Two Liverpool players named in Opta Team of the Season

Two Liverpool players find themselves in the Opta Premier League Team of the Season at the halfway point in the 2023/24 campaign.

The Reds have made an incredibly strong start to the season and find themselves top of the Premier League table after 19 games. Jurgen Klopp's side have lost just once in the top flight, a late and controversial defeat to Tottenham in September after being reduced to nine men.

Liverpool find themselves 13 points better off than at this stage last season and while last summer's midfield rebuild is the obvious variable, improved performances across the Reds' defence have proved similarly crucial.

Liverpool currently boast the sternest defence in the division after Boxing Day's clean sheet against Burnley, conceding just 16 goals in the opening half of the campaign. That's two fewer than second-placed Arsenal and five fewer than reigning champions Manchester City.

As a result of the Reds' impressive defensive displays, both goalkeeper Alisson and centre-back Virgil van Dijk have been selected in Opta's Premier League Team of the Season so far of players who have played at least 1000 minutes.

Based on Opta player ratings that are calculated by using over 100 different metrics, the Liverpool pair have been named in an impressive starting XI.

Alisson is the leading goalkeeper in the division with a rating of 76.7 out of a possible 100. This impressive total is supported by a save percentage of 79.4%, as well as six league clean sheets.

Virgil van Dijk scores slightly lower, although different metrics will be used for goalkeepers and outfield players, coming in with a rating of 75.9. The Dutchman has been back to his imperious best this term and has been the standout central defender in the Premier League.

In Opta's Team of the Season, Van Dijk partners the next best centre-back Marc Guehi - someone who has been linked with a move to Anfield. The Crystal Palace defender has a rating of 74.9, performing better than the likes of William Saliba, Ruben Dias and Cristian Romero.

The Reds may feel aggrieved to not have more representatives in the team. For example, Kyle Walker features at right-back with a rating of 79.5 despite Trent Alexander-Arnold's sensational form this season.

Likewise, Mohamed Salah is kept out of the team by West Ham United's Jarrod Bowen, although it's difficult to argue against the talented Englishman given he has netted 11 goals from an xG of 7.4 this season.

The highest rated player in the Premier League this season is, somewhat unsurprisingly, Rodri, Man City's defensive midfielder given a rating of 87.2.

If the Reds can maintain their form heading into the second half of the campaign, they should have a few more players in the final Opta Team of the Season.

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