Liverpool v Stoke City: Premier League: LFC Player Ratings

Simon Mignolet

Simon Mignolet:

 

Migs denied Cameron today with a display of athleticism that took the breath away and had the crowd on their feet.

No, he didn’t swing through the window of Downing Street, somersault over the security, tie Dave to a chair, slap Samantha on the ass, force the PM to read every single Panama Paper document and get him to admit to being a lying toerag up to his nostrils in fraud, self-enrichment and being bereft of any morals whatsoever (allegedly), but the save from a Geoff Cameron header was nearly as impressive.   

All in all another very solid display, despite the presence of his Kryptonite. Hitting form at just the right time in the season, but you can’t yet shake the feeling that the next howler is always just around the corner….

8/10 

Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:

 

Despite being just one of three outfield players sent back into action after the Dortmund trip, he showed no sign of being off the pace and put in another solid 90 minute performance. Defended well, bombed on whenever he could, and that’s about it really. No complaints here.

7/10. 

Kolo Toure

KOLO:

 

Once more dear KOLO into the breach.

As Herr Klopp decided to rest/protect his preferred CB partnership (and/or troll Mark Hughes), he entrusted KOLO to hold the fort, even with Martin Skrtel alongside him. To be honest, while he performed as well as ever, he seemed to think that every single set-piece that needed to be defended was a race to our own goal-line, which he seemed to think was the bar where last orders were being called. He was a yard ahead of everyone, regularly playing the Stoke attackers onside.

When you’re part of a defence that allows the smallest player on the pitch to head an equaliser, you automatically lose points. But if you’re KOLO, you get them back immediately, on account of being KOLO. All agreed? Good.

7/10

Martin Skrtel

Martin Skrtel: 

 

Following his last appearance in a Liverpool shirt, where he was the central character in a calamitous capitulation at St. Mary’s, Martin has decided to prepare for life in the F.W.R.P. (Footballer’s Witness Relocation Programme).

He is now growing his hair, and let’s be honest, nobody will recognise Martin Skrtel with hair, so he should get a new club this summer without any problems, probably under a new moniker (knowing Martin he’ll opt for Skartin Mrtel).

Another stroke of genius (or creepy science experiment) is that he has decided to clone himself. Take one look at Ryan Shawcross. Now look at Martin Skrtel. Have they ever been in the same room together, eh? Well?

What? The same pitch? Today?

Right. Fine. Shurrup.

Anyway, Martin was alright, I suppose. It was just Peter Crouch though.

6/10.

Alberto Moreno

Alberto Moreno: 

 

SCREAMER.

That applies to his goal and his overall performance. Solid in defence without any memorable ‘Bertie’ moments, and a real threat in attack, aside from his THUNDERBASTARD to open the scoring.

More of this please Alberto.

8/10.

Kevin Stewart

Kevin Stewart:

There was a young man named Kevin

Who got his first league start at home

He did pretty well

He gave the Stoke players hell

His agent’s holding for Ian Ayre on the phone

 

7/10.

Joe Allen

Poor Joe:

 

Begoneth the Captain, Cometh Poor Joe.

When presented with an opportunity, you should say thank you and grab it. If a gift horse yawns in your face, don’t look into it. If you’re brave, you’ll be preferred by Lady Luck.

All of this is a daft way of saying that Poor Joe has a slot in the first team wide open to him and today he grabbed it with both hands, put it in a headlock and has yet to let go.

He was superb today, a ball of energy all over the park, getting a foot in against his (typically Stoke) bigger opponents, and his use of possession was simple yet very effective. Taken off by Klopp before full-time to protect him (That’s Jurgens’ words, not mine), he is now a crucial cog in the Liverpool machine.

It may be a good time to start talking about a new contract, eh?

9/10.

James Milner: 

 

10 Assists. 7 Goals.

I know….

It’s easy to criticise James Milner. It’s even easy to openly rip the piss out of him. I’ve got nearly a full season of blogging out of it, but I’m man enough to praise somebody when they deserve it.

