West Ham v Liverpool: FA Cup 4th Round Replay: LFC Player Ratings

Simon Mignolet

Simon Mignolet:

 

Migs is now in a desperate bid to ‘Ward’ off the threat to his place. His performance last night was decent in fairness. A number of smart saves, and an inordinate amount of crosses claimed with the minimum of fuss. There was the odd flap or two, but he didn’t have a chance with either of the goals. He’s damned good at saving penalties too so it’s gutting that he didn’t get a chance to show off once more.

Of course the challenge for Mignolet is to produce last nights performance for 36 out of the next 38 matches, at least. That’s the standard being set by the best goalkeepers in the league, and if you’re in goal for Liverpool Football Club you need to be at that standard. At least.

8/10

Jon Flanagan

Jon Flanagan: 

Another invaluable step on the road to recovery for the Scouse Cafu, and another impressive performance. There’s something raw and uncut about Flano that grabs you by the throat and makes you take notice. His tackles are ‘crunchier’. His tussles are ‘meatier’. His head glanced off Kouyate and he barely blinked. Kouyate was carted off proclaiming to the world that he was Batman. That’s how hard Flano is.

I look forward to seeing Flanagan appear more often as the season progresses, and to seeing him evolve into the senior Scouser in the squad. Every Liverpool squad needs a senior Scouser. No better man for the job.

7/10

Tiago Ilori

Tiago Ilori:

I’m going to put it out there…the most makeshift of makeshift central defensive partnerships produced the best central defensive display I have seen in a Liverpool shirt this season. Ilori played his part alongside Lucas, producing a remarkably mature and composed performance, all things considered. Neat and tidy with his passing, good reading of the game, crisp in the tackle and decent in the air.

Tiago benefited enormously from the direction given by Lucas throughout the match, but a young player thrown in at the deep end at least deserves a blow-up doll to cling to, no? Is that just me? No wonder I’m barred from my local swimming pool.

7/10

Lucas

Lucas: 

If only I can remember a defensive midfielder for Liverpool who dropped back into defence and founds his natural position….nope, nothing. It’s never happened before. Jamie Carragher even said so. Hang on….

While it may be late in his career for a full positional transformation Lucas has produced a central defensive performance that will be remembered for a long time to come. He was immense all night in guiding a defence playing in front of Mignolet (Challenge 1), alongside the inexperienced Ilori (Challenge 2), alongside Baby Brad Smith (Challenge 3) and the two-year rusty Flano (Challenge 4). Combine all of these challenges with the fact that Lucas is not a centre back and you just have to sit back and shake your head in amazement.

I’ve seen some bell-ends blame Lucas for the concession of the free-kick that lead to the winning Hammers goal, but that’s the most spurious spouting of spume that I’ve ever seen. It was a gift from the referee, and in any case I’d rather my centre-half was tight to the attacker in the 120th minute of a cup tie than stood off allowing him to turn. Well in Lucas.

9/10

Brad Smith

Brad Smith: 

Flamin’ Norah! Strewth! Bonzer! This young Australian is quicker than Cathy Freeman on the left wing and has more energy than Shane Warne on a booze cruise. I lost count of the number of times that he was the furthest forward Liverpool player on the pitch, constantly raiding and delivering quality balls into the box. For the first 55′ the only thing he had to aim at with his crosses was a statue in a white shirt. If he’d been able to aim for a Sturridge or Origi, he could easily have had 3 or 4 assists and we’d all be raving about him.

I’m calling it. Brad Smith to start ahead of Moreno as standard from now on. Nobody can claim he hasn’t earned it. He’s no worse defensively and he’s dynamite going forward. To think we almost let him go for nowt.

8/10

Kevin Stewart

Kevin Stewart: 

For the first few appearances by Kevin I penned a poem to describe his performance. Not today. Today I’m simply going to say that he was ‘Poetry In Motion’.

I’m seriously impressed.

7/10

Pedro Chirivella

Pedro Chirivella:

While this season has presented many, many challenges, chief among which has been many, many, many injuries, Herr Klopp has remained jovial and smiling throughout. Is he simply a jolly man? Is he off his tits on drugs? Is he mentally unhinged? Or is he getting the chance to dabble in the thing he loves the most as a manager – unearthing hidden gems and polishing them until they sparkle?

