Simon Mignolet: A top class performance from Migs at the Etihad. You could be very, very, very, very (ok, I’ll stop now) fussy about the Aguero goal, where it is arguable that Migs was too far to his right and gave Kun a gaping hole to hit, which he did. He could also have battered the ball clear moments earlier, but I’m not criticising him for any of that. He made a couple of solid saves, and his best moment came when he charged out of his area to clear before Raheem ‘Shitehawk’ Sterling could latch onto a through ball. Remember this: He had Dejan Lovren playing ahead of him. That gets any goalkeeper an extra point by default. 8/10.
Nathaniel Clyne: In among all the goals, the misses, the drama and the hysterical laughing (maybe that’s just me…), our Patsy was involved in an epic battle for the full game. Clyne v De Bruyne. It kind of rhymes. A modern day ‘Thriller In Manilla’, played out on a patch of grass in Manchester. These two went at each other non-stop, neither giving an inch. This was Patsy’s toughest battle yet, and he can hold his head high. Did he dominate ‘The Ginger Cabbage Patch Doll’? No. However did De Bruyne score? Have any tangible effect on the game? No. Clyne won this battle on points. There will be a sequel or seven in years to come, and I can’t wait. Rocky VI will have nothing on this… 7/10.
Martin Skrtel: For 99% of the time that Kun Aguero was on the pitch, all he could see was the inside of Martin Skrtel’s pocket; £35.78, some gum, some pocket lint and his keys. Of course he popped out for 1% to do what world class players do, but this just highlights how good Martin was against such undoubted class. Playing with yet another new centre-back partner this season, Martin led the line superbly, and is really flourishing under Klopp. I get the impression that Jurgen keeps things simple for the players, and this suits Martin down to the ground. Anyway, enough about his ‘performance’, what about THAT goal. Lawks Amercy! That ball stayed hit, eh? There’s a family of four sat behind that goal that owe their lives to the net. That strike was ‘Head & Shoulders’ above anything Joe Hart had in response. D’ya like that? What? Oh… 8/10.
Dejan Lovren: Clangers. Calamity. Clusterf*cks. Class. Which one of these terms can best describe the performance of Dejan tonight? Yeah, I know, I didn’t expect that either. Yet ‘Class’ it was. Well, there weren’t any of the other three in fairness. We had one amusing incident in the 2nd half when a flying volleyed clearance bashed his own hand, but that’s just Dejan’s way of letting us know that it’s really him on the field and not an imposter. He’s in for the foreseeable future, while Sakho recuperates, but after this performance I’m able to sleep at night, and dream of Jurgen… 7/10.
Alberto Moreno: Now this is interesting. A performance from Bertie that didn’t catch the eye due to a moment of madness or ineptitude. While Moreno has been improving rapidly since the arrival of Klopp, he has still littered good performances with numerous ‘WHAT THE F*CK’ moments. Tonight…nothing. He was solid, he was largely untroubled, and it was a very welcome, unfussy, performance. A vast improvement on his last appearance at the Etihad when Stevan Jovetic made him look like a chump. Stevan who? Exactly. He may have lost that battle, but Bertie has won the war. 7/10.
There is a young man called Lucas,
Who prevents many from beating us,
He does it by hook or by crook,
But his name keeps going in the book,
Against Swansea he won’t be with us.
His performance was way better than my poetry. Thankfully. It’ll be interesting to see how we cope without him against Swansea. He’s booked himself a place in the team on Thursday too. The only man who’ll be seeing a cloud on the horizon on this most glorious of sunny days. That’s a metaphor, for those of you looking out the window at the November rain. 8/10.
Emre Can: A backheel. On the edge of the City box. Feeding a Brazilian. Leading directly to a goal. He’ll be boasting about that in the dressing room all week, mark my words. I can’t believe how much time Jackie spent in attack throughout the match. Yet this was symptomatic of the Liverpool display tonight, as they dominated their opponents, negating the need for Can to spend all his time fighting the blue tide that we all secretly expected to wash over Liverpool during the game. He made good use of his attacking licence too, constantly posing a threat to the City backline. One of, if not the best, performances from him in a Liverpool shirt. 8/10.
P-enetration (stop sniggering)
S-exy (football – he doesn’t do it for me. Emre Can on the other hand…)
H-andsome (hang on, where is this going?)
If he ever turns in a performance that is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious then I’m going to stop this idea 7/10.
James Milner: Is he as good as Coutinho/Firmino going forward? Nope. Is he as good as Lucas in defence? Nope. Is he a match-winner? Nope. Do I have an objection to him being in this team? Nope. He works bloody hard. We shouldn’t judge him for his failings either. I mean, imagine you managed to blag your way into the hottest nightclub in town, full of supermodels and wealthy men with chiseled jawlines. You’d be working your arse off to score, but you’d look a bit of a tit. That’s James Milner in a nutshell. When Jordan Henderson is back, this is going to get EXTREMELY interesting. 7/10.
Philippe Coutinho: You’re welcome. It’s all down to me. All credit to me. As regular readers of my blog will know by now, Philippe reads my work, and my earlier criticism of him gave him the kick up the arse he needed to move up a level and start delivering the type of performances we’ve witnessed in the past month or so. We’re back on speaking terms again, but it took many emails, an apology card, and a loooooooong Skype call before it was all sorted out. I’ll level with you, I was a little hurt that he didn’t lift his shirt to reveal a message to me when he scored today. Some things don’t need saying between friends, eh Philippe? Oh, and you were magnificent tonight. World class. Hope the hammy is ok mate. Xxxx 9/10.
Roberto Firmino: Coutinho and Firmino spent the last two weeks working with Klopp at Melwood as numerous other players were scattered all over the world for international matches. They played together in a 3-2 win over Wolves in a behind-closed-doors match at Melwood. (That makes Wolves a top class team based on today’s evidence). The time spent under the tutelage of Klopp paid rich dividends today, and these two are building a partnership that should terrify the rest of the Premier League to its very core. Bobby F’s pass to Philippe for the 2nd goal was sublime – there is no way he could have seen him there, but he knew. He’s a Jedi. What other explanation is there? 9/10.
Christian Benteke: A late arrival, and he was played through on goal within minutes of his arrival. Now, he clearly felt that 3-1 was a comfortable lead, as he decided to troll City by, err, stopping…and then running again. The tease. He then let Joe Hart save his shot. How nice of him. A gentle giant. He’s friends with Jurgen don’t you know, but they’re not best friends. Let’s be clear on that. 7/10.
Jordon Ibe: If any of the front 3 or 4 players drop their standards for a second, this young man is hammering on the door to get his chance. Made an immediate impact upon his arrival, and gave Sagna nightmares. Raheem ‘Shitehawk’ Sterling was looking more than useless at the other end of the pitch. £49,000,000 and we have Ibe? Even Noel Edmonds would approve of that deal. 8/10.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp
One question I was asked by a follower who wasn’t able to watch the game – ‘Is this better than THE Arsenal game?’. If you don’t know what THE Arsenal game is, stop reading now and go back to doing whatever it is you normally do, as it ain’t reading about/watching football. Anyhoo, it was a great question. On balance, it probably is. I mean, as good as THAT Arsenal match was, it was against ‘Arsenal’, the giddy, spineless wabs. THIS was against a team that have won the title twice in the last 4 seasons, and are favourites this year, and it was on their turf. Oh my days. A rating for Jurgen? Seriously? What do you reckon? 10/10