On the back of yet another Liverpool win we bring you some player ratings and some discussion around those performances.
First and foremost as a team I thought we were superb. Leading up the game and come to think of it, a few recent games. A lot of talk has been about Liverpool’s game management, their ability to break teams down and their ability to come up with a plan B. Well all that talk can do one. It is clear to see we have learned from those previous ‘low block’ games. Patience and persistence are imperative for this Liverpool side as we will always face those types teams.
Go back just a few weeks to the Swansea game, things were rushed, panicked, stressful you name it, anything but the controlled and professional performances we have seen over recent weeks. This of course is full credit to Klopp, his staff and of course the players. Instead of trying to force the ball down the middle we are quite happy to pass the ball around, side to side until the perfect moment arrives. Our decision making has also improved on that basis too. The arrival of Van Dijk has a major role in this, as does the recent form of Andrew Robertson and Loris Karius. The team is growing in confidence and rightly so.
Anyway player ratings.
Loris Karius – 9
Well I best start with that save. Amazing, heroic, spectacular call it what you want. Ultimately it was game defining. Karius has often been on a long list of players ‘bombed out’ by fans on a number of occasions but the past few months the German ‘keeper has endeared himself to the Anfield faithful. And not just because of that save. Its his overall game. For those that go to the game you know the abuse he has received from the stands, the frustration he would cause taking ages on the ball and the inevitable squeaky bum moment. Fast forward and Karius looks full of confidence. A string of superb saves in recent games, having Van Dijk in front of him and the backing of Jurgen Klopp have all contributed to this. During the Newcastle game I thought his decision making was impressive again, as well as his distribution and his communication with the back four.
Trent Alexander- Arnold – 8
Trent impressive again. Not as good as leaving Evra needing stitches but he was quite clearly targeted by Newcastle. The majority of their attacks came down that flank and I thought Trent dealt with it yet again. There were moments where he was caught out but he always manages to recover. His best moment came when Diame, a man mountain and someone eight times the size of Trent, was bursting through a crowd of players only to be brought down by a superb tackle from Alexander Arnold. Beautiful because of the mismatch of size and beautiful because Trent just doesn’t give a shit.
Virgil Van Dijk – 9
Composed, controlled and a complete performance from Liverpool’s record signing I thought. He makes me feel safe, he makes me feel secure. Something I’ve not felt for years. In a footballing sense of course….
He marshals that back line, he installs confidence in everyone including the fans and he makes Degsey Lovren look like the man we originally meant to sign. Add all that to the fact he managed to prevent that little prick Dwight Gale for scoring and you my friend have yourself a 9.
Dejan Lovren – 8
Another one on the ‘bombed out’ list. Lovren looks a completely different player playing next to Van Dijk. Maybe he just needed a little guidance. I thought again on the odd occasion Newcastle did venture forward he had it all under control. The speed of passing from the back and the will to go forward as fast as possible also impressed me. Lovren can often be guilty of passing back to the ‘keeper or taking his time but again the penetration applied to yesterdays game is what got us the win.
Andrew Robertson – 8
As for many of these players some of which I’ve already mentioned, persistence and patience was the highlight of their game. Robertson also linked up well yet again with Sadio Mane and his threat going forward cannot be underestimated. The Scottish left-back tipped for captaincy for his native country earlier this week by Jurgen Klopp has been more than impressive in recent weeks has he cemented his place in Liverpool’s first team despite a resurgence from Alberto Moreno. He has fully understood everything required to play for Jurgen Klopp and the way this team plays. Not only does he press his man, he often helps out the central midfield and as we saw again yesterday, he loves a little mad run, pressing everyone in his sight.
Emre Can – 8
Can really impressed me again yesterday, his range of passing mainly those long balls over the top were on point seeking out one of the front three. His tenacity, in what was a busy midfield was also impressive and on a number of occasions he came up against Mohamed Diamé. Whether that was in the air or on the floor I thought Can handled himself really well. Composure from Can yesterday was brilliant, offensively and defensively. Often winning the ball back and picking out the right pass, calmly and professionally.
Jordan Henderson – 8
Solid performance from Hendo. Now his passing was ridiculous. Picking out Trent or Robertson when they were in bags of space, switching play and again being persistent with build up play. Despite being booed or being called ‘A sad Mackem bastard’ every five minutes it only seemed to spur him on. There are again a lot of critics of Henderson but yesterday he seemed to have more of a free role, switching the 6 with Can seemed to work well.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 9
Another impressive performance from Ox. Fans often talk about creativity and imagination, refferring to the sale of Coutinho and maybe the lack of it since he left. Well Oxlade-Chamberlain has it in abundance. Maybe he doesn’t have the flair which some people immediately relate to when they hear creativity but his drive and determination cannot and should not be underestimated. As soon as he gets the ball his first thought it to run at that back line, we’ve seen it on a number of occasions, his Man City goal springs to mind and we saw it again yesterday.
Picking up that loose ball, its that drive and determination that makes that goal. His selflessness to pass the ball typifies the Jurgen Klopp spirit and the harmony within that. He could of easily gone for goal himself but he’s just as happy to feed Mo.
Its not during the game but its also worth a mention. I love the way he conducts himself during post match interviews and the way he talks about the team, Klopp, the club and the fans. He has personality and character and its showing in his performances.
Sadio Mane – 8
Having a shit season they said. Off the boil they said. Nah, not having that. Off form maybe, but Sadio hasn’t gone anywhere. Always a threat and always frustrating opponents. As mentioned before his link up with Robertson was a threat and his persistence, like the rest of the team makes him a favourite. And its that persistence which earned him the goal. Linking up with Bobby he took his goal really well. He either looked disappointed coming off, or shattered, I’ve not found out yet. Anyway, adding another goal onto his tally will only install more confidence in him. Pretty handy with Porto and United coming up.
Bobby Firmino – 8
I honestly don’t think it was his best performance, but I couldn’t give him less than an 8. Not my Bobby. Despite it not being his best performance he still managed to get an assist. And just to clarify, I say not his best performance, he wasn’t shite. Not by a long shot. The way Rafa set up his team, it was never going to be his game. Often dropping deep to find space and to get involved in the game, his assist came from doing just that. The time, weight and delicacy of that pass was just sublime.
Mo Salah – 9
Im not sure what else you can say about the man. Another game, another goal. Making runs from deep in behind the Newcastle back four, pointing at the likes of Hendo and Can telling them were to put it was amazing to watch. I thought he took his goal really well. He, like Mane frustrated a tiring Newcastle in which they just resulted to taking him out. How the bloody fuck that wasn’t a free kick and a red card at the end I will never know.
Anyway Mo continues to impress, break records and just be boss in general.
Adam Lallana – 7
James Milner – 7
Matip – 6
Im fully aware I may have been a bit generous in some of these, but I don’t care. At no point in that performance was I worried about conceding or worried that we wouldn’t score. We have improved continually this season, individually and collectively.
Let me know you player ratings in the comment below.
Article by Ross Chandley
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