Simon Mignolet: As Simon has now worked out the meaning of life (see the last blog for details), a sense of calm has come over him. No longer are crosses viewed as Exocet missiles that are to be avoided at all times. He’s now ready to spring into action whenever he is required, in a more measured and confident manner. It’s refreshing to see. Migs didn’t have much to do yesterday, but what he did do, he did well. He was unlucky with the goal that was conceded, as in fairness to him, he was the only one of the 11 LFC players on the pitch that actually got near a ball that was attacked by THREE Southampton players before it found its way into the back of the net. He actually made a fine save from the header by Gaston ‘The Ladybird’ Ramirez (that gag is for the parents amongst you – the rest of you should Google it), but was unlucky that his save rebounded off the in-rushing Mane and ended up nestling in the Anfield Road net. Solid effort. 7/10.
Nathaniel Clyne: A solid display by Patsy Clyne against his old employers. Got forward well during the first half in particular, but was a little more subdued in the second half as he was constantly monitoring the threat of a Southampton break down his flank. While he did very little wrong, I have to admit to being a little disappointed in his overall display. I’d like to think that if I were coming up against an old employer (admittedly for me it would have to be in some weird ‘Office Olympics’ type tournament), I’d be busting my ass to get one over on them. I wouldn’t even need to be on bad terms with them, I’d just HAVE to show them that I’m better now – in a better place, doing better, you know yourself. I didn’t really get that from Nathaniel yesterday. Am I being harsh? Undoubtedly. Alas, it’s my blog, so harsh it shall remain. 6/10.
Martin Skrtel: The best central defender on the park yesterday. I know….Martin didn’t put a foot wrong. Made all the tackles he needed to make, kept it simple with his passing, and covered for his centre-back partner when the odd mistake was made (and mistakes were made). Martin sometimes gets a tough time from LFC fans (including on this blog admittedly), and this blogger is certainly in the ‘Worship Mamadou Sakho’ camp, but when his partner had a shaky day, Martin stood up to be counted – the very definition of a ‘partnership’. I like to think of them both as being the ‘Bert & Ernie’ of Liverpool Football Club…without the obvious sexual tension (so far). 8/10.
Mamadou Sakho: My last two reviews of Mamadou have been a ‘Cut & Paste of praise’ from the previous match. Alas, not today. I’m not saying he was bad, by any means, but he fell below his usual high standards yesterday. In the 1st half in particular, he was shaky, made some poor decisions and clearances that could have proved more costly, but in large part he got away with them. As touched upon in Martin Skrtel’s review, he was helped out by his ‘partner’ (I’ve made this a sexual thing in your mind now, haven’t I? Sorry about that), which was good to see. Sakho steadied the ship in the 2nd half, but will be disappointed in how the equaliser was scored. I’m not saying it was his fault (in fact, I can’t really blame anyone despite viewing it numerous times looking for a scapegoat), but when a free-kick from 50 yards out is played three times by your opponents and as a defence you dont’ get a challenge in, it is disappointing. For what it’s worth, I think that the Southampton goal may well have been a superbly executed training ground routine. 6/10.
Alberto Moreno: If it were not for one particular moment in the 2nd half, this review would have consisted of me calling Bertie a Boll*x, as I did during the game yesterday. The reason for my profanity was his use of the ball in an attacking sense, particularly during the 2nd half. Where Clyne had been our raiding full-back in the first period, the responsibility fell to Bertie in the second half, and alas his final ball and choices were found lacking. After about 70 minutes he blazed a particularly poor ball into the Kop, resulting in my expletive (inspired by Bruno Tonioli on Strictly Come Dancing the night before). Yet mere seconds later, Mane was racing through on goal, about to plunge a dagger in our collective hearts. He was clear, by at least 5 yards, and he’s quick. He’s very quick. Yet Bertie put on the afterburners and raced back, then executed a SUPERB tackle to win the ball and clear the danger. It was probably tackle of the season for Liverpool so far. I instantly forgave him for his poor delivery in this game, and he’s probably got another game or two’s grace out of it to come. Well done Bertie. 7/10.
Lucas Leiva: Time to hail a player that is turning into one of the biggest cult heroes seen at Anfield in a long, long time. Here is a player that has been close to the edge more often than a base-jumper, yet is still here, is still doing outstanding work, and now appears to be a vital cog in the Klopp Machine. It’s clear that Jurgen has identified Lucas as his on-field lieutenant – the number of times they are seen on the touchline discussing tactics during breaks in play is a great example – and Lucas is delivering on his managers trust. It must be so refreshing for him to be trusted by his manager. He was used and abused under Brendan Rodgers, seen to be a square peg for a round hole. However his performance yesterday was awesome. He’s not the flashy player that catches the eye, but if you know what you’re looking for you will see just how good Lucas is. His reading of the game is superb, and he sees where the ‘killer’ ball the opponent wants to play is going, and gets there first. Man Of The Match for me. 9/10.
