Liverpool v Villarreal: Europa League SF 2nd Leg: LFC Player Ratings

Simon Mignolet Yellow

Simon Mignolet:


Happy Birthday Migs!

Happy Christmas Migs!

Happy Birthday Migs!

Happy Christmas Migs!

Sorry, but after a European Semi-Final 2nd Leg, at Anfield, when he barely had anything to do, I just assumed that all of Mignolets’ Christmases and Birthdays had come at once…


Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:


You know that Tom Hanks movie when he’s a young kid transported into the body of a grown man, and he gets to live in New York, have an executive office job and have sex with a beautiful woman? That’s a bit ‘yewtree’ isn’t it? Anyway, I digress…

The main point of that movie was the ‘swap’, and I believe we witnessed the same thing last night at Anfield. Patsy Clyne was possessed by the attacking abilities of Bertie Moreno, and it was magical. All credit to Klopp for setting up a Zoltar machine in the dressing room. That’s the kind of thing that gives you the edge you know. Much better than drugs…

Fantastic from Clyne who was heavily involved in the opener. The quality of his final ball in the attacking areas was precisely 176.398% better than it has been all season.


Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren:


THAT tackle…

They should make t-shirts about that tackle. Posters. Mugs. Duvet covers. It was spectacular. Bakambu had grabbed a yard…inside the box…looked into the whites of Migs eyes…pulled the trigger….DENIED BY LOVREN.

I could say the resurrection is now complete, but it was completed weeks ago. Now he’s just ascending slowly into Anfield Heaven, flipping the bird to everyone and anyone who doubted him.


Kolo Toure



As Dejan continues his ascension, it’s worth noting that it’s not that hard to look like a footballing God when you’re playing alongside an actual real immortal deity in KOLO.

I’m going to let you in on a secret. KOLO is not human. He’s estimated to be 94,728,631 years of age. Here’s his CV:

  • KOLO witnessed the Stone age, the Bronze age and the Iron age, all of them, in person.
  • KOLO designed the pyramids in Egypt.
  • KOLO used to have a T-Rex as a pet (the Flintstones is based on his personal memoirs).
  • KOLO proof-read the Magna Carta.
  • KOLO wrote the original rules for ‘Dungeons & Dragons’. The American Constitution is based on this original draft.

We’re lucky to have him.


Alberto Moreno

Alberto Moreno: 


While the attacking spirit of Bertie Moreno possessed the body of Patsy Clyne, the brain of Gemma Collins possessed Bertie Moreno last night.

I’m not saying the boy is slow to learn, but I’ve seen glaciers melt quicker. He has an uncanny knack of running in the wrong direction when the opposition are attacking us. I mean, it’s not complicated…if they have it, run back towards your own goal to defend. Unfortunately Bertie feels this is a great time to get a head-start on the counter-attack….

Having said all that, he’s brave, he’s committed, and considering he’s a fecking lazy-arse off the field (he uses a Segway to walk his dogs through Stanley Park for example), he’s a ball of energy on the pitch. He just needs to learn…

The Europa League final pitches him against his old club with whom he won the competition in 2014. An emotional night ahead. He’ll just have to keep his head clear and ensure he doesn’t get overwhelmed by the occasion.

Awww crap…..


James Milner: 


Yet another exemplary performance from James Milner Esquire.

I see some fans saying that we were all mean and horrid to James earlier in the season and that he’s been playing like this all the time. To those people, I’d like to say BOLL*X.

His corner taking has gone from ‘Garbage’ to ‘Gary McAllister’. His passing has gone from ‘Sideways Mary’ to ‘Rapier Thrust’. His assist creation has gone from ‘Gabby Agbonlahor’ to ‘Mesut Ozil’. In short, his improvement has been astonishing.

He played two passes last night (both to Adam Lallana funnily enough) that carved Villarreal apart, like a missile into the bow of a (yellow) submarine. Sublime.


Emre Can

Emre Can:


Ankle Ligaments. Six Weeks. Season Over. Euro 2016 in doubt.

Three weeks later, having not kicked a ball in anger, Emre Can strolls onto the Anfield pitch, steamrollers the entire Villarreal midfield into submission and is bombing up the pitch on the break as the clock ticks into injury-time. He’s 22 years of age. He’s bossing a European Semi-Final.





Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana: 



Quiz Quesiion: Name the ‘Three Musketeers’. You have 5 seconds. GO!

If you named D’artagnan as one of them, you’re wrong. HAH! If you didn’t, you’re a smart arse, and nobody likes a smart arse….

They are of course Athos, Porthos and Aramis. There are other notable treble-acts:

The Three Tenors (Domingo, Carreras, Pavarotti)

The Three Amigos (Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Martin Short)

L-F-C (Lallana, Firmino, Coutinho)

Let’s be honest though, all of the above threesomes, while sublimely talented, all have a ‘weak link’. Aramis was weak on his left side, Carreras wouldn’t make it past the X-Factor auditions and Martin Short is funny in a ‘look at that gobshite’ kind of way. It’s harsh, it’s possibly unfair, and it’s the lot of poor Adam Lallana in this trio.

