Simon Mignolet: Had the sum total of f*ck all to do, yet still managed to give me the ‘heebie-jeebies’ for the final 30 minutes of the match. That invisible elastic band that tied Migs to his line in the first half of last season seemed to re-appear. Herr Klopp is evaluating every single player that he has inherited, and you wonder whether he’s looking at Simon and saying ‘Ja, he ist das welt-class keeper und ich bin sehr happy das ich have him’. I studied German for 5 years by the way. I’m a disgrace.
Nathaniel Clyne: Not the flashiest player in the squad, but fast becoming my favourite. This guy has an intensity level that doesn’t drop, and a base standard of play that warms my cockels (my cockels need a minimum temperature of 67 degrees at all times of the year). He had another superb running battle with Ayew on the right wing, and he won that through sheer determination and dedication. His attacks frighten the opposition. His defending delights the Kop. We have a long-term superstar in our team, and I’m delighted.
Dejan Lovren: A clean sheet, featuring Dejan Lovren. There was a reason that Carra and Nev did a full ‘feature’ on Lovren (during his Southampton days) on a Monday Night Football a couple of years ago, and we’re starting to see it. I don’t know what Brendan was whispering in his ear, but whatever it was, it turned his legs to jelly and his brain to…well…jelly. Jurgen has instilled confidence in Dejan (I suspect he used a Vulcan ‘mind-meld’ technique), and it is paying dividends. Should Mamadou come straight back into the team when fit? Well, if you asked me that 3 weeks ago, you’d have suffered hearing damage from my ‘HELL YEAH’ response. However now I’m wondering if Sakho and Lovren can play together? I admit I have been drinking, but still, can we not even wonder?
Martin Skrtel: Returning to the team following a mid-week virus (it’s the same kind of virus that tends to strike me on a Monday morning…), and another solid performance alongside Dejan. He’s had to strike up a partnership alongside three different centre-backs this season, and has done a decent job with each. However, Martin is one of the ‘elder-statesmen’ of the team, and as mentioned with the Migs review, Jurgen is evaluating each player. Does he see Martin as a long-term plan? With the form of Dejan and Mamadou, I’m beginning to wonder. I’m being extremely harsh on a player that has led the team to a clean sheet, so I’ll stop now. Well in Skerts.
Alberto Moreno: Can I copy and past the Nataniel Clyne review and change the names for Bertie? Another extremely solid display at left back for Alberto, who curbed his incessant ‘bombing’ (note to certain world leaders) from Thursday night, but still provided a threat, an out-ball, a dirty Limerick at half-time, and a pair of tickets to Glasto next year for Jimmy Milner. He’s developing into a complete all-rounder, and is nailed into that left-back slot. Well, he does have Jose Enrique as his competition, until Flano learns to walk again. I miss Flano. *sniff*
Emre Can: Jackie is a walking, talking, living, playing Christmas Pantomime show, performing live each and every week at Anfield between now and January. Look at the chiseled jawline. The dark complexion. The coiffed hair. He’s a beautiful man. Then look at his performance today. The tackles. The disrupting. The passing. The drives forward. He’s a beast. If you haven’t worked out my train of thought at this stage, you’ve clearly never been brought to a pantomime as a child, and I’m sorry for your troubles. Indeed, Emre Can is a one-man version of ‘Beauty & The Beast’. Apparently his singing in the shower is something to behold. Is he the longest in the shower? Well, that would be telling….
James Milner: Captain Milner. Captain Match Winner. Captain for the last time? The appearance of Jordan Henderson in the second half must have sent a chill down the spine of Jimmy Milner. He’s been an ever-present in the team since the start of the season (look, I’m not a nerd and I’m not going to check if that’s accurate, but it FEELS like he has been), yet you wonder if he’s going to keep his place as Hendo returns. Who’s he going to replace? Lucas? Emre? After today? Hmmm….Took the penalty extremely well. I’ve decided to name that finish as ‘The Jimmy Milner Panenka’. Nothing fancy, nothing delicate, straight down the middle with the minimum of fuss. Same result. Very Yorkshire. Classic Milner.
Roberto Firmino: Bobby F was rather subdued after the first 25 minutes of this game. During those first 25 minutes however he was dynamic, threatening and…well, his hair is annoying me. I know that’s not a major issue in the grand scheme of things, but if it gets any bigger, it’ll look like Marge Simpson is leading the attack for Liverpool (if a rogue Everton fan swapped his shampoo for blue hair-dye). He was clearly missing his Samba partner, but who wouldn’t? He was also shunted into a slightly different role due to the presence of Big Ben. There’s a debate to be had there. Now? Hell no. I’m drunk, and my dinner is nearly ready. I want to see the Brazilian Brothers together as much as possible. That’s all I’m saying on the matter.
