PHEW! Liverpool’s insistence on never having a two-goal cushion is a controversial one, but if it leads to enough points to get us over the Champions League line then I’ll take another three games of not being able to sit down. Three points closer. Get in!
Here’s the match ratings. Please vehemently disagree with them on Twitter.
Simon Mignolet: 8
A clean sheet. We love those. Dominated his box well, held onto loads of their route one nonsense and didn’t let that Kwik-Save Diego Costa, Troy Deeney, get to him, even after that snide kick. Loses maybe half a point for nearly letting Daryl Janmaat beat him at his near post.
Nathaniel Clyne: 7
It’s gone a bit off the radar recently how much his form has fallen off a cliff, but thought he was mostly back to his best tonight. Dealt with his defensive duties well and although he’ll never be that useful at the other end, did at least join in attacks more than he has of late.
Joel Matip: 8
A rock. Found M’Baye Niang and Deeney as easy to deal with as anyone this season. Mopped up lots of potentially tricky efforts at finding them, was calm in possession, played plenty of good balls into the midfield, as well as a superb through ball to set up a Divock Origi chance, and even ventured forward to have a shot in the Watford six-yard box with five minutes to go. I couldn’t have been the only one screaming “Get f*cking back, Joel!”
Dejan Lovren: 7
Similar to Matip. Much improved from the debacle against Crystal Palace. Hopefully with his new contract he’ll feel the need to push on and make sure these kind of performances become the norm. Dealt with Deeney as well as he did with Romelu Lukaku a few weeks ago. Loses a point for needing to be saved by an incorrect offside decision when he stayed too deep on a Watford long ball in the second half.
James Milner: 6
I’m starting to feel sorry for ‘Millie’. He looks too right-footed and just too knackered to be what we need in that position. His reluctance to use his left foot stops so many attacks and means the opposition allow him to have as much of the ball as he wants. Did some nice things to be fair, especially to waste time late on, but I’m becoming a bit concerned about the noises that he may continue to be our first-choice left-back next season.
Lucas Leiva: 7
Was just a Lucas performance. Was where he needed to be almost all the time, got in the way of lots, was boss in the air and filled in well for Matip and Ragnar Klavan late on when they for some reason decided we were 2-1 down and needed a goal. Amazing that he’s reinvented himself as David Silva on the sly, with three assists in his last five. Though clearly taken a bit from Marcus Rashford as well with that first half attempt at ‘deceiving’. Gets a 9.5 for that one.
Emre Can: 9
Had clearly decided he’d heard enough of people deifying Sebastian Coates after ‘that’ goal at QPR and decided he wanted in on that action. WHAT. A. FUCKING. GOAL. Was also unlucky with a left-foot effort that a normal Heurelho Gomes would have let in. His overall game was good too, starting plenty of attacks, getting involved in the mucky stuff and almost getting an assist for Adam Lallana. Wish his celebration had been to run over to the bench and sign the new contract on Albie Moreno’s back.
Gini Wijnaldum: 6
Like Milner, not necessarily a bad performance but not one to remember. Didn’t get involved as much as I would have liked. Seemed to just pop up at random points where more often than not he gave the ball away. You can tell he’s trying to get more involved, especially in attacking moments, but it’s not quite happening for him at the moment. Shame as I want to see that smile back soon.
Philippe Coutinho: N/A
Only on for 12 minutes and spent a lot of that limping around after Adrian Mariappa deliberately did him in. Hopefully it is just a dead leg and he can recover in time for next Sunday.
Roberto Firmino: 7
Was on the periphery of the game a lot but always popped up in a moment where pressure needed relieving and he’d just nip the ball away and back into red possession. Wish he’d turned around and chinned Deeney at the end after the Watford shithouse barged him in the back by the corner, and the incompetent official decided it was perfectly fine to do so. Maybe he’s not a fan of Bobby’s hair either.
Divock Origi: 7
Could go either way, this one. I’m sure there’ll be plenty who thought he was poor, but I felt he offered a valuable outlet all night and while some of his attempts to get past defenders didn’t always work, he held the ball up really well on multiple occasions. Should have finished better off that Matip ball but the run to make the chance was excellent and what we need to see more of.
Adam Lallana: 7
Sensational considering he came on about 60 minutes earlier than he was probably scheduled to. A few iffy touches but largely settled into the game from the off. His neat turns and deft touches added something we’ve been missing for a while and helped relieve pressure, and was tremendously unlucky with that volley off the bar. Loses a point for that mis-control on the counter attack, though. 2-0 there would have saved us all that extra 10 minutes or so of cardiac punishment.
