Liverpool 2-0 Leeds United: The Ranting Red Rebel League Cup Quarter Final Ratings

Simon Mignolet Yellow

Simon Mignolet:


A rare glimpse of the lesser-spotted Mignolet in his natural habitat, and he hasn’t changed a bit.

Well, actually he has. A bit.

A couple of superb saves when danger loomed, and when he came for crosses he didn’t miss them completely. He also got a clean sheet, so these are clear improvements. Did he do enough to shift Fandango from the Number 1 slot? Nah, but he’s helping me sleep better at night knowing that we have a competent goalkeeper on the bench.

He’s showing admirable professionalism in the face of such a public and what must be a humbling demotion, and that’s to his credit. I’ve slagged Migs off on these pages in the past, but credit where it’s due, he’s a good sort.

He’ll be off in the summer like, but wouldn’t we all?


Trent Alexander Arnold.jpg

Trent Alexander-Arnold:


My previous review of T.A.A. was acronymic-tastic following the victory over Spurs:




T.A.A. = A.C.E.



However after last nights display, single letters just won’t cut the mustard. Hell, a 9,000 page tome may not suffice.

This kid is the real deal. There’s a certain other youngster (more on whom later) who caught the eye for obvious reasons, but I felt that the performance of T.A.A. shone like a yellow star in a pit of fish guts in the Australian jungle.

You know that right-back is not the future for this kid. He’s going to rule midfield for Liverpool Football Club for years to come. He’s got it all. Touch. Vision. Drive. Pace. Strength (which will only improve). Eye for goal.

To top it all off, his cross for the opener last night made me make a sex noise. It was Gerrard-esque mixed with Beckahm-esque. Spot his technique as the ball is sprayed wide to him…He chests it down but never looks down at the ball…His eyes stayed firmly glued to the attackers movement in the box, which is why Origi looked like he came from nowhere to prod home, but of course he made the run and T.A.A. put it on a sixpence for him, 2 yards ahead of the keeper who desperately wanted to come for the cross but just couldn’t do it…A peach of a cross.

Man Of The Match and deservedly so. The future’s so bright I’m wearing shades in November.





Lucas knew several victims of the tragic plane crash in Colombia that devastated the Chapecoense football club and claimed many other lives. It would have been very easy for him to withdraw from the game last night, and very understandable too. Who could blame him?

However he knew that we were going to field a youthful team last night, and that his experience and presence was required, so he got out there and did another superb job.

There are many things in football that I can’t quite understand.

  • Paul Pogba’s Valuation.
  • John Stones’ Reputation.
  • Alan Pardews continued employment.

However they all pale into insignificance with the fact that Lucas Leiva is our longest serving player and considered a true stalwart. I’m not saying he doesn’t deserve it, as he obviously does, but when I think back to the fop-haired lightweight who first appeared at Anfield all those years ago, I think I’d have given you 1,000/1 that he’d be here now and be as revered as he is.

Football. It’s a funny old game.

God bless you Lucas Leiva.



Ragnar Klavan:


Fresh from being crowned ‘Estonian Football Of The Year’ for the third time running, a solid cameo from Klavan The Barbarian who was faced with pace, a bit more pace and finally some pace last night.

Whether it was by choice or design, he kept a pretty high line all night, which has knocked about 3 weeks off my expected lifespan, but to his credit he got away with it. Just.

Here’s a question for you…Is Klavan 3rd choice CB? 4th behind Lucas? 5th if Sakho apologises to Klopp enough? 6th if Joe Gomez sends Klopp a heartfelt ‘I’m Sorry’ letter, pretending to be Sakho?

Who knows? Who cares?



Alberto Moreno:



James Milner is now so entrenched in the starting left-back spot, Bruce Willis in Armageddon would struggle to get him out of it.


