LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 28, 2016: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia looks dejected after missing a penalty against Manchester City during the shoot-out during the Football League Cup Final match at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

THE easiest way to win a cup final is to be the better team.

Even if you can’t be the better team on the pitch in the 90 or 120 minutes, you can have the better players to win a shoot-out. Despite what people tell you about it being a lottery.

Manchester City have got more good players than Liverpool. They also set up well and showed the right desire. So what do you do? Hang in there. Hope for the best. Hope for more from the ref than we got.

It’s not a long-term solution. Long term we need more accomplished footballers to compete. More time for the manager to improve some and discard others.

In the meantime you have to acknowledge that those on the pitch couldn’t have done much more. And go again.

Simon Mignolet: 8

At 50 minutes I’d have shot him. No one should score from there. But for the rest of the game he was brave, athletic and heroic. Deserved a win today.

Nathaniel Clyne: 5

Was given a tough time by their lads, especially Sterling. Could have done more, but the test was about as tough as it gets.

Alberto Moreno: 5

I sat closer than usual to the pitch, which meant I appreciated what people often say, which is how well he controls it at such high pace. Seemed to get caught out of position though.

Lucas Leiva: 8

Risk to play him but paid off. Won tons of headers and was great one on one, too. Would have banked on him scoring a pen, but never mind.

Mamadou Sakho: n/a

Honestly can’t remember. Feels so long ago. Fell over for Aguero’s first chance, but that may have been injury related.

Emre Can: 5

Thought he struggled with it all, although he was up against high-class opposition. Cool as you like from the spot.

Jordan Henderson: 7

Great captain’s performance. Passed it well and all over the field.

James Milner: 5

At this level he can’t really play right as he won’t hurt the opposition. Did alright at left back though.

Philippe Coutinho: 6

Felt for him at the end. Took his goal really well. Didn’t seem to connect with Sturridge at all, strangely.

Roberto Firmino: 5

Probably the biggest disappointment. Feels like his job to link, but he’s not really doing it. Some nice touches but needs to stamp himself on the game.

Daniel Sturridge: 5

A funny performance. Can’t blame him for the lack of service, but had real mixed results dropping deep, dancing past defenders one minute, giving the ball away cheaply the next. Couldn’t walk by the end.


Kolo Toure: 6

Was worried about him coming in cold but did as well as could be. Seemed to kill his brother at one point, but Yaya had the last laugh, I guess.

Adam Lallana: 6

Thought he did well. Helped change the momentum. Took up some great positions, which meant he was often an option that hadn’t been there.

Divock Origi: 6

Helped change things too. Looks a decent bench option. Holds it up pretty well, too.