion of the votes, many fans understand that the Dutchman may not be an instant starter, but a player who will grow and develop over the course of the season and flourish into an extremely important midfielder for the club.

As @hitmanharj outlined, perhaps in the short-term, it would be sensible to play someone like Curtis Jones. He performed superbly in a deeper role for England's U21s as they won the Euros, or if Klopp would prefer him in a more advanced role, Mac Allister can sit at the base of midfield.

READ MORE: Why Ryan Gravenberch signing makes more sense than a traditional number six

However, with the right guidance, Gravenberch definitely has the profile to be a starting midfielder for Liverpool before the season ends. Standing at 6ft 3in and being reported to be the multi-functional midfielder Klopp has long-been searching for, it's hard not to imagine the 21-year-old becoming a midfield regular for the Reds, whether that be as a six or an eight.

THIAGO ALCANTARA

The most popular candidate by far across both polls to take up the third spot in midfield was Thiago.

In terms of pedigree and achievements, the 32-year-old may well be the best midfielder the Reds have – including Szoboszlai and Mac Allister.

If Liverpool's number six was available for every game alongside the club's two new signings, as @Fermino151 suggests, Liverpool would likely be competing for major honours on all fronts this season.

In fact, when he is fit and available, you'd struggle to find one supporter to try and justify the Spaniard being excluded from Liverpool's best starting XI – his passing range is outrageous, he can control games on the biggest stages, and the defensive side to his game is also a lot better than he gets credit for.

However the problem is, fans rarely get to see this skillset in action due to the midfield veteran's availability issues. Klopp has taken his time with Thiago in terms of the recovery from his most recent injury in fairness, so supporters will be keeping their fingers crossed that will allow him to put together an extended string of games when he finally does return.

Horses for courses

While we can debate who Liverpool's perfect trio might be, X user @mikolfc24 may have perfectly summed up the reality of the situation – with every single midfielder at the club useful across the season, with Klopp likely to chop and change depending on the challenge in front of him.

While some may argue Liverpool are still a specialist defensive midfielder short of a complete engine room, the Reds do possess a versatile set of players in the middle of the park.

With the club's new system focusing a lot more on position fluidity – not to mention Trent Alexander-Arnold playing a hybrid role – you'd imagine the personnel would change depending on the opposition on the day. With Liverpool fighting on four fronts again this season, you can guarantee that every name on the list will get plenty of minutes.

Share This Article