WASN’T expecting that! Liverpool came out of the blocks with some sublime attacking play and took the game to the rightful league leaders. But we really should have been able to cope a bit better with what they had to throw back in return, regardless of the patched-up nature of the defence.
I like these games, though. Think you learn more against top opposition — who you can take forward, and who you might have to leave behind. Jürgen Klopp will know more about his players than he did at 7pm. And he has one more point.
Quick one, though. If Brendan “doesn’t play players in their right position” Rodgers had played a 4-4-2 with James Milner left wing, and Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino up front, and then brought on an on-loan defender, already ahead of Tiago “football managers hate me, but the internet loves me” Ilori and played him up front, while dropping to ninth in the table…well imagine the fume.
SIMON MIGNOLET: 2
Generously given two for the couple of decent things he did in the game. Five years. Five. Years. Makes you think the fans should get to sell one player every summer. We’d make some mistakes, but I wouldn’t have to pay to watch Simon Mignolet next season. So I’d take it.
NATHANIEL CLYNE: 6
Some nice build-up play with Ibe early on, and nice movement and a cross that is cleared off the line. You still want a bit more from him, but solid enough.
KOLO TOURE: 5
One terrific tackle on Theo Walcott on the break that gets him at least three of those points. Tried his best, but this level seems too high for his ageing legs now.
MAMADOU SAKHO: 4
Tends to struggle with his passing when he comes back from injury, and tonight was no exception. Some of his decision making left a lot to be desired, too. To be fair though, both centre halves were pretty good in one-on-one battles.
ALBERTO MORENO: 4
I want to like Moreno, but he makes it tricky. Basic with the ball in the final third and too often beaten back post on crosses. They seemed to get a lot of joy down his side, too. Although some of their movement was fantastic. Not sure who told him he could take free kicks. Maybe he nails them in training.
EMRE CAN: 7
Emre, Emre, Emre. Started like a Rolls Royce, was bossing everything and looked like the complete midfielder. Then his passing went astray and he still has that look of disbelief on his face when he’s standing with the ball at his feet and the opposition dare to nip in and take it off him. Gets subbed for a sensible option, which should always be a concern.
JORDAN HENDERSON: 8
We look so much better with him in the team. Our best passer. Best crosser. Only one who looks to run a game for long periods. Terrific for our second. Mad how some don’t rate him.
JORDON IBE: 5
Started with purpose, but when his first few dribbles didn’t come off, he seemed to go into his shell. Infuriating when he ran into their defender and then went down holding his face while they counter attacked. Wisely gave up at taking corners.
JAMES MILNER: 6.5
Probably did all he could in an unfamiliar position. Actually has a very good delivery with his wrong foot, and his work rate is always there.
ROBERTO FIRMINO: 9
Terrific stuff. He’s a forward isn’t he? If you’re nitpicking you say he should probably score the one that hits the bar. But then you remember who plays on his team in goal, and it just seems daft.
ADAM LALLANA: 6
Think these games suit him more. Maybe he can be our Ji Sung Park. Without the big goals, obviously.
CHRISTIAN BENTEKE: 6
Link-up play was good, and he did really well for the goal.
JOE ALLEN: 7
Yes, lad. Made up for him. Good option, great finish.
STEVEN CAULKER: 5
Bet he didn’t think he’d be playing up front for Liverpool last week.