Liverpool v Man Utd: Europa League Last-16, 1st Leg: LFC Player Ratings

Simon Mignolet Yellow

Simon Mignolet:


Liverpool fans know that Simon has been a bit ‘flappy’ in his time at the club. He tends to stand out from the crowd, just by being himself. Yet he’s an ever-present, always there. He does tend to make me a bit of a ‘Grouch’ at times, and I can ‘Count’ on one hand the number of fantastic games he’s had for us.

Credit where it’s due though, he kept a clean sheet last night. He managed to ‘Snuffleupagus’ out the United attack, which had me laughing like ‘Elmo’ in a feather factory.

Alright, I admit it. I liked his yellow kit, even if he did look like ‘Big Bird’.

Today’s Player Review Blog will be brought to you by the Letter ‘Y’ as in ‘Y-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssssssss’ and the Number ‘2’ as in ‘2-0’.


Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:


I like to think that I give credit where it is due, so for this review, two players are getting massive credit:

Patsy Clyne – His best game in a Liverpool shirt by a long, long way. He was targeted by ‘the next Thierry Henry’ (stop laughing…) who played wide left for United, but Clyne battled hard and won the war. He then attacked with what can only be described as vim and vigour and even with a dash of gusto. Won the penalty to give us the lead, unleashed a scorching shot in the second half, and didn’t put a foot wrong all game. Superb.

Jon Flanagan – Of course we could just blindly pat Patsy on the head and marvel at his performance, but we should ask ourselves why his level of performance improved so dramatically? Simple: COMPETITION. Flano is pushing for the shirt, and pushing hard. Patsy knows it. He has to perform to keep it. So some credit for last night must go to Jon Flanagan too.


Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren:


Hands up who thought that Dejan Lovren stood out last night? Hang on, I can’t see any of you…that was a stupid idea.

Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that I didn’t notice Dejan at all last night, in the best way possible. He was imperious, solid, flawless and handsome. Sorry, getting carried away there, but you get my drift.

I prefer it when my CB’s are invisible and awesome. I’d like to be invisible and awesome. The things I could do….

I’ve said too much.


Mamadou Sakho

Mamadou Sakho: 


The ‘Yang’ to Dejan Lovren’s ‘Yin’.

Equally as solid and impressive, but slightly more noticeable due to his ‘style’. I alluded to this in my last review where I scolded the Liverpool fans that believe him to be ‘a liability’ and ‘unable to control his limbs’. Well, I’m glad to report that I am not alone in my thinking, and that one of the greatest minds of our time agrees with me. I have proof too. Look:

Joey Barton Sakho

And this is what I said during my live blog of the game last night on

ByTheMinLFC Snippet 10

I think back to the 1st half incident when he missed his kick in the box and tried to recover by imitating a drunk octopus at a rave on an ice-rink. Magic.

See, there you have it. If Barton agrees with me I know I’m right.


Alberto Moreno

Alberto Moreno: 



At one point in the game the Spanish referee asked Bertie to ‘calm down’.


That’s like asking Donald Trump to stop talking boll*x. It’s not going to happen.

His usual effervescent self. I remain to be convinced to be honest…that he’s a defender…that he’s a long-term LFC player…but job done.


Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson:


Anfield on a European Night. Floodlights. The Kop in full voice. Banners. Flags. Scarves. YNWA turned up to 11. United. In Europe.

If ever there was a night when you could step up to the plate as LFC Captain, last night was it.

Cometh the hour….Cometh Jordan Henderson….kind of….

I don’t want to be harsh, I really don’t, but looking at that team last night, the missing piece of the puzzle was a mobile ‘Alonso’ type to compliment the combative Can, to link the defence to the attack and to release the front 3 or 4 quickly.

Jordan is many things, but he’s not an ‘Alonso’ type. Big decisions to be made in the summer by Herr Klopp….


Emre Can

Emre Can:


22 years old. Born in January 1994. When Baggio was bashing that penalty over the bar in California, Emre was breast-feeding. When the Spice Girls were ‘zig-ah-zig-ahhing’, Emre was watching Thomas The Tank Engine (in German, probably). When Zidane led France to World Cup glory, Emre was leading his pre-school class in finger-painting.

Yet he dominated the midfield once more last night, outshining Morgan Schneiderlin and Marouanne Fellaini with consumate ease.

