ANOTHER day, another game and another 90 minutes where you couldn’t relax for a second.
Coming a day after Tottenham comfortably won 4-0, and Manchester United comfortably won 4-0, Manchester City won away at Chelsea, and on the same day that Arsenal gained an easy win, it was all the more frustrating that yet again Liverpool made winning three points seem like the hardest thing in the universe.
At least we always have Everton, eh?
There were yet more countless examples of bad luck that will continue to erode away at the team’s confidence until something turns it, but there were also several moments where The Reds didn’t help themselves. A lacklustre second half was the last thing irked away fans needed to see.
Here’s some arbitrary numbers next to players’ names:
Simon Mignolet: 6
Made some good if simple early saves, but most importantly, held onto them. Came and claimed plenty as well, although that was largely down to poor deliveries from Matt Ritchie, who may have got the least deserved MOTM award that I’ve ever seen. Given the high line for their goal, you do wonder if having such a non-sweeper keeper like Mignolet can be an issue at times, though you couldn’t really blame him for the deflected ball getting past him.
Joe Gomez: 6
Really hard one to grade this. Joe did a lot of things wrong, both in attack and defence, but at the same time he was always there. Always in position to put a tackle in, or a header and constantly available down the right when we were going forward. Unfortunately his crossing still leaves a lot to be desired and his tackling isn’t always as solid as it should be, but won a lot of vital challenges as well and did enough not to get a terrible mark.
Joel Matip: 7
It will be interesting to see people’s reactions to Matip today. Personally I’m not holding him at all accountable for the goal. He and Dejan Lovren play a high line, that’s their job, and they stepped up enough for Joselu to be offside. Unfortunately, the assistant referee misses the entire right leg of the former Stoke striker that was well beyond the line and doesn’t raise his flag. Matip then manages to get back and put in a tackle, but gets the most unfortunate of deflections. Just bad luck all round. Other than that I thought he did his bits very well. Lots of interceptions, headers won and even some good runs forward that penetrated more than most attackers were able to.
Dejan Lovren: 5
Bizarrely didn’t have all that much to do. Everything seemed to go down Matip’s side. Did get some headers in but never seems all that concerned about directing them. So often they end up going straight to an oncoming opposition midfielder. Did his usual pass into touch in the second half, and loses a mark for a ridiculous challenge to give them a dangerous freekick in stoppage time. Unlucky not to get a penalty first half when Ciaran Clark was trying to make love to the inside of his shirt.
Alberto Moreno: 6
Was petrified that Albie was going to have a stinker after his “F*ck the lot of yous!” comments to his detractors. Did good things and bad things, so overall evened out at a decent game. As ever was a good outlet down the left, but final ball often wasn’t there. Did actually win quite a lot of tackles and headers, albeit inevitably there was one daft one where he kicked Ayoze Perez over without needing to. Was hoping there’d be a clash between him and Mikel Merino to test whether the commentators were capable of pronouncing the Newcastle midfielder’s name properly for once (they’ve been calling him “Moreno” all season and it’s been winding me up).
Jordan Henderson: 6
Started the game really well. You hoped he’d be well up for this one given his Sunderland ties, but for all the good he did early on, seemed to fade as the game went on. Still played at a high tempo but stopped winning as many tackles and ended up leaving space in behind unnecessarily. Too tentative in his forward play as well, only once tried to play an adventurous ball into the attackers and completely skewed it in the air.
Gini Wijnaldum: 5
Similar to Hendo in that he started quite well but faded badly. I’d convinced myself that if Gini was ever going to score an away goal it would be at Newcastle, the only other ground where he realises there is a goal to pop the ball into. The main comment I had on him in the first half was that for once, he wasn’t being anonymous in an away game. He then spent the entire second half being anonymous in an away game.
Philippe Coutinho: 8
What a lad he can be. That goal is not just sensational in the hit, but the buildup. He comes deep for the ball, pings a great long pass to Moreno, then races about 60 yards to get it back, before shifting it and smashing it in the near post. A real “For God’s sake, give it here, I’ll do it” moment. Unfortunately didn’t get many more chances to shine in the final third as the movement from the attack was poor and Newcastle put something like 42 men behind the ball. Did really enjoy his general midfield performance though, always showing for it, not just sticking to one position and trying to dictate as much as he could.
Mohamed Salah: 6
Got in a few times early on, but overran the ball more than once. Played a lovely ball in to Sadio Mane that deserved better, but from then on his impact was minimal. Hoped he’d be able to do more against the fairly dreadful Javi Manquillo but the few times he did get into space his touch sent the ball into the packed Newcastle defence. Missed yet another open goal, which is a habit that’s getting quite annoying if I’m honest, as great as it is that he’s scored plenty of others. He’ll have better days, as will…
Sadio Mane: 5
Trying to recall but I’m pretty certain that’s the worst I’ve seen him play in a Liverpool shirt. Would normally put it down to slight rustiness after missing three games, but then he played on Tuesday in Moscow. I don’t know what he bought in Asda but whatever it was appears to have made him lose his first touch. The ball kept bouncing off him like his foot was made of bricks. Interesting that Klopp switched him to the right in the second half but if anything he was even more anonymous.
