Borussia Dortmund v Liverpool: Europa League Q-F 1st Leg: LFC Player Ratings

Simon Mignolet Yellow

Simon Mignolet:



A commanding performance on a difficult European away night. Whisper it, but he resembled a ‘competent’ keeper last night. While he didn’t have any outstanding saves to make, everything he did was done extremely well. Admit it, with a few of those routine ‘saves’, you half expected the ball to spill from his grasp to the feet of a Dortmund attacker…but they didn’t.

Don’t think that Migs lacks sentimentality either. On the very ground that Cruyff introduced the ‘Cruyff Turn’ to the world, Migs paid homage to the great man with two of his own. What a wonderful gesture. Another wonderful gesture would be paying for my cardiac operation caused by the very same turns. Jaysus…

I suspect it will take a lot of these kinds of performances to change the perception of Migs in the minds of the Liverpool faithful, but every journey begins with a single step. Of course some of those journeys start on the edge of a cliff…


Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:



It’s always wise to heed a warning.

  • When the bank writes to you to threaten to take your house…
  • When a Scotsman tells you he is going to ‘mash your heed’…
  • When Dortmund carve you apart in the first 20 minutes down your wing, but your team just survives…

Patsy did just that. Well, I don’t know if the bank are after him or if he p*ssed off a Scotsman recently, but after the Dortmund scare he grabbed hold of Lallana, ran his hands down his exceedingly soft Nivea-moisturised cheek, looked deep into his eyes and they promised each other that they would heed that warning.

Patsy is a wise man.


Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren:


I’m not one for all this Opta stats boll*x, let me make that clear. I like to judge football with a sophisticated system that I call ‘watching’, aided by an app called ‘remembering’.

Last night, I saw that Dejan Lovren was immense once more. Since his roasting at the hands of Shane Long at St. Mary’s (and his subsequent withdrawal), he has faced Spurs and Dortmund, two of Europe’s form teams and he has excelled.

Last night was the pinnacle of the Lovren/Sakho partnership too. While Sakho was bailing out Lovren at St. Mary’s, and Lovren was bailing out Sakho at Anfield against Spurs, last night they were in perfect harmony, mopping up behind each other on the rare occasion that Dortmund managed to threaten.

One thing Dejan must do this summer is practice scoring goals though. Man alive, that header…although kudos to Dejan for heading the goalkeeper in retaliation for saving his effort. Quite right.


Mamadou Sakho

Mamadou Sakho: 


My review of Mamadou following his Jekyll and Hyde performance at Anfield last Saturday:

To his credit, he took the half-time break to pop some Prozac (NOT from Dr Mark Bonar, I hasten to add) and was far more solid. Sakho is a player that splits opinion among Liverpool fans more than most, but I am firmly on the side of ‘He’s fecking ACE and if you don’t agree you’re a flute’.

My flabber was well and truly gasted therefore as I read numerous articles, and heard numerous people (who shall not be named to protect their identity/integrity/reputation/loved ones from ridicule) wonder whether Martin Skrtel should come into the reckoning for the Dortmund match.

MARTIN SKRTEL? The only thing Martin Skrtel should come into the reckoning for is the Donkey Derby.

The block in the first half after Dortmund carved us open…you’re not moaning about his bandy limbs now are you, eh? His crisp passing into midfield to launch attack after attack. Glorious.

He had Aubameyang in his pocket all night too. That’s the 36-goal Aubameyang attracting attention all over Europe. I admit, I can’t say ‘Aubameyang’ without adding ‘a-ding-dong’ to the end of it (go on, do it, it’s therapeutic). A Twitter follower (@ClownTrousers) also informed me that ‘Aubameyang’ is the first four chords to Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. Again, try it. It’ll make you giggle. Well, it made me giggle.


Alberto Moreno

Alberto Moreno: 


For 99.9% of the match, Alberto Moreno put in arguably his most professional, disciplined and best performance in a Liverpool shirt.

For 0.1% of the match, ‘Bertie’ appeared and could have easily been sent off…

For the life of me I can’t work out how a professional footballer can launch himself into a two-footed challenge, studs up, 100 yards from his own goal. It’s bewildering. He got away with it, somehow. Just when you think you can see a reliable defender breaking from the mould, the mould explodes and covers you in goop.

Bertie…ya boll*x.


Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson: 


I should have seen it coming really. It’s become a familiar tale of woe. Just when a Liverpool player puts in his best performance of the season, he then gets struck down by injury in the very next game. (Somebody better wrap Dejan Lovren in cotton wool, quick).

A typically all-action first half performance in a match tailor-made for Jordan Henderson, as a team with superior possession passes the ball all over the pitch, allowing Jordan to scamper after it, tongue lolling in the wind, thoroughly enjoying himself. His passing was a bit off, particularly in the final third, but his work-rate was crucial in helping Liverpool stem the tide of Dortmund pressure and put them on the front foot after the half-hour mark.