Emre Can: I thought that when Emre finally got his place in the centre of the Liverpool midfield, he would grow into it slowly. Sod that, this kid is eating Miracle-Gro for breakfast, and is growing into it rapidly, and quicker than I ever imagined. He constantly brings pace, power and energy, and is now marrying that with awareness, passing and pressing. If he starts throwing a few long-range winners into the mix, then I’ll have to replace the Steven Gerrard picture in my understairs bathroom with a picture of Emre Can. I’m sure my missus wouldn’t mind either. Hang on…..8/10.
I’m not sure what I’m trying to say…. 6/10.
James Milner: I have a very old laptop. When I boot it up it goes ‘Whirr….Clunk….Click’ and it starts working. When I first got it, it used to go ‘Whirr…..Click’ and it worked. I’m not sure why or when the ‘Clunk’ was introduced, but now I’m not sure whether the machine will work without it, or whether it’s crucial to the machine ever springing into life again. For the vast majority of the game yesterday, I felt the same way about James Milner. Then he produces THAT cross, to create THAT goal, and I cherish that ‘Clunk’. Until the next time I wonder whether it’s actually needed or not. My arse is getting sore as I’m sitting on this fence quite a while, and I don’t think I can get off for a while yet. 7/10.
Philippe Coutinho: It’s the hat-trick for Philippe, and my review of him from 3 games ago, repeated for the last game, is worthy of note again. I know it’s repetitive, but it’s as true now as it was when I first wrote it:
“POTENTIALLY CONTROVERSIAL MOMENT ALERT: If Philippe doesn’t start upping his contribution (by that I mean effective assists/goals), his position in this team is under threat. Today, when the LFC squad was seriously depleted by injury, all eyes were on Philippe to step up and put in the kind of performance required to lead the team through tough times. It didn’t happen (again). He’s an undoubted talent, with flicks, tricks, shimmies and goals that sometimes take the breath away. However the key word there is ‘sometimes’. He needs to deliver consistently or else he’s in danger of being moved out of the team for someone less ‘flashy’ but more dynamic for this new team. The pressure is on Phillipe, time to deliver.”
Firmino is fit. Benteke is fit. If Sturridge gets fit (stop laughing), Klopp has a big call to make. A move to Barcelona? Hmmm. 6/10.
Divock Origi: The performance of Divok Origi yesterday was a microcosm of the woes of Liverpool Football Club last season – we struggled badly all season as we didn’t have any forwards worthy of the name. That may sound bloody harsh on young Divok, but I stand by it. Look at how the game changed in the 2nd half when Benteke replaced Origi, and suddenly the Southampton defence had a problem they were struggling to deal with. They had Origi on toast in the 1st half. Sure, he works hard, is a willing runner, but he is too easy to manage for the opposition. Yet he is our 4th choice striker, so hopefully he will develop in time. I’m just glad Benteke is back. 5/10.
Christian Benteke: Another player that I am on the fence about, as we haven’t really seen that much of him, we’ve changed manager, and I need time to make an educated decision on any player in a red shirt. Well, yesterday will have helped to get me on-side with Big Ben. A stunning goal to cap a very effective performance after being introduced at half-time. Ben caused the Southampton defence problems from the moment the 2nd half kicked off, running the channels, holding the ball up effectively and bringing his teammates into play higher up the pitch. I’m on record as saying that I believe he is a scorer of great goals rather than a great goalscorer – perhaps yesterday was proof that I am right…or perhaps it was the start of proving that I am wrong. I’ll be happy to be proven wrong. Fecking delighted in fact. 8/10.
Roberto Firmino: I’d like to see Bobby F start on Wednesday night in the League Cup game at home to Bournemouth. He didn’t really do much when brought on yesterday. He should start in place of Coutinho certainly. Give Philippe a rest, and Roberto a chance to shine. 6/10.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp
So close to a first win. Yet his REMARKABLE UNDEFEATED STREAK CONTINUES. Not only is he undefeated as Liverpool manager, he’s never even been behind in a match. If he keeps picking Origi ahead of Benteke, I’ll start to have doubts, but I’m confident that won’t happen. Certain, in fact. 7/10.