League Cup Final: Liverpool v Man City: LFC Player Ratings

Simon Mignolet

Simon Mignolet:


From the sublime to the ridiculous…and back to the sublime again.

How do you solve a problem like Mignolet? I don’t think even Andrew Lloyd Webber would have an answer.

An incredible save to deny Aguero in the first half. An incredible error to gift City a goal in the second half. Thereafter followed three saves that most goalkeepers would never make in a million years. The laughable thing is that this was probably one of Migs’ finest performances in a Liverpool shirt.

And yet….at the very top level, when push comes to shove, when all the chips are in the middle, one small mistake can be the difference. Liverpool drew 1-1 in extra-time, and he chucked one in.

Five more years…..


Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:


Tasked with ensuring that he won a running battle with a £50,000,000 player. Not just that, but a former Liverpool £50,000,000 player. No pressure.

He got stuck in, I’ll say that much for him. He kept Sterling quiet for the majority of the game, yet the reason that Sterling isn’t hogging the headlines tonight is due to his own shortcomings (geddit? ‘short’ comings….LOLZ. Yes I’m still bitter, sue me).

This was another match where Patsy ‘threatened’ to do something going forward, but never did. He battled gamely in defence, and in fairness he ended up in a back four that Monty Python would have struggled to dream up.

Solid. That’s as good as it gets today.






To be thrown into a Wembley cup final, in a position you’ve only played a maximum of five times before, and to excel as he did deserves serious respect. He was facing one of the worlds greatest strikers in Sergio Aguero, and yet he kept him largely quiet.

Lucas may well have re-invented himself for the last 5 – 8 years of his career on the back of that performance. While we look at the Liverpool centre-back options this summer and decide who/what we need, Lucas now must come into the equation.

He missed his penalty, but it was well saved, rather than a poor penalty. A true leader, in a squad lacking them. Showed more leadership than Henderson or Milner today. Enough said.


Mamadou Sakho

Mamadou Sakho: 


Conclusive proof, if needed, that Emre Can is the toughest player in World Football. Mamadou, a beast in his own right, had the misfortune to head the back of the German’s head. You don’t come back from that. Nobody can.

His passion and disappointment at his substitution is something I adore. I want players who need to be dragged off the pitch kicking and screaming. If you’re happy to trot off after ‘doing your best’, jog on and go and play for Everton. Every player in a red shirt should be willing to die for the cause, and Mamadou showed he was today.

The decision to replace him was of course the right one. The decision to build the Liverpool defence around him for the next 5+ years is also the right one. Mamadou is the next Sami Hyypia. Mark it down. Take it to the bank.


Alberto Moreno

Alberto Moreno: 


Nope. No way. Not happening.

I have sympathy for young players when they are learning their trade. However when Liverpool spent one long summer trying to sign Bertie a couple of years ago, I was led to believe that he was past that stage.

He’s not. He’s so raw/green/inexperienced/useless/sh*te that I wonder if he’ll ever be at the standard required of a Liverpool left-back. Some teams get away with ‘average’ full backs, but with the kind of system that Klopp likes to play, the quality of the full-backs is of paramount importance. Alberto Moreno is not good enough.

Jon Flanagan. It’s the glaringly obvious answer. Sorry Bertie.


Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson:


I understand (kind of) why Brendan made Jordan his captain for the new season. He was the ‘Renaissance Man’, the phoenix from the flames that defied all odds.

Brendan’s gone.

Jordan Henderson is no more the Liverpool captain than I am. I’m sorry, that’s just how it is. Even on ‘top form’, he’s not the main man, and if he ever is the main man, I will weep for my beloved club.

Today he continued on his current ‘form’, which is woeful. His passing is askew. His shooting is awry. To be fair to him he knows this and he has tried to compensate through ‘commitment’ and ‘passion’. One issue with that though….they should be basics before you take to the pitch. They should be supplemented by the necessary quality.

I would drop Jordan for Joe Allen who is back to fitness. Enough said.


Emre Can

Emre Can:


I alluded to this point when I discussed Bertie Moreno, and it applies here. Emre Can is EXACTLY the type of young player that you can see has a huge future and who is currently rough around the edges, but is worth persevering with.

I’d bet actual real money on this fella leading the Bayern Munich midfield in 5 – 10 years time, that’s how confident I am in his ability. He was immense today. In a midfield ‘trio’ that consisted of ‘Captain’ Jordan Henderson and ‘Solid’ James Milner, Emre Can excelled.

Dynamic for the full 120 minutes, capped off with an outrageous ‘panenka’ to start the penalty shoot-out. Another player we should make the ‘spine’ of our team for the medium to long-term. Build the midfield around him. Do it. Do it now.


James Milner: 


Regular readers of my blog will know that the most common question surrounding James Milner has been ‘what does he do?’.

Today we found out.

A jack of all trades, and a master of none – this can be a criticism at times. However it can be a blessing too. James Milner was phenomenal today, for his ability to play in midfield, left-wing and left-back. He did well in every area, and was an asset all day long.

Will he be first-choice next season? I’d doubt it. Will he be a crucial squad player? You bet your ass he will be. If you ever doubt why we have James Milner, watch this game back and remind yourself of his importance.

Oh, and he would probably have taken the 5th penalty. If you’re criticising players for not taking them when ‘you’ think they should have, you’re a massive prick. You’re welcome for this cold bucket of water of self-awareness. Xxx.


Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho: 



Here we go….

Philippe Coutinho will never be the ‘man’ for Liverpool. There, I’ve said it. God, that’s a relief.

He’ll be an important player. He’ll be an asset. He’ll be a threat to the opposition.

However he’ll never lead this team to a league title, or to a Champions League. I’ll be delighted to call myself  a massive tw*t if I’m wrong, and I hope I am, but I don’t think so. I mean, he’s got undoubted quality, but he’s just a bit….flimsy. That burning desire that makes you two feet taller than you are, and two stone bigger than you are, and a beast all around the pitch…he doesn’t have it.

Suarez has it. Gerrard has it. Roy Keane had it. Patrick Vieira had it. Messi has it. Baggio had it. You get me? Coutinho doesn’t have it….yet. Here’s hoping.

He popped up with the crucial equaliser. Fantastic. He tried an ‘Aldridge’ for his penalty. Less than fantastic. I just wasn’t confident when he walked forward to take it. That’s what I’m getting at above. Some players you just KNOW they’ll score. Not yet with Philippe, unfortunately.


Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge:





The talent, ability, quality. It’s all there. It didn’t happen tonight, but I’m not going to be too harsh. His cross led to the equaliser, and my only real criticism is that he sometimes tends to ‘overplay’ when in good positions.

When paired with Suarez, they produced some breathtaking goals, but one thing he should have learned from Luis is that there is a time and a place to just put your head down and have a f*cking go. Smack it. Try it. Have a dig.

There are too many ‘flicks’ and ‘tricks’ being attempted. Sure, they look great when they come off, but I’ve seen Sturridge smack many a goal from 20 yards out, so why not try it more often?

Dear Daniel…Just F*cking Hit It.


Me. xxx


Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino:

The return of Daniel Sturridge has kind of blunted Bobby Firmino, in that it has removed him from the sharp edge of the attack.

He’s got the quality, and he, alongside Sturridge and Coutinho, should have the attack built around him. Do we now have a team that will have a 30+ goal a season man in it? Maybe, in Sturridge. I don’t think Firmino will be that man. So if Sturridge doesn’t fill his boots every season, we’ll need Firmino to chip in with 15+ goals every year.

He can, and he will. Now to get the top 3 to develop that ‘understanding’ that they need. Time and patience is required….and avoiding injuries.




Divock Origi

Divock Origi:


A young player purchased almost two years ago now, based purely on ‘potential’. I’ve seen vast improvement in him since he came back to Melwood and joined the squad full-time.

He terrified the Manchester City defence when he came on with his pace and directness. Where I expected Sturridge to hurt City, it was Origi who was the real blunt force object up front for Liverpool today. You need a direct, on-the-shoulder attacker to scare a team. If you have too many Coutinho/Firmino/Sturridge flicks/tricks, teams can crowd you out and neutralise that threat.

Enter Divock Origi. Another young player I have huge hope for.


Kolo Toure



Playing for a new contract, and he deserves it right now. If you tell me that we are going to let this guy go for nowt, based on his performance today, I’ll cry.

I’ll cry, I’ll stamp my feet, I’ll have snot dangling from my nose, I’ll tug at my testicles and I’ll swear loudly. Basically I’ll act like I do when my wife tells me I’m not getting any tonight.

I love you KOLO. Do me a favour though…kick Yaya in the balls when you get a chance, aye? Ta. .


Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana:

He made a real difference when he was introduced. He spotted where the space was and he exploited it.

He’s a real ‘thinking-mans footballer’ is Adam. He’s like a coach that watches a match for an hour from high in the stands and then comes on to exploit the space he’s spotted. Clever.

Created the equaliser. Had a good penalty saved by that Dick…sorry, Willy. He’ll be around next season, nailed on.


Jurgen Klopp

Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 


A first cup final for Jurgen in charge of Liverpool, and heartbreak. He picked a strong team, and all his decisions were vindicated.

Lucas – Yep, that worked well.

Lallana – Had a real impact

KOLO – No choice, but did brilliantly

Origi – Yep, terrified the City defence.

When you consider he’s only been here for 4 months, and he’s probably used 183 different players….it’s been chaotic. A cup would have been amazing, but it was not to be…this time.

Onto the Europa League…and Manchester United.

You can’t lose that Jurgen. Just to make that clear from the outset.


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.


2 thoughts on “League Cup Final: Liverpool v Man City: LFC Player Ratings

  1. “There are too many ‘flicks’ and ‘tricks’ being attempted. Sure, they look great when they come off, but I’ve seen Sturridge smack many a goal from 20 yards out, so why not try it more often?”

    The issue for me is more fundamental: what was Sturridge even doing twenty yards out? As the only actual goalscorer in our team, I want to see him on the edge of the six-yard box, snaffling chances — not outside the area, clogging up the space that Coutinho and Firmino/Lallana are trying to work in. Our main attacking problem yesterday was that we played with three 10s and no 9.

    I lost count of the number of times that a clever pass beat the Man City defence, and the man running on to it was: James Milner. Most of the times he was called offside (because he’s James Milner and doesn’t have the knack of making those timed runs); the other times he got onto the ball and had no idea what to do with it (because he’s James Milner and doesn’t have the knack of whacking the ball first-time past a keeper who’s only just realising what’s happening). I’m not blaming Milner for this: if anything, I am praising him for getting there. I want to know why wasn’t Sturridge in those positions?

    You have one job, Daniel.


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