Simon Mignolet: Simon nearly won the ‘Golden Glove’ last season you know. It’s a special award that the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets in a season gets, and Simon nearly won it. That right there shows you why ‘facts’ are not always a good thing, isn’t that right Rafa? Migs had very little to do last night in fairness. With about 75 minutes gone, he had faced one shot on target, and it had gone into the net. Again, (repeat readers of this blog will know I’ve made this point before) I am not blaming Migs for the goal conceded. I’m merely pointing out that some clubs have goalkeepers that do something extra, something extraordinary, making saves when they are not expected to, and thus winning their side games. Last night could have been that moment for Migs and for LFC. It wasn’t. 5/10.
Emre Can: Yeah, he was grand. Improved as the game wore on as he was given a change in tactics and allowed to burst forward, and did so to good effect. At least, I’m presuming he was given a change of tactics by Brendan. If he wasn’t, and he took it upon himself to burst forward to change the game, then he gets an extra 3 bonus points, just for showing the fans that he actually gives a sh*t, which many of his teammates failed to do. I’m going to be optimistic that he’s a renegade with a cause and award him those extra points. 8/10.
Kolo Toure: Captain Kolo. He led by example in typical Kolo style…in that he did that little skippy dithering thing he does before he passes the ball, which delays the pass ever so slightly and stops momentum. Yep, that definitely spread to the rest of the team. I’m not blaming Kolo for the performance though, I’m just pointing out a few foibles I see in his game. The other small, itsy bitsy fly in the ointment is the fact that he’s BROKEN. Falling apart at the seams. Got to an hour last night and his body gave up. Sakho was summoned from the bench. That’s two Europa League appearances, and a total of 80 minutes played combined. His best moment was a stunning overhead kick from 16 yards that hit the top of the bar while the FC Sion keeper scampered to save. Well, I say stunning – it didn’t have the scissor action, it was more like the kind of effort I would try (on the beach in case I hurt myself), where he kind of fell backwards, hurling his leg above his head while kicking the ball. Great effort and an extra point for that. 6/10.
Joe Gomez: So you’re in a bar one night and Scarlett Johansson slides up to you and offers to buy you a drink. She thinks you’re cute, and wants you, badly. You’re naturally a little stunned, but you pull it together and have a cracking night with the lovely lady, all the while unable to believe your luck. You then manage to secure a second and even a third date, and you pull out all the stops – you’re charming, witty, you wash properly, and you have a great time, and settle into life as the unheralded Mr. Scarlett Johansson. However, you then get a bit comfortable, and revert back to type: You fart in front of her, you belch in front of her, you clean your ears with your car keys, and you tell her that you’re too depressed for a night of passion because Liverpool lost at home to West Ham. You’re dumped immediately, and you realise what has happened. That’s Joe Gomez that is. Poor Joe. 5/10.
Nathaniel Clyne: Gave away the ball with a SHONKING pass that led directly to the FC Sion equaliser. Bombed forward but to no great effect. Hooked by Brendan at half-time and replaced by Jordon Ibe on your wing. Yeah, nights don’t get much worse than this. Poor Patsy, he’s having his legs run off him, and he’s going downhill fast. He was showing so much promise too. 4/10.
Jordon Ibe: OH SWEET MOTHER OF CHRIST ON A HONDA 50. Bad. Shockingly bad. Yes he was playing in a role (or two) that he’s not used to (Left-Wing-Back and Right-Wing-Back), but he was targeted by FC Sion last night. They knew he was weak defensively. They clearly read my Player Ratings from the Bordeaux match. Sorry about that. Lo and behold, after Patsy Clyne had dropped the whole team in it with a pass that even Stevie Wonder would have been embarrassed by, a straight pass was knocked over his head, and Ebeneezer Assifuah was in like Flynn to equalise. The confidence has been drained out of young Jordon. For the rest of the night he was visibly frightened to do anything wrong. Every time he even thought about a pass, he second-guessed himself and dallied. When he thought about taking on his man, he thought about it so long that the opponent had time to run into the space that Jordon was planning to attack, and the chance was gone. He froze last night, no other word for it. Rabbit in the headlights stuff. He needs minding now, needs his confidence built back up. Chucking him into a Europa League B Team, out of position, is not going to help Brendan. Mind him, please. 2/10.
Joe Allen: Joe was alright. Rusty though. Very rusty, like a razor blade that hasn’t been used in months, which his clearly hasn’t. I have a theory: Joe was fed up with being ridiculed by the LFC faithful who saw him as too lightweight and too nice for the middle of the park battle. So he looked in the mirror one day, and told his 14-year-old looking self to man up. Hence the new image – Homeless Drunk. He certainly looks older, I’ll say that for him. He battled well in midfield last night, linked up nicely a few times with the front players, and with a bit more luck could have had an assist or two. Will improve with game time, so the longer we’re in the League Cup and Europa League, the better. 6/10.