Daniel Sturridge: 7
Also looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. Was so unlucky with another shot that normal service Gomes lets in, though I was cursing his name when he didn’t put Wijnaldum in at the end. Forgave him shortly after when he was fouled and the final whistle went.
Ragnar Klavan: N/A
Didn’t do anything wrong (other than for some reason try to attack at the end).
The Crossbar: 8
Wanted to demand its instant removal after it denied Lallana in the first half, but the way it redeemed itself at the end by pushing away Seb Prodl’s effort was fantastic. I’d very much like to buy it a pint.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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Nice one Dave, agreed mostly. Though Big Divvy, though full of heart and work-rate, was desperately short of quality at times. I just wish he knew just how good he can be, and f***ng well go and be it.
Studger looked terrifyingly good when he came on, absolutely different gravy. Reckon he’ll bag a second half brace v Soton.
Comment on crossbar: 10!!!
Clyne: well said. At least he defended well today. Not sure why he Could not beat the left backs anymore…half of this season. And these are not the fastest left backs (like Spurs and Southampton). Hope he recovers the pace/sprint somehow, instead of just take the easy route of passing back to Matip or Lucas 90%.
Hi Josh, I would give the crossbar a 10 as well, including the Away Fans who kept the singing going in the opening 25 minutes that seemed like we were in for a Bus Parking snorefest.
Migs gets high marks for claiming every ball he could and stopping those odd shots at goal.
And Can’s goal was simply sublime.
The rest of the Redmen, except for Couts, did a great job hanging in there. I wish it is just a dead leg too and Couts is able to recover in time for the next match. So wanted Sturridge and Lallana to have scored their chances — they will in the next match!
Southampton next. Tricky one this. Let’s hope we have those able to be fully fit and ready to go.
Up the Reds!!!
Both Sturridge and Lallana looked sharp. Really pleased to see Lallana back in the team. I was a bit annoyed when sturridge held the ball up for a foul instead of passing it to Gini. But looking back now, he made that experienced decision.
I don’t know what Klopp would do with sturridge in the summer. But I really don’t mind having him around for another season. Maybe starting 30% of the matches and be the impact sub for the rest. He is a quality player to have.
Hard to say Josh. I would love to have Sturridge, but it’s becoming an logistical and economical problem for the team, LFC, Klopp and Sturridge. He can’t seem to give his 100% when he wants to, and when he does he gets those injuries that are just baffling especially given the timing, and LFC’s luck of injuries.
Sturridge’s a wonderful player, always thought he was special in that way and wish he had more in him, but there’s a reason Chelsea offloaded him, and they may have known something (probably like we did about El Nino) when they sold him to us.
I would keep him on if I was the oil billionaire owner of LFC, but I think Klopp might be setting up to press for a title push given what he has learned about the EPL so far because he may feel he has seen the opportunity to do so. He may demand much more from his approach next season, and Sturridge will be harder to fit in if he continues with injury lay-offs that has made his case unusual than most.
Btw what are your thoughts on the performances by Lovren, Matip, Lucas and Clyne?
Hola Senor Sash, you had some good points on sturridge. He played 10 mins of decent football and my heart melted, yet again :)
My view on Clyne is by now pretty well known :). His first season with us was excellent (he was seen by many of us as the savior after inconsistent performance by Glenn Johnson for a number of seasons). I was really pleased. Last season, under Klopp, he played quite well but his performance started to dropped a level towards the end possibly due to tired legs.
He was ok first half of the season when surrounded by Matip, Hendo, Lallana and Mane at the right hand side of the pitch (and the whole team was flying then), but his performance second half (again, the whole team were too) was below par. Will he be back to his best once he is with his regulars around him? I don’t know :)
I like Lorenz and Matip pairing. Given time and matches together, I believe they will be an excellent pairing. Yes, everyone dreams of having Saints cb as the next guy, but let’s be realistic, we will never spend 50m on one player. Therefore, I will continue to support these two as cb pair for the long run.
Luke. I love his true Red spirit. And I don’t mind seeing him as a squad player to run off his contract next season. We can complain a lot about his speed, blah blah blah, and everyone wants Kante there. But at least we know what we would get from Luke. And he may still be very useful in a dog fights next season against the long ball teams. And in away matches in Europe…
By keeping some of these in the squad, we maybe able to focus on crucial key positions with Mane type of calibre.