The name ‘Chirivella’ has been whispered in the halls of Melwood for a few years now, despite the fact that he’s still a child. Yet he’s never really been given a chance by any manager…until now. Chucked into the white hot crucible that is an FA Cup 4th round replay, away to a tough, rugged and very grown-up team like West Ham, Pedro was outstanding. He lasted over 100 minutes and never looked out of his depth.

The football superstars that are now at Borussia Dortmund, or have moved on to even bigger and better things, were mostly unheralded before Jurgen Klopp started working with them. There’s a fair chance that Klopp could well do something similar with Liverpool, and an even better chance that those hidden gems are lurking in Melwood right now. These kids could save us £100,000,000 in transfer fees. God knows we need something like that. With our track record we’d probably end up with Phil Jones, Kyle Walker and Samir Nasri if we tried to spend that wedge.

8/10

Joao Teixeira

Joao Teixeira:

Can perhaps consider himself unlucky to be hooked on the hour mark as Klopp rang the changes in both personnel and tactics. Teixeira showed once more his potential and in the first half he easily outshone his senior teammate Philippe Coutinho. He linked well with Benteke, which should ensure he’s in the running for the Balon d’Or in fairness, and his constant prodding and probing caused the Hammers issues continuously.

The only drawback with Tex is that he’s physically slight. I recommend a hearty diet of creatine sandwiches and full fat milk. It’s worked for me. *Flexes muscles* *Burps*

7/10

Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho:

10 minutes into the second half anybody passing my house last night would have heard me roaring at the TV…’Don’t chip it….Don’t chip it….Don’t chip it…..DON’T F*CKING CHIP IT……’

He didn’t chip it. He bluffed, double-bluffed, gave the eyes to all 11 Hammers and 2,689 ladies in the crowd, and then he finally rolled the ball under the wall and into the back of the net. It takes a special type of genius to do that. We have a special type of genius in a Liverpool shirt. He spanked the post in the 1st half too. Welcome back Philippe.

Now to get him on the pitch with Firmino and Sturridge. Christ, even the thought of it means I can’t walk anywhere for a few minutes.

8/10 

Jordan Ibe

Jordon Ibe:

I’ve decided that this season is a season of education for Jordon. He may not shine as brightly as we hoped he might, but he’s learning all the time. Soon my friends, soon. Soon Jordon Ibe will graduate from ‘talented kid’ into ‘superstar’. Have faith. It’s coming.

7/10

Christian Benteke

Christian Benteke: 

 

*Takes a deep breath*

Asshole. Gobshite. Tosser. Flute. F*cknut. Useless. Moron. Flange-dangling-bottle-squatter. Failed Masturbator. Barn Owl Fiddler. Pigeon Worrier. Fish Fancier. Cretin. Flatulent. Smelly. Rancid. Softcock. Muppet.

His general play was better than I’ve seen in a while, in fairness. However all of the above stands.

Grrrrrrrrrrrr………..

5/10

Substitutes: 

Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge:

He causes so much utter frustration when he’s injured, because of what he does when he’s not. His performance last night for an hour was so good that it brought me to the verge of tears. Not because of what he did on the pitch. No, it was because he reminded me of what we’ve been missing in all these matches. Sublime skill. Head and shoulders above every other attacking player last night. Pace. Vision. A constant threat. This fella is world class. No doubt about it.

England head to Euro 2016 with talk of Vardy or Kane. PURRRRLEASE. The best English striker is Daniel Sturridge. Of course I hope he never plays for England again for purely selfish LFC reasons. He’s worth persevering with. Forever.

8/10

Divock Origi

Divock Origi:

Looked a bit rusty to be honest. He was still 1,000 times better than Benteke, obviously. As Liverpool have trundled along for the past couple of months with no fit strikers (and Benteke), they suddenly had two on the pitch last night (and Benteke). Something about London and London Buses. I’m just not arsed to craft that gag.

7/10

James Milner

James Milner:

Brought on for two reasons, after 101 minutes.

  1. To use his experience to guide the game to penalties
  2. To take a penalty

Feck.

7/10

Jurgen Klopp

Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 

 

He knows the difference between ‘pain’ and ‘real pain’, isn’t that right Daniel? Rumour has it that he had his freshly harvested appendix in his pocket, ready to wave at Sturridge should he complain of a niggle at any time last night. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made Daniel eat it with his pasta today, to drive home the point.

Automatic 10/10 for turning up to work hours after being cut open.

10/10

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.

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