Liverpool v Borussia Dortmund: Europa League QF 2nd Leg

Simon Mignolet Yellow

Simon Mignolet:



A stunning save was unable to prevent their first goal and in fairness he had no chance with any of the three goals conceded tonight, all stunning finishes by an amazing Dortmund team.

His distribution was top notch all night, he didn’t make any errors.

Extra waffles for breakfast for Migs tomorrow.


Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:



In all truth he had the mother and father of all roastings from Marco Reus tonight. John W Henry has received 732,597 tweets from Liverpool fans over the last three years simply saying ‘Sign Reus’. At 10.03pm tonight he got another, from Patsy Clyne.

However he never gave up, kept believing, ran his arse off in the second half as the new formation demanded the full-backs gave the team width, and he didn’t shirk the responsibility. Tonight will have been a BIG learning-curve for Patsy (and many others) who will have never played against this quality of opposition in club football. It can only benefit him in the future.


Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren:



The metamorphosis of Dejan Lovren is complete. From a no-hope laughing stock just a few short months ago (including a missed penalty as we crashed out of the last 32 of this competition last season), he has now joined the pantheon of LFC legends who have scored crucial late winners at the Kop end on a huge European night. Fairclough and Gerrard have company. That’s right, Gerrard/Fairclough/Lovren. You are not dreaming….

It was a tough night at the back for Lovren and his mates. A very tough night. The swarming, pacy attack of Dortmund – they are by far the best team to have played at Anfield for many a year, but Dejan dug in alongside Sakho and got in numerous crucial tackles/blocks to keep the yellow tide from flooding Anfield.

Just a couple of minutes before his dramatic winner the ball sailed 50 yards in the air and found him free as a bird on the left of the box. He had what medics now call a LAWAV: ‘Lovren at Wembley against Villa’ moment, as he attempted a ‘Van Basten’ volley on the angle and injured an old dear in Row X of the Kop. That was just a ruse though. He had the finale planned all along…


Mamadou Sakho

Mamadou Sakho: 



Take all I said above about Lovren and his defensive ‘challenges’, and add in the fact that Sakho succumbed to temptation to drop just that bit deeper to try and get his head around what the hell was happening as Dortmund charged forward at will. I don’t blame him though, if it was me I’d have been in the dressing room feigning a stroke.

However when a hero was required, Sakho strode forward and delivered when he had to. He hasn’t scored in over 3,000 years, but we needed four tonight and so he led the Scouse Nation forward once more into the breach to score the goal that set up the dramatic finale.

Once Sakho scored, he knew we’d win. Dortmund knew we’d win too. I knew it, deep down. So did you, you can admit it. The goal from Lovren was simply dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. Sakho wrote the whole goddamn contract and got Dortmund to sign it in blood. Legend.


Alberto Moreno

Alberto Moreno: 



For a large part of the match, Bertie was our best attacking threat down the left, eclipsing the efforts of one P. Coutinho Esq. He was sensational going forward, and that perhaps once more showed up the flaws in his defensive play.


If you are the type of left-back who can attack like Bertie, and you play in a team that plays like this Klopp team, who gives a flying f*ck if you’re Paolo Maldini or not. He’ll never be Baresi or Beckenbauer. He’s our Bertie and he’s Bertie the Bomber down the left.

Needs to practice his volleying technique mind…


James Milner: 



When I saw that Milner had been picked as part of the defensive two, against this Dortmund team, my eyebrow shot up and I have now strained it. A couple of weeks of physio should see it right though, don’t worry. However I had genuine concerns about his ability to help control the Dortmund surge that had been highlighted as coming by Tuchel in his pre-match interviews.

In truth, I was right. James Milner suffered all night in central midfield as yellow shirt after yellow shirt surged past him, particularly in the 1st half, and before you could say ‘Milner is not and never will be central midfielder’, we were two down and out of Europe. He then continued to take woeful corner after woeful corner as we desperately searched for goals to give us a lifeline.


You cannot deny the sheer grit, will and determination of James Milner. He doesn’t roar and shout, wave his arms at the crowd, or stand out in any way. In fact I’m pretty sure that his wife and kids don’t recognise him in his own house half the time he is so understated. Yet he assisted half the goals tonight, including a cross saucier than Megan Fox butt naked smothered in chocolate lying in your bed, for the winner. In short, despite everything, he got the job done. Typical Yorkshireman.


Emre Can

Emre Can:



Man alive poor Emre Can will forever break out into a sweat if he comes in contact with a Traffic Warden, Copper or anybody wearing a hi-vis yellow shirt after his ordeal tonight. He was simply overrun in midfield in the first half alongside Milner, but as with everyone else in red tonight he stuck at it and gave it everything he had.

