Ben Johnson offers up his player ratings after Norwich City 0 Liverpool 3 in the Premier League, with Carrow Road welcoming back fans…


SO, here we are again. 

The greatest line from the greatest best man’s speech ever. It’s been a weddingy, few days you see.

We have been to The Wee Man’s wedding in Northern Ireland over the weekend and there is nothing quite like something like that to remind you of everything that is good in the world.

Everything we have missed these last 18 months. Knocking about with your mates, meeting new sound people, seeing the love people have for each other, the general, mutual feeling of a crowd pulling in the same direction to make sure nothing goes wrong, the relief when it doesn’t and the day is practically perfect in every way. Honestly, nothing even comes close.

Well, I mean, hang on a minute, what the fucking hell am I going on about there? Weddings? Fuck that, football. Football. More specifically the fucking Mighty Reds. 

Here we are again, after a wild, disjointed, almost distanced season, watched through a prism of slight indifference and longing for a shared experience, we stand on the precipice ready to jump in the deep end. Like the pint after the ceremony, get it down my frigging neck. Let’s go red men. 

Alisson: 7

Smart save first half when Joel dropped a bit too deep and played Pukki on. Him striding out to pluck corners out of the air is a better sight than almost anything the natural world has to offer. Humpback whales playing and breaching? Fuck off, thanks. Belter saves at the end when he was pawing at everything like a panther. 

Virgil: 8

I saved Virgil to last here when writing this. Watching him go out into the big wide world again like a proud but very fucking anxious dad.

At Craig’s wedding his Dad’s speech, honestly stopped me in my tracks. I’ve never seen anything like it. The esteem dad and lad held each other in. How much the dad fucking just loved his son. Honestly, it was the purest thing I have ever seen. Brings a tear to the eye even now.

So Virgil, popping out of the nest? Like watching your kid fucking base jump. Craig and his auld fella? That’s us and Virgil that. Passed with flying colours. The big switches, the general assurance he gives just about everyone. These Reds aren’t favourites for the league? OK, lads. Sound. 

Big Joel: 8

Would like him to be cast in a musical. Remake of Dancing In The Rain or the lead in Cats. Massive cat with a top hat on absolutely dancing his paws off. Joel Catip. Leotard. Would pay a grand to see him in a leotard and a top hat, to be honest. Tap shoes. And a cane. Swinging around lampposts. 

Tsimikas: 8

It’s always important to remember, whenever you are thinking about Tsimikas, that he fucking loves sharks. Jammed on them. Got one in his, in the bath. Not a Great White like, the shithouse. Just one of them shite ones that mooch about eating seaweed and kelp or whatever. Pats it on the head every morning. Keeps it alive with a load of stitched together shammy leathers. Has seal for his dinner.

Plays a bit like one, you know. Mooching about sniffing everything. You cut your finger in yours he will smell it before you have even realised. You’re getting a plaster out of the mad kitchen drawer and he is trying to break into your gaff.

Was weird when he had a blackout on the edge of our box, wasn’t it? Like when Crocodile Dundee does the weird dog thing? Some shark Dundee fella in the stands zapped him and he lost all consciousness for a minute. Was chasing a dolphin in the surf.

Good at corners though, the mad fucker. 

Trent: 8

Plays like a lad who knows he is better than everyone else on the pitch. Been wearing an eye patch to improve his vision. That’s mad, isn’t it? Like Gabrielle at right back. Dreams can come true, lad. 

Milner: 8

Big fan of his yellow to be fair, because I was getting a cob on as well. Would much prefer Norwich to have been passively shite as well, James. Set the tempo, set the standard. 

Chamberlain: 6

Would really like him to be boss, you know. Reckon he is sound. Plays like he has got the yips a bit though, which is a shame. Has been great all pre-season, best player in training apparently, first game of the season, and he is nowhere. Weird. Needs to get over it and stamp some authority or he is finished.

That one second half when we were four on two and he just passed it to them, instead of one of our lads, so we could score, resulted in us being under pressure for five minutes. Dragged off two minutes later, rightly so. 

Naby Keita: 7

I love Naby and thought his pressing was great but, if I’m honest, I just maybe wish he was bigger. I love a big midfield. Can we stretch him a bit? Maybe give him gear from the Lord Of The Rings that the fucking big tree feeds to the little hairy fuckers. Come back from international break 9ft. The fucking Big Show in centre mid. 

Sadio: 7

Doesn’t seem like his body is someone else’s this year which is ultimately sound. Was like a teenager at times last season and his limbs had grown an inch over night and his brain hadn’t caught up. Was perfectly fine which is reassuring in itself. 

Mo: 8

Did he mean that touch? Did he fuck. But let’s say he did just to piss people off. Greatest touch you will ever see. Better than that Bergkamp one that everyone still wangs on about. Yawn. Great ball for the second, when all the money in the world was on him lashing it with his right foot into some mustard farmer’s grid. 

Jota: 8

Horrible bobbly shitty finish. Spawny red nose cunts are back, aye? He’s a funny player, Jota, because you see the defence sort of get to a position where they think he is harmless and then he bangs it in somehow and the centre halves are scratching their heads.

Just twats it early a lot. Then he goes on a run like that one second half where he is like Pele. 


Firmino: 8

On the pitch a minute and scores. Fucking loves crowds, Bobby. 

Elliot: N/A

Come on for a bit. 

Fabinho: 8

Was delighted when he came on. Just solidified the whole thing. Unreal.

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