Before I begin I must make it clear that it is only now that I am able to sit down and pen these ratings, such is the shock, anger and bewilderment I have felt since Saturday afternoon. If you are of a nervous disposition, I advise reader caution…
Simon Mignolet: A three-goal defeat at home and I can’t criticise Migs at all. Weird. Didn’t have a whole lot to do apart from picking the ball out of the net. Gets points docked however for not administering an atomic wedgie or wet willy to Dejan Lovren during the game. A defence needs a strong leader who demands high standards. This was his chance to emerge as a no-nonsense vigilante who is willing to do what needs to be done. 5/10.
Nathaniel Clyne: The best player on the park for LFC. Damned with faint praise indeed. ‘Patsy’ was the only outlet for attacking wide-play in the first half. I thought he was at fault for the first goal, that he had dropped too deep when Skrtel headed (weakly) clear. However he was doing what all good full-backs should and was covering in behind in case of an error by the centre-half. Let’s face it, the man must lie awake at night ready to cover for a mistake by a Liverpool centre-half at any time of day or night. He also almost prevented the second goal too with a cracking slide-tackle to nip in front of Sakho, yet this rebounded off Lucas into the path of Noble. Nathaniel Clyne is learning that no matter how good you are as an individual, when you’re playing with lunatics, you too look mad. 7/10.
Martin Skrtel: A performance bad enough to be mocked, yet nobody is mentioning him thanks to the hapless charlatan of a defender who he plays alongside. A weak clearing header for the opening West Ham goal, followed by the kind of defending that would get you a rollicking in a Sunday League Over-40’s encounter for the third goal. The motto ‘Thou Shalt Not Pass’ must translate into Slovakian as ‘Thou Can Do What Thou Likes To Me, Please Don’t Hurt Me’. Never before has a man who looks so tough actually been so weak. 5/10.
Dejan Lovren: *Deep Breath* Inept, pathetic, comedic, fraudulent, gutless, witless, dunder-brained, slack-jawed, charlatan, lily-livered, facetious, Mr-Magoo-alike, spineless, flatulent, smelly, puss-filled wankstain. Apart from that he was solid, he loves his family and is a jolly nice chap by all accounts. Not a fan of Instagram I believe. 2/10.
Joe Gomez: Oh Joey. Joey, Joey, Joey, Joey, Joey. From such high praise to such low standards. It’s not a disgrace to be nutmegged by a shot that results in a goal. It is a disgrace though that you were nutmegged because you missed the bloody ball when trying to kick it. Don’t take it personally though, you have been playing alongside Dejan Lovren for three whole matches. That’s enough to melt the brains of any mere mortal. Hey, it was good while it lasted though, eh? 5/10.
Lucas Leiva: Lucas is like a bandage. Very useful when you have a problem that needs fixing. When the opposition are going to have you pinned back for 90 minutes, forcing you into a rear-guard action, I love Lucas. He gets a foot in when he’s got plenty of targets to tackle. He keeps it simple with his passing – sideways/back/sideways/back ad infinitum. However, when you’re playing at home, to a team that is going to sit-back and try to hit you on the break, he’s as useful as Donald Trump in the White House, and just as dangerous. Lucas can’t cope when players are running at him, at speed, with space all around. I don’t blame Lucas for Saturday, he was the wrong player in the wrong formation. Pity. 5/10.
Emre Can: Poor Emre Can – last season he was playing centre-back and right-back. Just when it seemed that he was going to get a run in the team as a DM, he then gets picked at home to West Ham playing in a high-wide-right-central-false-something-or-other position. The amount of times he was bombing down the right wing was laughably alarming. Round pegs in square holes, yet again. Hooked at half-time to facilitate another barkingly mad tactical reshuffle, yet he wasn’t the worst of a bad lot. Emre was EXACTLY the right player to play in the Lucas role. He has pace to cope with pace running at him, and has ability to use the space he would have had playing deeper. Cop on Brendan. 5/10.
James Milner: Boring James Milner makes everyone laugh. I don’t get it. James Milner was boring as hell on Saturday. He did nowt. Nada. Zilch. Nichts. I’m sure he covered over 10km during the game, but so does a yapping cocker-spaniel running through the woods – it won’t help you beat West Ham. He was kind of in midfield helping both attack and defence, but in essence did neither. Let his man run off him for the first goal, and was nowhere to be found when the ball broke to the edge of the box for the second goal. Shanked a volley wide in the second half – that was the only other time I noticed him. 4/10.
Philippe Coutinho: The Butcher From Brazil. Shown a red card for two cynical, nasty, late, career-ending assaults that made Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris wince and disgusted Harald Schumacher. Oh, hang on, sorry, the opposite of that. Poor Philippe got a red-card for not walking backwards fast enough and for sliding on grass. The monster. It must be said however that he wasn’t having a good game up to that point. West Ham surrounded him like he was the only woman at a Swingers party. Now misses the trip to Old Trafford. Why Philippe, why? I suppose with ‘Friend’ like that, who needs enemies? 3/10.
Roberto Firmino: On a day when nothing was going right for the team, when passes were going astray, when centre-backs were trolling their own fans, Bobby F decided to take matters into his own hands by unleashing a howitzer towards the Hammers goal. Unfortunately it hit the post and Bobby decided that it wasn’t going to be his day. We need SUPERSTARS Roberto. Genuine, bona fide, other-worldly Gods who can change destiny single-handedly. Your move…5/10.
Christian Benteke: It’s amazing how such a big man, surrounded by 10 West Ham defenders, as well as 5 attacking teammates, can be so isolated on a patch of grass. When Liverpool refused to realise that they couldn’t play through West Ham, I expect that Big Ben might have pointed out that slinging in a few crosses might be helpful. If he did, it was lost in translation because that never happened. On a rare occasion that it did happen (from a corner), Benteke headed down for the imperious Dejan Lovren to fire over from 2 yards out. I propose that Christian carries a cross on his back onto the pitch for the game at Old Trafford, in the hope that the symbolism might get through to his teammates. 5/10.
Alberto Moreno: As with Lucas Leiva, another round peg in a square hole. Bertie is ideal when faced with opposition that are attacking and he has space to bomb into. He’s not as effective when bombing forward into space more crowded than Oxford Street on Christmas Eve. I suspect Brendan is a bit ‘special’ and not in a good way, if he can’t recognise these self-evident truths. 4/10.
Danny Ings: Showed life. Showed valor. Showed guts and determination. If someone can show him the way to the goal, that would be splendid. Deserves more chances this season, ideally as a partner up-front with Benteke. Imagine…two strikers. I expect to be sectioned for having such crazy ideas. 5/10.