Liverpool: 5 players expected to shine at the World Cup

Which Reds are expected to perform well in Russia? RealSport take a closer look.


Liverpool’s Champions-League-final-reaching season has enabled many players to flourish on the global stage. 

Now, for eight of their players, another global stage has presented itself: the World Cup itself.

With the dynamics of international football a far cry from those of the domestic game, it remains to be seen who will thrive in Russia and who will not.

Who is expected to have the biggest impact? RealSport pick out five candidates.

  1. 5 Jordan Henderson (England)

    Reuters/Carl Recine

    Caps: 39 Goals: 0

    Tasked with providing cover for England's expected back three, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson will be pivotal to Gareth Southgate's attempts to go deep into the World Cup bracket. 

    It looks likely that 'Hendo' will get the nod over Eric Dier in Southgate's preferred eleven. However, in games against the stronger likes of Belgium, both may be preferred in a more defensive approach. 

    Henderson's experience and leadership qualities could prove crucial in a squad bereft of caps with 3-5-2 and 3-4-3 formations catering for his services. 

  2. 4 Dejan Lovren (Croatia)

    Reuters/Andrew Boyers

    Caps: 40 Goals: 2

    Forever being labelled as the 'dark horses' of any tournament they enter, Croatia arrive in Russia looking to escape a tricky group involving Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland.

    Lovren sits in the heart of the Croatian defence alongside Domagoj Vida in a side that were defensively sound in qualifying: conceding just four goals in Group I.

    Playing alongside Virgil van Dijk this season for his club has no doubt improved Lovren as a well-rounded defender. 

    Bringing this form to the World Cup is the next step for the 28-year-old who has been subject to criticism in his career.

  3. 3 Sadio Mane (Senegal)

    REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

    Caps: 53 Goals: 14

    Reaching their second ever World Cup finals, the ‘Lions of Teranga’ have a lot to do if they are to reach the dizzying heights of their 2002 campaign. 

    Captain of 2002 has turned to coach in 2018, with Aliou Cisse looking to guide his team into contention this summer, with Liverpool star Sadio Mane their main prong of attack. 

    If Mane and Balde can stay fit, Senegal’s threat going forward will be noticeable against the weaker defences in their group; staying defensively strong is the bigger challenge facing Cisse and his side in Russia.

  4. 2 Roberto Firmino (Brazil)

    REUTERS/Darren Staples

    Caps: 21 Goals: 6

    Firmino strengthened his claims last season as being one of the most well-rounded forwards in the game. 

    Benefitting from the interplay between himself, Mane and Salah, the Brazilian will look to translate these performances into a yellow shirt.

    The 26-year-old is expected to start on the bench for Brazil, with Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Coutinho getting the nod in the advanced positions; his impact from off the bench, however, shouldn't be understated when Brazil go deeper into the tournament.

    Firmino will give Brazil an option of a Plan B. Good in the air, possessing the ability to drop deep to involve the more creative players into the game, Brazil's flair will benefit from the cameo roles Firmino will appear in.

  5. 1 Mohamed Salah (Egypt)

    REUTERS/Lee Smith

    Caps: 57 Goals: 33

    After a record-breaking season in club colours, Salah was looking to drag Egypt into the latter stages of a World Cup finals. In the event, it wasn't to be but, with one remaining fixture to play in, the Egyptian forward will be hoping to make an impact.

    Suffering an injury in the Champions League final has impacted greatly on the morale in camp with the 'Egyptian King' missing the opening fixture against Uruguay. Salah provides unrivalled creativity for the Pharaohs on the right-wing with limited flair throughout the rest of the outfit. 

    Salah was instrumental in Egypt's qualification for the finals. However, the one-man show may struggle in a competitive group involving hosts Russia and a competitive Uruguay.

    His goal against Russia in his first appearance was undoubtedly the icing on the cake that has been Salah's 2017-18 season. If he can do it again against Saudi Arabia, he will go down in folklore.

    Who are you expecting to shine the brightest in Russia? Let us know by commenting below.

  1. Poll: Which player are you expecting to have the biggest impact in Russia?

    1. Jordan Henderson
    2. Marko Grujic
    3. Sadio Mane
    4. Roberto Firmino
    5. Mohamed Salah
    6. Other
    21 votes
    Share Your Result

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