Simon Mignolet: *Sigh*. Liverpool lost a match 2-0 to a team that had ONE shot on target. Migs didn’t really have anything to do throughout the whole match. He had the Wine-Gum cross covered, and was unlucky to see it deflected into his net. He was beaten to the punch by the same Wine-Gum, but the game was gone by that stage. I’m fighting the urge to slaughter Migs here because I have no real reason to…but I’m in a foul f*cking mood after that. You have been warned.
Nathaniel Clyne: On a day when nobody in red covered themselves in much glory, Patsy was one of those that caught the eye in both a positive and a negative sense. In the first half in particular, he was given ACRES of space to run into, which he did. He made numerous dangerous, surging runs into the Newcastle danger area. That’s the positive. What’s the negative? Well….he did F*CK ALL with the ball when he got there. He has the ability to deliver a final ball or score a goal (I’ve seen him do it AGAINST Liverpool for example), but very little sign of it today. Must do better. I could get tired of typing that this evening.
Dejan Lovren: Another very solid, error-free, reassuring display from Dejan, who is enjoying quite the renaissance under the tutelage of Klopp. He’s also one of our most attacking threats at set-pieces these days too. He’s noticeably getting on the end of corners and free-kicks in the past few matches…and he’s noticeably donking them all wide/over. He had two reasonable opportunities today – He beat Elliot to a corner but looped a header high, wide and horn-witheringly ugly. He then had a superb chance late on from a cross by Moreno, but he ‘shouldered’ it through to Elliot with the kind of pace Collocini would have been proud of. Took all threat out of the chance. On another day I’d be praising him for another solid display. F*ck it though, today is not that day. Start scoring goals.
Martin Skrtel: Remember a couple of seasons ago when Martin couldn’t stop scoring? He kept scoring vital goals against the likes of Arsenal and Man City as Liverpool almost won the title…but a lot of people forget that he had to score so many to cancel out the OG’s he got that year too. I think he ended up with a +3 goal difference that year (if I’m wrong, tonight is not the time to tell me…). Well, here we are, fresh from another stunning goal from Skrts against City, and he’s bashing them in at the wrong end to cancel it out. I’d rather he didn’t score the 4th in a comfortable win if it meant he didn’t score an OG to give our opposition the lead. Now level with Jamie Carragher in OG’s in the Premier League for Liverpool. He should keep the bubbly on ice…
Alberto Moreno: Fast becoming one of the most entertaining players in the Premier League, and not just for Liverpool. His all-action, Duracell Bunny style is catching the eye of many. Thierry Henry likened him to Roberto Carlos today. These fecking French have an odd sense of humour. I lose count of the number of times that Bertie is caught out of position, but uses his searing pace to recover and bail himself out of jail. Early in the second half he made a typical lung-bursting run down the left wing…when Newcastle had the ball in our final third. WTF? Yet again however, he scampered back and Liverpool survived. It’s bizarre, but brilliant – just like his disallowed goal this afternoon. CLEARLY onside, and an outstanding cushioned side-foot volley over Elliot into the far top corner. It was a potential ‘Goal of the Season’ candidate, but alas due to the linesman’s parents bumping uglies about 40 years ago this work of art will scarcely be remembered in the future. If you know the lino’s parents, scowl at them tomorrow for me, won’t you? Ta.
James Milner: I don’t know anymore. I really don’t. Is Milner the central fulcrum of this team for Klopp? Always picked, no matter what? Or is he standing in for Hendo as Captain, and in the team as well? I’ve discussed many times this season already that his work-rate is what it is, and is to be applauded, but when we needed somebody to impose themselves on this match – take it by the scruff of the neck – he was…just…well, James Milner. He wasn’t the only Liverpool player who failed to grab the game by the goolies, but he is our skipper. Well, this vessel crashed and burned today under his stewardship. It will be interesting to see if he keeps his place over the next couple of months, now that Hendo is straining at the leash to get involved (tongue flapping in the wind, naturally).
Joe Allen: The best midfield player in the Liverpool side. So that’s Lovren and Allen ‘starring’ in a Liverpool side that lost away to Newcastle. Blimey, I really am in a bad mood. That’s a harsh conclusion to draw. Joe did the basics well, but didn’t have the ability to provide the spark of inspiration that was required. He was ostensibly standing in for Emre Can today who was serving a suspension. He didn’t do enough to keep Can out of the next XI. He did however prove that he will be a valuable squad member as Liverpool fight on four fronts (for the next few weeks at least…).