I hope his knee injury doesn’t cost him his Euro 2016 dreams. Get well soon Jordan.


Emre Can

Emre Can:



Hard to accurately judge Emre Can’s performance after his early booking for…well…for failing to magically teleport himself out of the way of a Dortmund player running into him.

He therefore needed to be careful for the remainder of the game, which will naturally take the edge off an all-action combative midfielder as Can undoubtedly is. However he refused to take a backward step and made numerous well-timed and crucial tackles throughout the match.

For homework, I would like Emre to stay back after training every day to practice ‘THUNDERB*STARDS’. He regularly finds himself with the ball at his feet, 30 yards from goal, and I miss the Stevie G potshots, so to see a few screamers fly in the net would be just swell. Also, seeing as he’s German, I’m sure he could ensure a 95% success rate, right? Vorsprung Durch Technik and all that gubbins.


Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana: 


People who remind me of Adam Lallana:

  1. David Walliams – Amusing without actually being ‘hold my sides, I can’t breathe anymore, funny’.
  2. Hawkeye – A member of the ‘Avengers’, very talented, but aside from easily winning Olympic Gold medals in Archery, he’s not exactly The Hulk…
  3. Stephen Mulhern – A very competent light-entertainment presenter, but he’s not Ant. Or Dec. Or Dermot O’Leary.

Get my point?


 Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho: 

Dearest Philippe,


You OK hon? Everything alright at home? It’s just that you were, well, you were quieter than a quiet thing in a library being told to shut the f*ck up by Stone Cold Steve Austin.

I know I ribbed you about being a cocky show-off with all your recent wonder goals, but I was just messing. I blame myself, you still haven’t learned when I’m being serious and when I’m ripping the piss out of you.

To be clear, nothing I ever say is serious, unless I say ‘Seriously’ first. Even then, it may not be. Got that? Good.

Love you



James Milner:

Two moments to remember from James Milner yesterday:

  1. Leaping like a salmon to head the ball into the path of Origi to assist the opening goal. Cracking.
  2. Trying desperately to fit his bulging biceps into the Captains Armband at the start of the second half. He loved it. Really, really loved it. Bless.

His usual hustle including one memorable pivot-turn-dragback in midfield that befuddled his opponents, bamboozled me, and flummoxed the worlds’ media. Marvelous.


Divock Origi

Divock Origi:

My review of Divock Origi from last Saturday:

A quality weapon to have on the bench. Pace when defenders are tired. Strength when defenders are…well…tired.

Now we just need to add goals.

My review of Divock Origi from the week before v Southampton:

Honestly, all that’s missing with this kid is goals, and you get the feeling that once he starts, he will be hard to stop.

I know that’s a potentially stupid/obvious thing to say about a striker, but he does everything aside from the goals very, very well. He’s strong, holds the ball up, runs in behind, stretches defences, gets flick-ons, has searing pace…he’s the full package.


And you all doubt me when I say that the Liverpool players read this blog….

A sensational performance from Origi last night, doing all I described previously, but with the added GOAL. Probably should have had another but denied by a smart save. He’s only 20 and don’t forget that this kid started for Belgium in the 2014 World Cup, so he would have been only…hang on…*counts fingers…and toes…does subtraction…carry the 1…* EIGHTEEN years old.

The future is bright. The future is Origi.




Joe Allen

Poor Joe:


Oh my…

Oh my oh my oh my…

I thought he was superb when he came on. He did everything that Jordan offered in the first half, but his distribution of the ball was, in my opinion, far better.

He’s got a real run in the team ahead of him (potentially for the rest of the season), and while the club don’t seem to be offering him any new deal, this could well be his audition for Klopp and for a new contract.

Of course this is Poor Joe we’re talking about, so he probably shouldn’t walk under any ladders anytime soon…


Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino: 

He’s back. He has one week to prepare for the second leg. Let’s keep him away from those Stoke butchers, aye?


Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge:

It was very kind of Jurgen to limit his lazy arse to just 6′ of action last night. Maybe a bit harsh, but he really annoyed me last Saturday.


Jurgen Klopp Unhappy

Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 


I thought that Jurgen conducted himself remarkably well in an environment that very few of us will ever experience in our lives.

I can only imagine that it would be like going back to the last company you worked for, as a competitor, getting the red carpet in the door, the best car parking spot reserved for you, the office hottie on his/her knees waiting for you (delete as applicable) *ahem* and slaps on the back all around as you try and put them out of business….bizarre.

It was a bold move to select Origi ahead of Sturridge, but one I agreed with pre-match, and which obviously paid dividends. He’s drilled an extraordinary amount of discipline into a side that only last October were as disciplined as Donald Trump in Hooters.

It’s only half-time, but for the love of God Jurgen, chuck the Stoke match this weekend, aye? Play Ibe and Brannagan and Stewart and…well, play the FA Cup 3rd/4th round teams again. We’re four matches from the Champions League group stages and from the UEFA Cup  Europa League…


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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