Speaking of a new LFC captain in the summer…..


Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho: 


Dearest Philippe,

As regular readers of this blog know, you and I are friends, and you eagerly await my musings on your performance each and every week.

You were very good last night. Full of your usual flair, skills, flicks and tricks, and unlucky not to score with a superb long-range effort in the second half.

However, there is one thing I would like you to do for me. Could you please read this book and/or watch this movie?

My Left Foot

It’s a harrowing tale of human spirit overcoming adversity…AND FINISHING SIMPLE CHANCES WHEN THEY FALL ON YOUR LEFT FOOT….

Thanks. xxx


Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana: 


No player in the LFC squad gets more hugs from Klopp than Adam Lallana. I’m not sure why that is. Could it be that he looks like a shorter, mini version of Klopp, without the specs? Could it be that the Nivea has made his skin as soft as a baby’s bum to the touch? Could it be that he’s exactly the kind of player that Klopp wants in his team? Could it be that he’s in red-hot form right now and contributed yet another assist and was unlucky not to score?

It’s probably the Nivea….


Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge:


It’s ok, you can admit it. No, really, you won’t be judged, we were all thinking it too…

As Daniel stood over that crucial penalty kick, our thoughts turned back to the Merseyside Derby two seasons ago, when Daniel was on the verge of an historic hat-trick with a pen in front of the Kop…that ended up in the Kop….

He was facing De Gea last night, a footballing phenomenon who is single-handedly keeping Manchester United in the Premier League. Worth 10 points? That fella is worth 35 points and counting. Damn you Read Madrid and your wonky fax machine. Ever hear of Whats App? Eh? Flutes.

Anyway, a solid hour from Daniel, a well-taken goal and a very impressive sulky face when taken off. You could put a cup and saucer on that bottom lip. Excellent. I hate when players are happy to be hauled ashore.


Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino:


Shall I compare thee to a summers day? What a beautiful man. An intoxicating mix of sublime skills and murderous desire all wrapped up in a Brazilian adonis.

The pass to Pasty Clyne to win the penalty….sumptuous.

The finish for the second goal….nonchalant.

The hair…all the cool kids will be wearing it soon.

I’m in love.



Joe Allen

Poor Joe:


Joe gave a passable impression of Andrea Pirlo hepped up on goofballs and fizzers.

The luxuriant hair and beard. The quick feet. The eye for a pass. The control of the game. The manic intensity.



Divock Origi

Divok Origi: 


6 minutes to frolic on the Anfield turf like a young gazelle exploring the savanna for the first time.

David Attenborough, eat your heart out.


The Kop

The Fans:


Jurgen Klopp only made two changes as the third sub, the extra man, was in play from well before kick-off.

As the teams prepared to leave the tunnel, the BT Sport director did something so many forget to do…he turned everything off and let the occasion speak for itself. This was not your Sky/BT ‘Look at this, it’s fecking brilliant because we tell you it is’, this was sheer, raw emotion among 40,000+ fans packed into their place of worship.

The rousing rendition of YNWA made the spine tingle. The passionate chants of ‘Manchester’ from the Anfield Road End juxtaposed with the choral gospel raining down from The Kop. It was unique. It was magic. It was Liverpool v Manchester United.

Far too often Anfield is far too quiet on matchdays, but not last night. From the first minute to the last, the atmosphere spurred on the players and the management. Klopp was seen standing in front of the Kop before kick-off, puffing his cheeks out at the sheer drama and fervour of it all. THIS is what he signed up for. THIS is what he’s been waiting for. THIS is the atmosphere which makes his frenzied goal celebrations look ‘normal’. THIS is his new home.

The chants from the away end degraded into disgusting mocking and taunting of the 96, which has been rightly condemned by all who have a brain. However we must not return the favour next week at Castle Greyskull, lest we sully the memory of those taunted last night. I believe in our fans that they will refrain from lowering themselves to that level, and I pray I am right…for once.


Jurgen Klopp

Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 


Momentum. Belief. Character. Klopp.

It’s a pity the season is drawing to a close. Let’s hope that Liverpool charge over the finish line clutching silver and celebrating….


Note: If you enjoy the guff on this blog, you can find me on Twitter (@NiallHawthorne). I’m also regularly contributing to 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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