Lucas Leiva: The sky is blue. The grass is green. Lucas got booked. Normally that’s all perfectly acceptable, but today…it’s not. Lucas had a poor game. A very poor game. From the first minute he seemed sluggish, unsure, his touch was abysmal, and his passing the same. A real shock to the system to see. He has been in stellar form since the arrival of Klopp, and he had the week off to prepare for this match. He may have more time off in the future with Can and Henderson available again. You should all be glad there’s not a puppy within shoeing distance tonight. Grrrr.
Roberto Firmino: Like Robin without Batman, Beavis without Butthead or Stinky without The Brain, Bobby F was vulnerable, lonely and pretty fecking useless today. It also didn’t help that he was part of a front-three with a teenager on too much sugar and…a tree. The lack of movement, pressing and options for Bobby was all too noticeable. The good news is that this issue is very fixable. Right now though Firmino is not the player to grab a game by the arse (I’m running out of parts of the anatomy that players could grab…), and lead the team to victory. I’m sensing a theme here…are you?
Jordon Ibe: A similar first half to Patsy Clyne in that he consistently found lots of space, ran into it eagerly, and then….nothing. He has boundless energy for a teenager (for the next two days until he turns 20 and immediately gets injured, probably – Happy Birthday Jordon by the way). Once more however, it was his lack of a quality final ball that made me swear at Jordon numerous times. He was definitely given too much sugar before kick-off. Every single through ball he played was BATTERED at his teammates. They weren’t slightly too hard or marginally too weak, they were BLOOTERED out of play time and time and time again. If he can add a quality final ball (and the necessary poise) this kid has the football world at his feet. This is a key season for Ibe.
Christian Benteke: The above picture is Big Ben pointing to the mother ship proclaiming ‘I’m not a great finisher, get me out of here…’. This was Benteke’s worst performance in a Liverpool shirt. Whereas Jordon Ibe had too much sugar before kick off, Big Ben had a bottle of Rohypnol. He was slow, lazy and useless. Strong words? Ummm, have you been paying attention at all? I’m RAGING. I stand by the ‘lazy’ tag too. You could see his teammates hussling and harrying the Newcastle players, but I rarely saw Benteke shift that substantial arse into gear, and when he did it was a half hearted effort to make it ‘look’ like he was trying. You know what it’s like – the boss walks past your desk and you call up that massive spreadsheet and pretend to rant down the phone at a colleague about the ‘numbers’. It’s all bullshit, and your boss knows it. He’d respect you more if you just left ByTheMinSport.com on your screen and were open about it. Oh aye, and Big Ben missed our best chance from 2 yards out. What a F*CKNUT.
Daniel Sturridge: He made an immediate impact upon his introduction, simply due to the fact that he ran around a bit. That was a 100% improvement on the man he replaced. Grrrr. He had a decent opportunity on his right foot when slid in superbly by Lallana, but he pulled it horribly wide. In fact, it barely went wide at all, just drifting out of play near the corner flag. That summed up Liverpool’s day. If he was fit, I can’t understand why he didn’t start – we only have a dead rubber on Thursday (more on that below). He seems to be unbroken at the moment. We need to play him while we can.
N – eeded. Should not be dropped or rested.
E – xcellent control and touch
E – nergetic
D – efinitely made a difference when he came on
E – ssential to the Klopp system
D – idn’t think I’d type this a few weeks ago…
Divock Origi: Another player who had an impact when introduced. He’s got pace, and now he’s got confidence, and I wonder (oh how I wonder) how this game would have gone with a front 3 of Sturridge, Lallana and Origi from the start….we’ll never know. (I’m saying 4-1 for sure).
Manager: Jurgen Klopp:
Jurgen Klopp is fallible. He picked the wrong team for this match. I’ve outlined where he made his mistake in my review of the other players above. Of course he can’t legislate for the performance of Lucas, or for the bad luck with the OG. However, that’s looking at how we could have held onto a draw, and I’m talking about how we could have won this game. Firmino behind Benteke does not work. We’ve eviscerated teams with movement, pace and pressure in the top third, and the strike-force he picked today provided none of those elements. We have a dead game on Thursday, so while we have numerous games coming up, I’d rather send Big Ben to Switzerland to lead the line after we grabbed another 3 points in the Premier League. Origi or Sturridge should have started alongside Firmino and Ibe or even put in Lallana ahead of Bobby F. However, I have much man-love for Herr Klopp, so while I’m hurt and grumpy, I’ll forgive…later.
Note: If you enjoy the guff on this blog, you can find me on Twitter (@NiallHawthorne). I’m also regularly contributing to ByTheMinSport.com. Finally I’m a co-host for the best weekly Premier League Podcast in the whole world – @ByTheMinEPL Podcast, which can be found on the website. If you’ve read this far, pat yourself on the back. Xxx.