NEW season, same old heart attacks, fear, excitement, joy and crushing disappointment. Thanks a lot for coming back Redmen. I was just starting to become a normal human being again.
That was poor from Liverpool. Whether it had anything to do with the selfish acts of Philippe Coutinho 24 hours earlier is anyone’s guess. It can’t be used as an excuse but certainly wouldn’t have helped.
So here are the match ratings. Chances are you’ll disagree with most of them. Chances are I will myself. These numbers fluctuated massively across the 90, and I somehow landed on these:
Simon Mignolet: 5
Confirmed as first choice by Jürgen Klopp, which unfortunately seems to have turned him into pre-2017 Mignolet again. Flapped at crosses, put a free kick straight into touch, almost collided with his own defenders more than once and whether they were his fault or not, conceded three goals. Needs to find that confidence he had towards the end of last season soon.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 6
Trying not to give him a more generous score just because he’s young but can’t help but give him the benefit of the doubt. Made mistakes in the first half like everyone, was caught out of position for the move that lead to the first, managed to set up their second by kicking it against Joel Matip, but was much better second half and his deliveries were excellent. Not sure why he came off at the end, and probably wouldn’t have conceded the needless free kick Joe Gomez did that ultimately led to their third.
Joel Matip: 4
I like Matip, but that was possibly his worst performance in a red shirt. Not physical enough in challenges, allowed himself to be bullied by Stefano Okaka, gave the ball away time and again, went up field seemingly at random and put a simple header against the crossbar to win it. There’s a time and a place for playing calmly, and today wasn’t it.
Dejan Lovren: 5
Was a strange game for him. Did some things really well and some not so well, very typical actually then of Dejan’s career at Liverpool. Always seems to be making last-ditch tackles rather than intelligent ones, and opposed to his partner, plays far too panicky at times. Him and Alberto Moreno on the left-hand side of the defence is enough to make anyone’s heart stop.
Alberto Moreno: 5
The greatest comeback since Lazarus (who was a shit left back) but while he did some good things, there were still the usual daft challenges that left him out of position, including for the second goal. Jordan Henderson should have gone with Tom Cleverley but Moreno’s lunge left all that space for the former Everton midfielder. Sure some will say he deserves even lower, but he did mostly do fine, including in the build up to Sadio Mane’s goal.
Jordan Henderson: 5
Feel a bit sorry for the captain but he looked a million miles off the pace, as if he hasn’t played competitive football for several months. As with many he perked up in the second half, but offered little protection to the back four, his passing was way off and his first touch incredibly loose. It will return, but a stuttering start to life back in the starting 11 for Hendo.
Emre Can: 6
On the ground where he ended the conversation for goal of the season last year, Can failed to live up to those levels again. Seemed to get outmuscled too easily, and then only used his strength to concede sloppy free kicks. Showed some nice touches but also some not so nice ones. Should have spent more time helping a struggling Henderson, but does get a bonus point for his assist for Mane.
Gini Wijnaldum: 4
That might seem harsh, but football games are decided in moments, and Gini failed in two crucial ones. Missed a very simple chance to put the game to bed when he sliced wide from Mane’s lay off, and then put in the most pathetic attempt to head away a corner that Watford then equalised from. I also generally thought he was doing his usual disappearing act when the game was tough. Must do a lot better.
Sadio Mane: 8
I felt really sorry for Sadio. Was the only one who wasn’t playing as if someone had just killed his dog in the first half, then was the catalyst for several attacks in the second. Took his goal beautifully, and on another day with better players around him he could have done so much more. Seems to enjoy coming off the left, which bodes well. Deserved to win the game, even if no-one else did.
Mohamed Salah: 6
Was frankly shocked to see Sky give him the man of the match award, but that was presumably based on his goal and winning the penalty. His pace and movement caused lots of problems for Watford, but his final ball was criminal. If he’d finished better or picked better options he could have scored or assisted another three for The Reds. I’m sure it will come but I was left more frustrated than impressed by the former Roma speedster.
Roberto Firmino: 7
Felt a bit sorry for Bobby as he was mostly getting marked out of the game in the first half and having to come back into midfield to see any of the ball. Did show some nice touches though, took a superb penalty and made a great run for the third, but there were moments where you wondered if it’s the best thing having him play upfront against the dross (no offence, Watford). Could he not play an advanced midfield role behind a more conventional striker in those games?
Divock Origi: N/A
James Milner: N/A
Joe Gomez: N/A
But do have to query why he came on when he did. Trent was managing fine, then Gomez comes on cold, gets done by the winger and commits a silly foul that eventually led to the equaliser.
Up the familiarly frustrating Reds.