Daniel Sturridge: 5
Was super excited to see him start, so it was with great sadness that I saw him have such a poor game. To be fair it did look like the rest of the team weren’t entirely sure how to use him, as if they had only ever played with Roberto Firmino and instead they were now playing with his arch nemesis. Showed some nice touches and was unfortunate with the effort first half that hit Jamaal Lascelles on the arm (in that it could have gone in, not that it was a penalty), but the miss second half when Clark let the ball slip under his foot was criminal. If Firmino misses that we’re all demanding Sturridge start the next game. He’s obviously better than that but could really have done with him being the world-class finisher he is and that we badly missed today.
Dominic Solanke: 7
Really good cameo I thought. Showed loads for the ball, won it plenty, kept it well and was unlucky with the header from Coutinho’s cross that could have nicked in the near post. Would like to see more of him and earlier in games as well.
Roberto Firmino: 5
Seemed to be playing just off Solanke when he came on, and struggled to see much of the ball as the areas he was supposed to be in was filled with Newcastle players.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: N/A
Only on for a handful of minutes, but still misses a golden chance to win it. Credit to him in that he does well to get to the box, and I have a lot of love for anyone who tries to score with a diving header (when was the last time you saw someone do that?) but there’s no getting away from the fact that he really should have scored.
Another two points dropped and, after other results this weekend, the title seems as far away as ever. Time to dust ourselves down during this international break, come back in two weeks and smash Manchester United at Anfield. What a lovely way that would be to get back on track.
Oh, and if you could do with cheering up over the next fortnight, then I’ve written a book about Jürgen Klopp’s first two seasons at Liverpool. It has obvious ups and downs but will hopefully serve as a reminder of how far we have actually come since October 2015.
Kloppite: One Man’s Quest to turn Doubters into Believers is out tomorrow.
Chin up, Reds, there’s better days on the horizon. And wasn’t it nice seeing Rafa again?
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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Time to be ruthless.
I’d have solanke over studg.
Solanke is on form play the tiger.
Conmpletely agree. Sturridge is unfortunately done physically, and this isn’t walking football. It’s time everybody realised this. Hasn’t been a consistent starter in two years under Klopp now and never will be. The problem as well for him is he can make decent cameos off the bench causing a clamour for him to start, but when he does he shows just how off the pace and how out of the groove he is. I’d rather just remove this question altogether and like you give Solanke those minutes.
We have to better 6 teams by 9 points in 31 games to win the league. This is dreadful
stuff lads. We looked so slow on the ball. Not one of our 11 had a 7+ game.
Sturridge was fucking terrible. Offers nothing except and great finisher and he’s missed sitters the last 2 games and been dreadful in every other way. Pointless him being there if he doesn’t finish. Mane has been really poor since the suspension, touch has been off and can’t seem to find a pass for love nor money. May as well of been 10 men today with him. We have quality but something needs to change here, klopp needs to show why he’s such a good manager now and find a way to make this work. Also feel we are missing Lallana a great deal more than people will acknowledge.
they’ve all been poor up top since Coutinho came back into the side.
Lack of prep time, disruptions due to suspensions or fitness – I don’t know, but its either a massive coincidence or something else. Maybe the complete lack of time between games (and the number of aways – 5 of the last 7) since the last international break and Coutinho’s bad back clearing up has meant these lads learning what is required on the job. And that’s never ideal.
Lovren was dreadful for the goal, from the time he had no idea where the striker was to when he gave it up well before he should have. He seems to be affected by playing hurt. The reason he has to play hurt is well documented. Think it is pretty fair to say the title went when the window closed. But surely things will click on attack soon.
You look at our front three and midfield on paper and you think ‘Hey, these WILL do some damage today’ and then you see them on the field and somehow it’s like watching a dodgy tribute act rather than the real thing. The chemistry between them just isn’t quite there yet so the passing and movement is slightly off. What to do about the defence is a whole different issue but I don’t think the current problems with the rest of the team are particularly structural, the quality is there but they’re just not a decisive unit yet. How Klopp changes that I’m not sure but he needs to do so soon.
Sturridge was so poor today. As bad as I can remember. His pace has gone so he can’t start missing chances like he did. That one off Clark’s error was truly dreadful.
The goal we conceded – very similar to Aguero’s first really. Straight pass right through the middle. Offside trap not quite sharp enough. Fucking comical way to concede.
Was however nice to see Rafa again. He’s doing really well there considering they are quite a limited squad. I can’t begrudge him the point.
I can. I very much can. He has 36 other games to get his points. Not these ones.
The most overrated attack in the premier league. Put the ball in the net!!!
