APPARENTLY at some point between playing at Anfield and now, Rubin Kazan have changed their name to FC Rubin. Feels like the kind of thing that should only be allowed in the summer, that. Luckily they haven’t also signed a lot of good players, and Liverpool played them off the park.
Apart from a mad 20 minutes at the end, when the game was bizarrely open, we looked comfortable and on top throughout. Seriously though, why was that last 20 minutes so open? It looked like a league game where, as the saying goes: “a point is no good to either team” rather than a European game where the away side are winning and should probably just sit in a bit. But anyway. Heavy metal football. Here are some player ratings based on performance and hair.
SIMON MIGNOLET: 4
If you don’t have much to do, we’ll always remember the one you nearly dropped at the striker’s foot. By nearly, I mean the “at the striker’s foot” bit. He defo dropped it. The spanner.
ALBERTO MORENO: 10
Everyone is going to be fuming with me when I give Moreno 10 every week for his haircut. In my defence, he did play well, too. Also in my defence, have you seen his hair? Vital when they tried to counter. His legs, I mean.
MAMADOU SAKHO: 7
Even had Michael Own purring over his passing. And Michael doesn’t purr for just anyone. Some vital blocks when it was looking a bit hairy.
DEJAN LOVREN: 6
Does he have “moments” or does he just panic me because he’s Dejan Lovren? When he wasn’t scaring me, he was pleasing me. Which sounds kinkier than I meant it to.
NATHANIEL CLYNE: 7
Really good ball first half that is agonisingly taken away from Benteke’s head. Tidy on the ball throughout. Seems happier. Which is nice. Good to be happy, isn’t it?
JAMES MILNER: 6
See player ratings are a strange thing, because the only opinion that matters is the manager. Both in terms of he picks the team and also in that you never really know what a player has been asked to do. James Milner was popping up all over the place first half — was this by design or just him being a bit mad? Was the fact he was taken off, again, after 60 a sign that the manager doesn’t like what he’s doing, or was it always the plan to do that ahead of Sunday’s game? See, it’s hard this, isn’t it? I just make it look easy. Most of the time. Anyway, James Milner was unlucky not to score a couple of times. He’s always threatening.
JOE ALLEN: 9
Played really, really, really well. Got the man of the match assault from Jurgen after. Quite the strangely sort after prize, that.
EMRE CAN: 6
Ah, Emre. My scoring nemesis. He is undoubtedly an absolute nuisance to play against, particularly when you try to get past him. But in the first half in particular he played some of the worst passes I’ve seen since the harrowing time I watched a DVD of myself play. Still, I’ll give him a six or Emre Can Twitter will be on to call me a racist. Mad Emre Can Twitter you know.
ROBERTO FIRMINO: 6
Currently challenging Emre Can Twitter are the lads who think Firmino is Maradona. They’ll have enjoyed his sublime skill when he set up Milner to hit the bar. They’d have probably missed the times his decision making was appalling. Still, flair players and all that. He’ll be fine.
JORDON IBE: 9
Terrific first half, especially when he showed he’s much more than a touchline-hugging speed merchant. Then he tops it all with a winning goal. Seemed made up at full time, which is hopefully a feeling he will seek to repeat. Attacking players are there to win games and Jordon won us this one tonight. Made up for him.
CHRISTIAN BENTEKE: 6
Passes it really well with his chest. Doubts were raised about his abilities on the counter, but when you can draw two men and then casually play it off your massive chest into an onrushing midfielder, like he did second half, then he’ll do for me. Getting good at demanding the ball whenever he is in the box, regardless of whether his team mate is in a better position or not. Which is a perfect mindset for a striker. Even tried to tell Jordon Ibe off after the game when Ibe just wanted to buzz off how boss he was.
ADAM LALLANA: 6
Steady as she goes. Did very well for the Ibe chance. Ibe should probably score actually. But never mind.
LUCAS LEIVA: 5
He made me feel better when he came on. Which is a good purpose for a footballer to have.
MARTIN SKRTEL: N/A
Bet he was absolutely fuming he had to take his big massive jacket off and jib the blanket for one minute’s play. I’d have outright refused.
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Liverpool pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda-Photo