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Liverpool Article 23 Mar 2020
Top 10 Defensive/Holding Midfielders









10. Kalvin Phillips - Leeds United



I know he is in the Championship, but he has stood out like a sore thumb as having the qualities that could make a top class player at the top level. He can be rash when trying to win the ball back and lacks a little in mobility, but his range of passing is outstanding.







9. Luka Milivojevic - Crystal Palace



The main difference between him and Phillips is the level he plays at, but like Phillips he lacks mobility. His main strengths are set piece delivery, which is excellent, and his aerial ability, particularly when defending set pieces. He does not have the same level of passing as Phillips.







8. Jefferson Lerma - Bournemouth



Lerma has made a significant difference to the Cherries' defensive record, as they finally get some protection from midfield. One thing he does not lack for is mobility, it is a key part of his game and he can get around the midfield extremely quickly to snuff out danger. He does tend to pick up too many bookings though and leaves him suspended a couple of times a season at least.







7. Sandro Tonali - Brescia



The Italian youngster is gaining a big reputation and is starting to become a top class midfielder. It is hard to see Brescia keeping hold of him for much longer with Juventus, among others, sniffing around him.







6. Marcelo Brozovic - Inter Milan



Brozovic has been key to Inter's title challenge, despite being a little on the small side. If you wanted a bruiser to out muscle opposition players, he is not going to do that, though he very rarely gets bullied. It is more about his quality on the ball that makes him so good.







5. Declan Rice - West Ham United



Sometimes it feels like he is being limited by his role as a defensive midfielder, Rice can do more than he is able to show. When the chance comes to drive forward, Rice shows flashes of brilliance, but most of the time he is relying on his excellent reading of the game to put himself into position. Rather than being one of those players who is throwing himself into last-ditch challenges and chasing his tail, Rice is about picking off the ball and being in place early, to negate his slight lack of mobility.







4. Fabinho - Liverpool



While his ability to break up play is excellent, especially the way he can reach his long legs in and sneak the ball away, his real quality is his passing. Fabinho has the almost perfect combination of defending and playmaking but he needs to maintain his form over a longer period to move further up the list.







3. Saul Niguez - Atletico Madrid



Saul is an exceptional player and would probably be at the top if he was not often used in other roles. Whatever position he is used in, he excels. A truly brilliant player.







2. Thomas Partey - Atletico Madrid



Partey has the mobility and skill to be a fantastic player. Right now he has finally begun to prove himself as an indispensable part of Atleti's defensive strength. However, the way they play does make it a lot easier for him to break up play and protect the backline. That is why it is that he is dropped to number 2.







1. Wilfred Ndidi - Leicester City



Playing in a more limited, and slightly deeper, role than his great predecessor N'Golo Kante, Ndidi has been an exceptional replacement. Not quite at the same level as Kante, but he has a less demanding role. Ndidi's mobility and workrate is not as high as Kante's but his deeper role allows him to concentrate on being in the right place. It is no coincidence that the Foxes have been doing so well this season with Ndidi in place and that their form dipped while he was out.

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12 Mar 2020 10:09:22
Adrian did not cost us the tie last night. Our inability to score more than 1 goal in 180 minutes cost us the tie.

If you can't score, then one mistake by defense or goalkeeper is fatal.

I count a grand total of ONE goal from our fabled "front 3" in 5 CL matches against Spanish sides last 3 seasons? Pretty poor.

But for probably the greatest comeback ever, we would have been knocked out 3 seasons straight in those match-ups.

Let's hope we can fix this problem for next season.

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12 Mar 2020 10:33:24
Whether you like it or not, Adrian cost us the tie, there's no questions about it. 2-0 up in Extra Time and your goalkeeper makes a mistake as big as the one he did. It is clearly their fault.

The boys put in an absolute shift last night and it was one of their best performances of this wonderful season. We are still Europe's best in my eyes. A mistake from our backup keeper is not going to change that. But there is no need to dwell on it as it can't be changed now.

Since our CL hopes are over, let's look towards number 19 and then pushing again next year. This squad is very, very special. Never forget that.

14 Mar 2020 04:38:13
Your stat of front 3 scoring only once is not only wrong but not even relevant. Firmino the last night and mane against Madrid in final is 2 goals. Also mane only played 45 mins 1st leg, salah and firmino weren't available 2nd leg against Barcelona while firmino also missed first leg and salah only lasted 20 mins vs Madrid so your point is hardly damning.

12 Mar 2020 10:03:58
Not going to lie, gutted about going out of the competition. We were mostly brilliant last night. The number of chances created against the so called defensive specialists was amazing. We tortured them. Salah and Ox had them on their arses constantly. Yes we could have been more clinical. Sadly for us it wasn’t to be.

Re Adrian, he’s an ok reserve keeper and made some big saves this season too. But it does show you how important Alisson is to us in big games.

My only complaint is that it’s a shame we aren’t in any other comps with a couple of months to go and that we have a long drawn out anti climax now.

We go again next season.

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12 Mar 2020 05:52:23
I remember Robbie Fowler saying before the season began that the only way we don't win the Champions League this season is if we meet Athletico in the knockouts. He was right.

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12 Mar 2020 07:04:39
living up to his 'GOD' name.

11 Mar 2020 23:21:03
We played very well. You can blame Adrian as much as you want, but remember that if you have 35 shots on goal and only two shots go in, then something is wrong with those doing the shooting. Inefficiencies are always merciless at this level.

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11 Mar 2020 23:37:59
So we didn't play that well then.

12 Mar 2020 06:29:20
2 goals would have been enough without Adrian’s mistake so he needs to take most of the blame unfortunately for him.

12 Mar 2020 14:33:24
When a goalkeeper, in a tight game of fine margins, gift wraps the opposition a goal it makes a significant impact. We were the better team though out and only dogged defending, and the hapless Adrian, gave them the chance and, fairs fair, they took it. Adrian has made a lot of mistakes this season, the question is is it possible to have a genuine, top quality back up keeper? I'd argue probably not, but it's certainly possible to have one who is more competent/ less prone to mistakes.

11 Mar 2020 23:02:35
Disappointed tonight but we've reached 2 finals in the last 2 seasons and won one of them we can't win them all.

The holy grail is coming home soon lads!

YNWA.

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11 Mar 2020 22:59:25
That was almost the perfect game of football, a shame of the score line.

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11 Mar 2020 23:18:47
I agree baker I thought we actually played a quick purposeful game and the overall performance from the team was one of our best since the turn of the year. The keeper has hurt us tonight many of us fans will vent frustration that we failed to win and criticise some things but i appreciate what was actually a very strong team showing for 100 mins.

I wouldn't rate any of the outfield players less than 7.5/ 10 asides from maybe firmino 1st half poor showing but he was much improved after HT.

11 Mar 2020 22:53:51
Argh well. A good all action first 80 minutes should of seen them off inside 90 minutes. It wasn't to be, proud of the team however. Let's get the title over the line now. YNWA.

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11 Mar 2020 23:00:29
Adrian was the biggest let down, what a waste of a professional footballer.

11 Mar 2020 23:13:07
Steady on, he messed up in there first 2 goals but he did his best mate. We win as a team we loose as a team and that first 90mins we were electric. Proud to be a fan of our famous club.

12 Mar 2020 00:24:22
Electric we were but the Goalkeeper let us down. No need to steady on, its the truth, whether it hurts or not. Nothing we can do about it now, onto the next.

 


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