He got his much-cherished central midfield role today, and he did well. However his increase in assists since the turn of the year needs to be acknowledged – that’s 6 now, 3 more than a certain Mesut Ozil. It’s a funny old game…

8/10.

Seyi Ojo

Sheyi Ojo: 

 

The latest in what is now becoming a conveyor-belt of exciting young attacking talent from the Melwood Academy, following on from the likes of Sterling and Ibe, and he may well prove to be the best of the lot.

A solid first-half was capped off when he stood up Shaqiri, bamboozled him on the left wing, got to the byline and clipped a cross onto the head of Daniel Sturridge to give him a goal that was virtually unmissable. A sensational contribution for such a young man who has now impressed whenever he has been given an opportunity in the first team (let’s not forget his goal at the Kop end a few months ago).

Hopefully his withdrawal at half-time was just a precaution, and maybe Jurgen didn’t want him to reveal all his secrets as he’s planning to use him as his secret weapon for the rest of the season. All I know is that Jordan Ibe must be feeling pretty insecure right now.

8/10

Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge:

My review from the last league game, at home to Spurs, for Daniel:

Shake a leg. Move your arse. Run you f*cking gobdaw.

Just three of the comments I made about Daniel as I watched him stroll about the Anfield turf yesterday.

Yet I make allowances for Daniel. Maybe by standing still he’ll find himself in space? He’s conserving his energy so he’ll sprint onto a through-ball and score? He’s coming back from injury?

I was almost right. As his teammates robbed Spurs high up the pitch through sheer industry and hard work, he was suddenly played through on goal. GREAT! Now he’ll do what he does and score…and he didn’t.

Here’s the thing Daniel. If you don’t work your ass off like your teammates, and you then go on to fluff your lines in front of goal, you’re going to get criticised. Christ, even when you’re subbed you can’t shake your arse to get off with any pace. You’re the biggest conundrum for Klopp this summer. To sell or keep? To build a side around or jettison?

Today’s Klopp Countdown Conundrum is:

LZAY BSATARD

 

Philippe told me on WhatsApp last Friday that Daniel was hurt by my comments, but determined to prove me wrong. Well, I’m delighted to say that you have done just that Daniel. Today was far better and I was impressed with the greater work ethic. Another goal to add to the ever-growing collection, and your partnership with Divock Origi in the second half showed real promise.

Bravo Daniel, Bravo.

8/10.

Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino:

 

Great to have him back in the reckoning as the season draws to a close, but today I felt he was a little off the pace. He played in a slightly more withdrawn role and he has been most effective this season when playing at the sharp end of the attack. He was also without his Copacabana Comrade and is working his way back into match fitness.

All that being said, he worked hard for the cause. A better final ball and it could have been a rave review – the margins are small in this game.

7/10

Substitutes:

Divock Origi

Divock Origi:

 

GOALS! GOALS! GOALS!

Regular readers will know that I’m firmly of the opinion that when Divock adds goals, he’s the complete package. Well put a bow on him and label him, he’s now the full package.

His first goal was unmissable, but he had to get himself into the right area. His second goal was Barnes-esque. Did he mean it? Well Jurgen said he did, and therefore he did. We don’t question Jurgen.

Bring on Borussia Dortmund.

9/10.


Lucas

Lucas Leiva: 

 

The timely return of another very important player for the remainder of the season, Lucas replaced Poor Joe with just over 10′ to go and he did what Lucas does.

Great to have him back.

7/10

Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana:

Replaced Bobby F for the last half hour and was neat, tidy, did at least 6 Cruyff turns and was exactly what you’d expect.

If we could get some end product on Thursday night, that would be just swell.

7/10


Jurgen Klopp

Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 

 

This Liverpool squad (by and large) got humped by the same Stoke squad (again, by and large) 6-1 just under a year ago.

Today, the Liverpool ‘B’ team humped the Stoke ‘A’ team 4-1.

In mathematical terms, Klopp > Rodgers. 8 Goals greater to be precise.

Now we just need him to plunge the knife into the heart of his old love….

8/10.

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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