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Mohamed Salah the leader, Virgil van Dijk leads seven new faces at Liverpool

After Liverpool made easy work of West Ham, the FC crew examine what makes the Reds capable of challenging Man City for the Premier League title.

Last September, we looked at the most important players at Liverpool. With the new season underway, who are the risers and fallers?

This list is not extensive and has been ranked according to varying factors. Some players still with a part to play have been omitted.

Performance, potential, the ability to make an impact and influence the course of a game, other options in that area of the field, the ability or inability to replace them and market value have all played a part in revising the 15.

1. Mohamed Salah (+5)

A 44-goal debut season at Liverpool has Salah regarded as one of the best players on the planet. The eagerness on Liverpool's behalf to get the Egyptian to sign a new five-year contract (that includes no release clause) reflected his importance to the club.

2. Roberto Firmino (no change)

Firmino is finally getting the recognition he deserves for being the complete frontman. Last season, he scored 27 goals in all competitions, and he played a helping hand in many more due to his link-up play and constant harassing of defenders.

3. Sadio Mane (-2)

This could very well be the season in which Mane regains the title as Liverpool's most threatening attacker. He was the lowest scorer of the front three last season, with 20 goals, but his all-around ability terrifies opponents.

4. Virgil van Dijk (new entry)

Van Dijk is justifying his status as the world's most expensive defender at £75 million. Liverpool have been more resolute and assured at the back since he joined in January.

5. Alisson Becker (new entry)

His game time for the Reds is minimal, but the arrival of the Brazil No. 1 from Roma was felt by many to be the final piece of the Liverpool jigsaw.

6. Naby Keita (new entry)

The all-around midfielder appears to be well worth the 12-month wait, judging from his early outings. There is a reason Barcelona attempted to hijack Liverpool's pursuit last summer.

7. Jordan Henderson (-3)

The Liverpool captain received rare widespread praise for his performances with England at the World Cup. His importance to Liverpool on and off the pitch, however, has never been in question.

8. Dejan Lovren (new entry)

Lovren was ridiculed for openly saying that he considered himself to be one of the best defenders in the world en route to helping Croatia reach the World Cup final. His Liverpool form from October onward was nearly faultless, and he has cemented himself as Van Dijk's centre-half partner.

9. Trent Alexander-Arnold (+3)

The 19-year-old is fully established in this Liverpool side and is now first-choice right-back, despite Nathaniel Clyne's return from injury. He's only going to get better, too.

10. James Milner (+4)

Milner is in the form of his life as he starts his 17th season as a Premier League player. The 32-year-old has swatted aside reservations about whether he could still operate as a central midfielder.

11. Fabinho (new entry)

The Brazilian will not be the most eye-catching of Liverpool's summer signings, but he's a much-needed defensive midfield option. Signed to replace to Emre Can, he could prove to be a significant upgrade on the German over time.

12. Andrew Robertson (new entry)

Liverpool have started a season with no question marks at the left-back spot for the first time in a very long time.

13. Xherdan Shaqiri (new entry)

The drop-off whenever Salah, Firmino or Mane were missing last season was considerable. Shaqiri adds depth in the final third that Liverpool need to compete on multiple fronts.

14. Georginio Wijnaldum (-7)

Wijnaldum is a versatile option in midfield, and his contribution can often go unnoticed.

15. Adam Lallana (-10)

Nobody doubts Lallana's quality, and he will hope to put his injury-riddled 2017-18 campaign behind him. His fitness record of late, though, must be a concern.

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