THAT win should not be underestimated at any cost.
The thought of going to Burnley in two days absolutely needing something was enough to put you off the idea of seeing in a New Year altogether.
But The Reds shook off an early setback, displaying tons of character, to keep the Christmas feel-good factor well and truly alive.
Loris Karius: 7
I’m a fan of this season’s Karius. He quietly makes a lot of potential awkwardness look quite tidy. No fault for the goal and nothing glaring in terms of saves, yet his housekeeping in and around his box amid a second half aerial bombardment was impressive.
Andrew Robertson: 7
Linked well with James Milner first half and found himself in some excellent final third positions all game, yet decision making at key times let him down and seemed to tire. Is better on the cover of his centre backs then given credit for.
Dejan Lovren: 7
Quite indecisive first half but much improved second. Stood up well to Leicester’s physicality second half, once Kasper Schmeichel had remembered how to kick the ball in a straight line and Christian Fuchs turned into Rory Delap.
Joel Matip: 6
Seemed to encapsulate a really sloppy start from Liverpool with what looked like a horrible percentage ball into the middle of the park for their goal. Recovered well enough yet you can’t help but crave more responsibility and gnarl from him at times.
Joe Gomez: 8
Grew into the game with all the finesse and composure of a senior pro. Reading the game better every week, joined in really well and gave away a couple of pressure-relieving fouls at key times. Liverpool have a serious footballer on their hands.
Emre Can: 7
Really sloppy first 20 minutes in which Leicester’s midfield constantly got goalside of him but grew into the game and stepped up, particularly second half. He is our most vocal player when Jordan Henderson is missing. Gets an extra point for picking a fight with Harry Maguire, braver man than me.
James Milner: 7
Neat and tidy, worked us in behind down our left first half and puts Mo Salah through to almost level. Was more attritional after the break but kept us disciplined and focused throughout.
Phil Coutinho: 7
I’m throwing loads of sevens out here, aren’t I? What a shithouse. Anyway, didn’t think he had his best game. Was urging him to get his head up more and felt at times things he was trying were slightly blind. Saying that, improved like everyone as the game went on and kept providing an out ball down the left as the game opened up.
Sadio Mane: 6
Hate to say it, but a player really struggling at the minute. Unlucky with two goals ruled out, yet I don’t feel a goal is all that is missing for him to burst into life. Decision making and even getting up with play at times was really off the standards he has set since he’s been here. Every faith he will come good and deserves all of our support to do so.
Roberto Firmino: 7
Firmino has an unparalleled ability to bring time down to his own requirement and play the game in some kind of worm-holed, linear existence. Really stuck to the task and showed for the ball throughout. Wins headers he has no right to all over the pitch. Not as involved as he’d like at times but contributed hugely as always.
Mohammed Salah: 9
For a while, I was thinking that writing this would prove complicated, due to two instances in the first half where he really should score. But the certainty that Salah possesses, the ability to drag football down to its most simplistic, yet beautiful level, in the way he scores both of his goals, is like something I’ve never seen before. A superstar.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 6
Shows tons of energy and uses the ball quite well to get us up the pitch. Could’ve been more forthright in a couple of tackles towards the end.
Gini Wijnaldum: 6
Used the ball well down the left and showed willing, well in.
Ragnar Klavan: 6
Got a whack to the head which left him dazed and confused, as you were.
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) 30 December 2017