His assist for the opening goal for Origi was sensational, and something he’s been threatening to do all season long. A couple of sumptuous one-twos and a sublime through ball into Origi’s path…let’s hope that it’s just the start of the one thing he needs to add to his game to become the full package – that final ball / goals.

Seemed to twist his ankle late in the game so hopefully it’s not too serious. You suspect his foot could have been falling off and he’d have kept running tonight. Warrior.


Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana: 



In truth he worked hard and seemed to be on the verge of creating something, without actually doing so, once again. However you cannot fault his commitment to the cause as he led the press from the front and was unlucky with a couple of final balls, and made the wrong choice with a couple of runs into the box. He also gave us a spectacular air-kick that made us all chuckle, no matter how dire the situation was at the time. Well, it made me feel better about my own ability.

He was sacrificed to allow the required tactical change as Poor Joe and Daniel helped to turn the tide in favour of the reds. He too sent a text to John W Henry after the final whistle that read: ‘Don’t sign Reus’. Wise words, Adam. From your point of view…


 Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho: 

Dearest Philippe,



You’re also a crafty old dog, playing possum like that. Behave. All quiet and meek and out of the game in the first half, luring Dortmund into a false sense of security. Outrageous.

That goal though. THAT GOAL. You little magician. Congrats too on your nomination for PFA Young Player Of The Year. Well done for letting others win it. You’re always thinking of others and ensuring your utter brilliance doesn’t crush the hopes of dreams of your peers.

Love you



Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino:



Alright, he was a little off his game, but that’s allowed. He’s just coming back from injury, and the video he shot of the crowd on the way into the ground clearly overwhelmed him. You don’t get that in Brazil or Germany. Not to worry, the Europa League semi-final and final (hopefully) is now your stage to perform on.

I can’t wait.


Divock Origi

Divock Origi:



20 years old. TWENTY YEARS OLD.

Leading the line at Anfield on a huge European night. Scoring a crucial goal. Putting in a man of the match performance. Turning Mats Hummels into a quivering wreck. All at TWENTY YEARS OF AGE.

Holy fecking Jesus, what this kid could become. He’s got it all. Seriously, he’s got it all. Pace. Power. Skill. Finishing. Awareness. Heart. Soul. An iPhone 7 (or so I hear).

Divock Origi…Liverpool’s Number Nine…



Joe Allen

Poor Joe:



He should have started. You know it. I know it. Jurgen bloody knows it, now.

Led the charge with sharp passing, impressive strength to hold off players twice his size, and full of confidence trying overhead swivel volleys from 20 yards out. His sheer presence spooked the Dortmund players. That hair. That beard. Those piercing eyes.






Is there a more perfect player to bring on late in the game as you’re chasing a goal?


Anyway, Can was hobbling, and Lucas threw his lot in with the desperate search for a goal. It was great to have him on the pitch for the last 3 minutes to defend the miracle lead too, wasn’t it? Apart from that free-kick he conceded. Ah sod it, everybody in red is a hero tonight.


Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge:


It’s the little things…

With 90′ on the clock, and with Daniel not really having a sniff since his introduction (although his work rate and build up play was impressive), Liverpool had a free-kick, close to the halfway line. It was always going to be lumped in long by Milner. The big lads were up. Dortmund knew what was coming and prepared accordingly.

And then…

The run by Sturridge tore the defensive organisation of Dortmund apart. Suddenly they were panicked. Players were dragged out of position. His pass to Milner took two more players out of the game, and you know the rest.

As I said, it’s the little things. This guy is by far and away the best English ‘footballing’ striker. Better than Kane/Vardy/Rooney (snigger). He’s got the brain. He’s got the finishing ability. If he can stay fit, he’s the best in the league. Better than Aguero. Yes, I mean it.


Jurgen Klopp Unhappy

Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 



Six months.

That’s all it has taken Jurgen Klopp to turn Liverpool Football Club from the type of club that gets humped 6-1 by Stoke City to the type of team that beats one of the best teams in Europe (make no mistake about it, Dortmund could easily be in the last four of the Champions League this season, they’re that good).

There are legendary tales about the half-time team talk by Rafa in Istanbul. I can’t wait for the arms and legs to be added to the talk by Klopp tonight at half-time. If I hear that he morphed into an alien being that hovered above the players like an angel and infused them with super-natural powers, I’ll buy every single word of it.

Three games from the Champions League group stages. One summer ahead when he can bring in the players he wants. A full pre-season with the players to really get to know his ways….

If he can make this Liverpool squad this good in 6 months, can you imagine what it’s going to be like in 18 months? *Drools*


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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