I love him unconditionally however. Nice goal too.


 Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho: 


I’m crying as I type this….give me a moment…

Philippe Coutinho! My Friend!

You are my Ambassador of Quan man.

Love you



Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino:



What Bobby F did to poor Roberto Soldano should not be shown on international television.

Rumour has it that Soldado is still roaming the streets trying to find the ball and Firmino, weeping openly. He’s also being worked on by Boy Scouts who are trying to untie the knots….WOWZERS.

When the big moment called, Bobby F picked up the phone. Creator of the opener. Creator of the second. Creator of the third. Creator of the Earth. Creator of the Cosmos. Creator of Lego.

Some have called it Suarez-esque. I say ‘Suarez-who’?

On a night of many star performers, Roberto Fimino was Man Of The Match.


Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge:


‘He doesn’t want to play for Liverpool. He doesn’t care’.

‘He’s not really injured. He only thinks about himself’.

‘Klopp doesn’t fancy him. He won’t pick him for the big games’.

‘We should sell him this summer while we can’.

If you have ever uttered any of the above nonsense, find a mirror and slap whoever it is looking back at you. Now.

I’m angry. Not at those who doubted him. I’m angry at Daniel Sturridge. How the hell he doesn’t have a hat-trick this morning I’ll never know! However…

The difference this boy makes to the team is like the difference Donald Trump will make to America, but in reverse. He gives us a threat that defenders cannot handle. He gives us movement, skill, vision and ruthless finishing.

Did you know that his stats while playing for Liverpool with Suarez and without Suarez are near identical? Chances to Goals, Assists, Shots…all the same. This is one player you can now PROVE did not ‘benefit’ from playing with a certain Uruguayan. He’s class all on his own. And he’s ours, hopefully for a long time to come.



Joe Allen Jesus Christ

Poor Joe: 


Regular readers of this ‘blog’ (or whatever the hell you want to call it yourself), will know that the ‘Poor Joe’ moniker has been quite apt throughout this season. Every time it looks like things are going to ‘Come Up Millhouse’ for Joe, they instead ‘Come Up Joe’.

Last night seemed to be another case in point. Emre Can was supposed to be out for the season and his place was Joe’s to keep. A new contract was virtually guaranteed after a series of impressive displays. Alas….Emre made Lazarus look like a slovenly student on a Saturday morning and it was ‘Poor Joe’ once again.

BUT! THIS WAS JOE’S PLAN ALL ALONG! Look at the evidence! The beard…The long hair…the uncanny resemblance to the big JC himself.

It was JOE who healed Emre. It was JOE who got Danny Ings back training this season. It was JOE who got Joe Gomez back training this season.

JOE may not have any sliced pan or haddock to work with, but he’s performing miracles in the background.

Worship him. Worship JOE, for he is the second coming…


Benteke Vitality

Christian Benteke:

He came on. He ran around a bit. He earned obscene amounts of money.






He came on late. He bollocked Bertie Moreno (I can only assume it was because Bertie Moreno was being Bertie Moreno).


Jurgen Klopp Unhappy

Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 


Cast your mind back to September 12th 2015. Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool.

A performance at Old Trafford as spineless and gutless as Man City at the Bernabeu this week. Unacceptable, depressing, hopeless.

May 5th 2016. A mere 236 days later, and Jurgen Klopp leads Liverpool to the Europa League final after demolishing Villarreal, with the SAME players.

I could go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and….(you get my point) about Jurgen and the credit he deserves. The man is phenomenal, and gives us all genuine hope and what’s more, genuine belief for the future.

However I’d like to take a moment to give some recognition to some people who haven’t got any in recent months: Brendan Rodgers and ‘The Transfer Committee’.

Jurgen Klopp, by his own admission, took the LFC job because of the quality of the squad he knew he would be inheriting. You can say what you like about the ‘aura’ of LFC, the ‘mythical status’ of the club, but if Klopp saw a clusterf*ck, he’d have run a mile.

While the current group of players (and the manager) were giving a good impression of a clusterf*ck last September, Klopp knew that the quality was there, and just needed new guidance.

So while we worship Klopp and the players (rightfully), take a moment to think back on all the mewling, fewming and wailing about ‘The Brodge’ and ‘The Transfer Committee’, and look at what they’ve left Klopp to work with. There is work to be done, and I’m not saying that they left us nirvana, but they weren’t all bad, now were they?

Now, one more push Jurgen. 90 minutes from the Europa League and the Champions League Group Stages. It’s only Sevilla, what have they ever won?!!!?! What? This trophy? Twice? Balls….


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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