Brilliant from you, David. Brought a wider smile to my already wide smile.
Also agree with the ratings for Origi. Thought he was decent. Yeah, could have done better in some situations but still wasn’t as awful as some are trying to make out.
Love these dirty wins we aren’t meant to be capable of. Not good for my long-term health but hey. They are easily as nice as a 5-0.
Glad I wasn’t the only one who noticed Deeney’s yard-dog barge on Firmino. I hope someone decks that bloke one day. He needs to understand that saying you’re hard, constantly interrupting Anthony Joshua’s training camps for photos and endlessly telling people you once spent 14 minutes in jail doesn’t make you some Duncan Ferguson-esque tough guy. He was nothing against Matip and Lovren tonight. Nothing. Yet you just know he was thinking he’d push them about and give an interview on MOTD2 about it next week.
I’m sorry but origi getting the same as lallana is a joke, right?
Agree. Origi has been a 6 out of 10 all year, up to 7 when he scores, very rarely any better.
I thought lallana was pure class tonight, right from the moment he came on. Gives me huge added belief for the remaining few games.
Big divock was poor tonight , all the tools to be world class IMO but has to be more aggressive and a bit more snide!!!would like to see a diamond on Sunday with bobby and studge up top.
It’s not important, but Deeney WAS offside despite what the commentator thought. Look at the cut of the grass. Lovren was on the change of cut, and Deeney had one foot just over. It was a as tight as a gnatt’s chuff, but he was off.
Can looked and played like a captain tonight. At least as impressive as the goal and the other forays forward were the times when he showed restraint and kept in position along side Lucas and Wijnaldum to help on defense. He did what was necessary and, in many ways including the ludicrous goal, took the game by the scruff of the neck. Big time.
There are some that say Glen Johnson walked through a mirror and became Nate Clyne.
And I swear if Karius had been the one putting in the performances that Mignolet has had this season, he’d be practically a legend by now.
Leiva emphatically proves the value of experience over youth.
Let’s hope the Transfer policy isn’t focussed on age.
Yep, real mixed bag from a couple of our midfielders: Gini not willing to make the decisive pass/run on a couple of occasions, always looking to offload, Lallana hanging on a bit too long on the break. Need to be more ruthless in those areas. On the other hand Gini was strong and good at moving into space with the ball & Lallana brought a lot to the game.
Great win under pressure.
Walter, got to agree with your comment about Mignolet not getting the recognition he now deserves. He has so improved his game inside the box and has bailed us out a few times. He is also one of the best penalty stoppers in the league (anyone have stats for this?) When the back four do their job adequately on set pieces he has been excellent of late. I have been a fan of Migs for a long time. Could see he only needed some decent directing from his coach. Yeah, he was well worth the eight today
Mignolet has been in excellent form lately and bailed us out a few times as you say. But for me, last night was a step up. He has always been a great shot-stopper. He will probably always be limited in distribution. His level as a keeper for me will be determined by his ability to command the box and organise the defence. Last might he commanded his box in a way I have not seen before.
Was beginning to wonder whether that barge on Bobby actually happened. Commentator didn’t seem to notice either. Not going to blame Deeney – it’s the job of the officials to notice when someone has been rugby tackled.
And as for the commentator comparing Can’s sublime piece of skill with Rooney’s shin-shank. There are probably 2 billion people in the world who can launch themselves in the air, throw their foot at a football and have it come off part of their leg in the general direction they were aiming (myself included and I’m in my 50s). There are maybe 200 who can steer the ball into the top corner with the top of the foot while in mid-air.
If he’s not statistically the one of the best penalty stoppers, then surely he’s done it on some big occasions.
Great description of Deeney!
Yeah the whole Milner for LB is worrying me too. We could do with attacking FB’s on both sides seeing as we practically play with 3 x CM’s. Look at Spurs for example
Re-reading the day after… still great! About Firmino though: I agree he seemed to be on the periphery a lot, but when you watch the goal back he’s directed the play from the moment Lallana had the ball on the wing… quietly and calmly he’s read the situation and then made the space for Can to run into. Not taking anything away from Lucas’ pass or Can’s goal, but Firmino played a big part in the goal too.
I like the ratings. I like them a lot although i would have given the goalkeeper 4 out of 10 as he was at fault for their goal.