I would take a game where we don’t have a lot of the ball, don’t create a lot of chances and don’t give silly goals away. I’d. Take a couple of boring back to back 1-0 wins. Klopp is supposed to be someone who gets the players to give more than they’ve got but somehow we seem to be worse than we actually are, our forwards can’t score, our midfield is invisible and our defenders might as well be training dummies. And to top it off Klopp now sounds like a broken record. I love him and all but he sounds a bit like BR when we were rubbish under him. Totally gutted.
The goal seems like our season so far in microcosm. Not great defending, but then just pure shite luck to seal the deal. Salah’s goal scoring record is good but that’s mainly because he has about five gilt-edged chances a game. Can we get Rushie in to teach him where the corners of the goal are? Brilliant in full flow but sometimes it looks like he couldn’t finish his dinner.
Klopp is obviously getting extremely pissed off with all this, and it’s understandable why. Someone is going to take an absolute hiding off us in the near future, but it needs to be sooner rather than later to stop us all going mad.
The saddest thing about today’s game: if Benitez was coaching this current Liverpool team Liverpool would have won. Yes we were unlucky and half the team did not show up yada yada yada. But we are currently playing really bad and the fact remains that: the top team that consistently gets results when playing bad wins silverware. We will not win anything this year and we will struggle to reach top 4. Very sad and I really really like the idea of Klopps heavy metal footy. But its just not happening at the minute. YNWA
No mate – we’d have walked away from there with a point and Rafa would be pleased with that.
Yet another Daniel Sturridge rating that is at least 2 points too high. What a coincidence. I guess we’ll never know why that is, eh?
Matip & Lovren – 0
Coutinho- 5 (goal)
Everyone else -3
If this lot can’t be arsed to win at f–king Newcastle, neither can I. Absolute shite today.
6 was way too nice to Mignolet. He needs to fuck off.
Matip was terrible for the goal mate. And they weren’t stepping up, they kept dropping.
Really enjoyed your match ratings. Imo accurate, entertaining and fairly funny at times. However, I’ve got an urge to write something abusive because you said Matip isn’t accountable for the goal. Not going to though. That’d be silly and childish. You all do a good job and it’s down to opinion. He’s really doing my head in though. Needs to get in the zone.
The reason Matip wasn’t accountable Robin, is because he has the largest shoes in the EPL and it ricocheted off them. No points deducted for that anomaly. :)
Simply not good enough a challenge for any trophy is as far away as ever. Sad to say that there are a number of much better teams in the premiership, why are we so ineffective? I wish I knew.
Any further comment is superfluous, it’s all been said.
Matip is terrible for the goal. As soon as the ball breaks to Shelvey with good possession in the middle of the pitch, you should no longer be playing offside. The right thing for him to do is to leg it backwards and inside – he absolutely cannot let the ball travel between him and lovren. If Shelvey plays into the channel and their lad picks it up, shifts it inside and scores, then you hold your hands up, but it can’t travel down the middle of the pitch. It is not lovren’ fault because his postioning is good and he is covering their lad breaking down their right, but it is very very poor from Matip.
when was the last time any Liverpool fan put his hands up and thought fair goal?
It doesn’t happen – where there’s a goal, there’s blame. Simple as that these days.
I have quite a moderate view mate to be honest. We’re OK at defending but collectively off-the-ball we do not look good enough to challenge for the title. We’re absolutely devastating going forward despite our recent struggles with finishing. And Matip fucked up for their goal yesterday – it’s completely fair to assign blame to him. It’s also a good pass, but it’s hardly a worldie passage of play that we should all stand and applaud! It’s one pass on the ground down the middle!
This is right. It’s an absolute law of football coaching, that you don’t push up for offside when the opposition has the ball, unless there is pressure on the ball. As soon as Shelvey was in space with the ball at his feet, under no pressure, and this is Shelvey whose best asset is his passing, then the centre backs have to fall back and be prepared to defend. It’s basic stuff. I’ve no idea why after all their coaching, all their issues, all their preparation, our defenders continue to have basic problems in knowing what to do when.
My complete frustration and rage aside… and attempting to be rational, i keep asking myself – Klopp knows more about football than we ever will (or we would be coaching LFC) … so what does he honestly think we need to add to become a team that can challenge for the league? If his plan is to build up to that over the next 2 or 3 seasons – can he just tell us that? At least maybe knowing he has a plan will help the rage i feel subside
Love this. Every goal we score – world class, amazing, brilliant play. Every goal opponents score – Matips fault, Lovrens fault, Keepers fault, shite defending.
It seems that opposition teams can’t be good against us. It’s always our fault. We are poor at times defensively, but sometimes opposition teams can just score good goals. But the media narrative of us being shite defensively has been latched on to by some sections on the fanbase and they won’t let go.
It’s because it’s true. We’ve watched and played football all our lives. We know a mistake when we see one.
Congrats on the book mate, I like the ratings. I would have given Rafa a solid 7.5, good job, the fecker. !