S-weet Jesus, where did you go?
S-hhh, he’s a secret weapon. Well, deffo a ‘weapon’.
Jordon Ibe: The only player in red that was a threat to the opposition for the full match. This is a young kid that has been promoted to the first team by both Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp. He could easily be back in the U-21 side, but his talent, his will to win and his threat is seen as a vital weapon by more than one Liverpool manager. He will be disappointed with his control for the major chance he had in the first half, yet that attack still led to a Swansea defender battering the ball off his own post (the fecking poxy sod). As senior players come back to fitness (Henderson and Sturridge in particular), I’ll be interested to see where this leaves ‘OOJ’ in the grand scheme of things. At the end of the day he’ll be one hell of a threat off the bench, if it comes to that….
Christian Benteke: Hmmmm…what do we do with Benteke? The two most exciting and devastating performances by Liverpool this season did not feature Big Ben in the starting XI. Yet, he’s going to be a crucial part of the squad for the rest of the season…isn’t he? Sturridge was back today, but he’s going to be broken soon, right? So we’ll need Benteke then, aye? That’s a lot of questions, I know, but that’s where I am with the Benteke Conundrum right now (that should be a movie staring Idris Elba by the way). IF Sturridge stays fit, will Big Ben start? IF Firmino and Coutinho stay fit, will Big Ben start? Can you keep a £32,00,000 player on the bench? I suppose if you’re not the one who spent the £32,000,000, you can….watch this space. (That’s a metaphor. I don’t want someone staring at their screen for the next 6 months with this blog on it).
Jordan Henderson: HE’S BACK! The one player that absolutely, completely, incredibly, indisputably suits the Jurgen Klopp all-energy, all-action, style of play. In this brief substitute appearance he showed nice awareness of space and of teammates around him. I’m excited about seeing Hendo in this Klopp team. Fuck it, I’m *MOIST* at the thought. We could be about to see the complete transformation – from the player who was to be jettisoned for Clint F*CKING Dempsey, to the most dynamic complete midfield player in Europe. If you scoffed (or worse) at that sentence, then hold on tight….
Daniel Sturridge: Is he a wimp? Is he scared? Is he one of the best strikers in the world? He could be none. He could be all three. All I know is that when he was introduced, Swansea were TERRIFIED. Within a couple of minutes of his introduction, he received the ball on the wide right of the penalty area, and three Swansea defenders approached….and stood off him, terrified of what he could do. Liverpool sit 6 points off the top of the league, but with a vastly inferior goal difference. This man holds the key to addressing that issue. Jurgen Klopp slaps his players who have done well after a match. He could well be the manager to sort out the ‘delicate’ in the squad. He could also be the manager to put Sturridge out for 6 months with a congratulatory pat on the back….
Kolo Toure: I said it in my last review, didn’t I! (If you didn’t read that, I hate you. Oh, and you can find it here: https://rantsofarebel.wordpress.com/2015/11/27/lfc-v-bordeaux-lfc-player-ratings/
Herr Klopp absolutely ADORES the time-wasting, nonsensical, yet oddly satisfying substitution with seconds to go. Yet again, I’m not fecking rating a player for 30 seconds on the pitch.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp
Can he outwit an opposing manager with billions at his disposal? Absolutely. Can he guide a team through a tricky mid-week Europa League tie and qualify the team with a game to spare? Yep. Can he grind out a win against a mid-table Premier League side who had all week to prepare? You betcha! Can he have my wife for the night if he asked nicely? Well….I’ll get back to you on that. Six points off the top of the league after 14 games. We’ve played Arsenal, Spurs, City, United, Everton, Chelsea and Stoke away from home already. Am I giddy? God, aye. Am I expectant? Not yet, but hope is building. Of course, hope is what kills you in the end….
By the way, if you’re wondering what the featured picture at the top of this blog is, it’s of Gerry Byrne, who played over TWO HOURS for LFC with a broken collarbone in the 1965 FA Cup Final. He was also a member of the 1966 England World Cup Winning Squad. He died this week. A true club legend, who pushed himself through unimaginable pain for the good of our beloved club. RIP Gerry. YNWA.