It's not all doom and gloom for Liverpool coming off a loss to Tottenham on Wednesday and a disappointing draw against Swansea on the weekend, as two of the club's stars have found themselves named to the FIFPro World XI shortlist and as such are considered amongst the top 55 players in the world by their peers.
Over 50,000 professional footballers voted, resulting in a shortlist comprising the best goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, and forwards in the sport, and two Liverpool players cracked the list this year. Up front, it's hardly a surprise to see Luis Suarez included as one of 15 shortlisted forwards, though Steven Gerrard's inclusion as one of the 15 midfielders does have to be considered a touch surprising.
Despite that they both are coming off exceptionally strong years at the club level and captain their national sides, neither Daniel Agger nor Martin Skrtel could crack the defenders shortlist. However, given that many of those who did make the cut appear to have done so based on reputation more than recent performance—players such as John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, and Carles Puyol in particular stand out as coming off notably poor or injury-marred seasons—one does have to wonder about just how much significance there is in either making the cut or missing out.
Though of course with that in mind it can't be overlooked that while Skrtel and Agger both miss out in part due to the weight of others' reputations, even a strong showing at the Euros likely shouldn't have been enough for Gerrard to make the cut in midfield coming off an injury-plagued 2011-12 season that saw him only able to start twelve times in the league. Still, despite the obvious issues one might have with awards of this nature, it remains a minor tidbit of good news for Liverpool fans at a time when good news can be a little hard to find.
As for the two Liverpool players' key competition for a place in the final FIFPro World XI, Gerrard is up against the likes of Yaya Toure, David Silva, Andrea Pirlo, Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta, and Xavi Hernandez for one of the final three midfielder slots. Meanwhile, Suarez takes his chances against Ballon d'Or finalists Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo as well as Radamel Falcao, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robin van Persie, and countryman Edinson Cavani for one of the three attacking roles.