Jordan Rossiter: How do I do this nicely…he was….average. Nowhere near as dynamic or impressive as he was against Bordeaux. He was neat and tidy, kept showing for the ball which I like, right up to the final minute. The problem was that he didn’t really do very much with it when he got it. If you’re playing in a dynamic team with threats all around you, then you’ll be a star playing the role he played last night. Just get it, move it, and let the lads do the rest. However, last night, he got it, he moved it, and….it came back to him after nothing happened…again, and again, and again, and ag…you get the point. He’s also physically frail right now. I presume that Liverpool will have him on the Creatine sandwiches and lock him in the gym for the next two years, because he needs it. He needs more dynamic power, strength, and ideally pace. I like him though, and like Joe Allen he needs more game time which I think he’ll get as long as we stay in the cup competitions. 5/10.
Adam Lallana: Adam ‘Europa League’ Lallana does it again. A nice finish to cap some good work by Divock Origi, and he was a constant threat to FC Sion for the first hour before fading as the game went on. Worked some good chances for his teammates, notably Danny Ings, but was guilty of a bad miss as Liverpool searched for the equaliser. I’ve been chastised for calling it a bad miss, and I understand that it was a decent save by the keeper and all that, but at this level, you have to score with chances like that. Probably the LFC man of the match last night, so well done to him. Now excuse me while I go to have a quiet little cry in the corner. 7/10.
Danny Ings: He works hard. He has pace. He has power. Now he needs to add to these elements and produce more of an end result. I think he will though, and if he acts as a foil for the likes of Daniel Sturridge, then he’ll learn from the best while playing an effective role in the team. Consistency is a key element he needs to add to his game too. Failed to control (actually completely missed the ball) a great cross from Lallana in the 1st half when clear in the box, yet pulled a similar pass from Moreno out of the sky and almost scored in the 2nd half. If he had controlled both, you suspect he would have scored once. Such fine margins separate the great from the not so great. 6/10.
Divock Origi: I worry a lot. I worry about Global Warming. I worry about money. I worry about the state of the economy, the lack of gun control in the US and I worry about Vladimir Putin, the lunatic. However, I now worry about Divock Origi and his ability to finish more than any of these. Divock was very good last night in every facet of the game, except for actually putting the ball in the back of the bloody net. He has pace, he has power, he can turn his man, he can assist goals like he did last night, but does he have that killer instinct? That dead-eye, cold-blooded instinct to put his opponent away when he has the chance? Not on the evidence I’ve seen so far he hasn’t. Spurned three very good opportunities, one of which was a one-on-one with the FC Sion goalkeeper. This is the difference (among other things) between a depressing draw like last night and a good 2-1 win or even a heartening 3-1 win. 5/10.
Alberto Moreno: Introduced at half-time to replace Patsy Clyne, and slotted into his favoured LWB role well. Bombed on all half, and caused a constant threat to FC Sion, providing width to the Liverpool attack as they tried to stretch their opponent who were camping behind the ball with 10 men. Provided a great chance for Lallana, which was spurned. Impressed with his work, and should certainly be the starting LWB for LFC this season. 6/10.
Philippe Coutinho: For the second Europa League game in a row, Brendan broke the Emergency Glass and rang the alarm bell by sending on Philippe. For the second Europa League game in a row, it didn’t work. Coutinho needs space ahead of him to be effective. He needs players stretching the defence, running in behind, and able to finish. He had some of that last night, but not all of it. As a result he appeared ineffective. Maybe a bit harsh, but you’re judged on results in this game, isn’t that right Brendan? 6/10.
Mahmadou Sakho: Called off the bench to replace the Kolo Toure carcass that was dragged off the Anfield turf. Did alright in the limited amount of defending he had to do. Not much more to report really. 5/10.
He had to pick a weakened team last night, he’s got the Merseyside Derby on Sunday, and if ever a single match may decide the fate of a manager, it’s that one. However, he was mindful of the need to get some kind of momentum going for his club, so threw on Bertie and Philippe in the second half to try to eke out a win. However, he’s being let down by the quality of the play on the pitch. Yet, he brought in those players (well, he certainly picked them, and bought some of them), so he has to carry the can, and it’s a bloody heavy can at this stage, full of bile, vitriol and downright anger from the LFC faithful. You sense he’s a dead-man walking, but you also sense that he’s pig-headed enough to keep ploughing away until somebody tells him he’s not wanted anymore. I reckon even then they’ll have to change the locks – he’s likely to keep turning up, instilling ‘character’ in players who don’t work for him anymore, and will end up being escorted off-site by security telling everyone around that this is all part of his master-plan and he’ll be back to finish it off. 4/10.