Kevin Stewart

Kevin Stewart:


A challenging evening for Kevin ‘Bobby’ Stewart, but one he passed well. Klopp threw him in alongside the ‘experience’ of Can (who’s younger than Kevin…) and The Geordie Wine Gum, and they faced a real midfield tussle against a spirited Leeds United outfit who were precisely 428% more positive than Sunderland and 295% more talented.

He got lucky in the second half when he had his shorts pulled down 25 yards from his own goal which led to Roofe hitting the post for Leeds, but aside from that he did the simple things well and tried to keep the team ticking over in terms of movement and passing. He’ll have learned a lot from last night.


Emre Can

Emre Can:


If you could get into a laboratory and combine the physical attributes of Emre with the first touch and vision of Adam Lallana, you’d have a world-beater on your hands.

Unfortunately we can’t, so we have Emre ‘Jackie’ Can with the engine, power and pace but with what is all too often an exasperating first touch and lack of vision.

After the game Klopp alluded to the fact that we didn’t create enough as some players were playing in ‘different’ positions, and I believe that was a direct reference to Emre. He needs two/three touches when others need one. He can see some passes, but not others. If you were trying to quietly pick a lock for nefarious purposes, using Emre Can would be like using a jackhammer to do the job. You’ll open the door alright, but you’ll be caught doing it.

He improved later in the game as the changes came and he found himself dropping deeper in midfield and doing what he’s best at…breaking up play, getting the ball and giving it to someone who’s good at using it. I hope he gets to do that more often.



Geordie Wine Gum: 



Gine found himself operating between two positions last night, but performed both with aplomb. (Note to the FBI monitoring all the interwebz, that’s ‘aplomb’, I didn’t say anything about a bomb…ah sh*t).

When deeper in a midfield role he was astute in his use of the ball and clean in the tackle. When pushed into the front three he was a constant threat and desperately unlucky not to open the scoring when he smacked the foot of the post.

He is also the obscure answer of many a future Pub Quiz question in 20 years time…who set up Ben Woodburn for his first LFC goal? You might think that we’ll always remember that, but who assisted Michael Owen’s first goal, eh? Exactly….



Ovie Ejaria:


*Takes a deep breath and dons helmet*

I don’t think the young lad had a good night last night.

The effort was there, but the end product was lacking. All too often the wrong option was taken, the wrong pass was played or the pass was inaccurate.

However he’s young and the future is still bright, but this must be considered an opportunity missed, and they don’t come along too often. For instance you would suspect that Klopp will pick a near full-strength side for the semi-finals of a cup competition, so where does Ovie get his next chance? Would Klopp look to give Grujic the next chance based on last nights performance?

Interesting times ahead.


Divock Origi

Divock Origi:


The last time Divock Origi started a game for Liverpool (against Spurs in the previous round), his review was:

Marvelous. Superb. Immense. Sensational.

What a shift this young man put in last night. Pace, power, vision, he had it all. He’s been aching to get a chance, and he quite literally (alright, he actually) ran himself into the ground last night, hauled ashore after an all-action 68′ stint that had the Kop singing his name repeatedly.

There will be calls for Daniel Sturridge to get a run in the first team, but this fella deserves for the same calls to be made. I mean, neither will (more anon…), but by Christ are we spoiled for choice in our reserve strikers.

Well, I’m tempted to write the same again, but change the last paragraph. With Coutinho, Firmino, Sturridge and Ings all crocked, Liverpool looked to Divock Origi to save the day, and save the day he did.

We were spoiled for choice with our reserve strikers, but when all choice has been removed, we’re blessed to have had Divock to call on. He has weeks of first choice action ahead of him, and a real opportunity to make himself undroppable.

Go ‘ed Divock lad.


Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane:


He’s starting to show some signs of the inconsistency that I was afraid of when we first signed him (I’ll admit to not being convinced it was the right call), but even when inconsistent he produces moments of magic.

His pass to Gini was sublime and almost brought the opening goal.

His linking with and backheel to Origi for the second was exquisite.

Some were wondering whether he should have been called on to play the full 90 minutes after a full shift at the weekend and another looming on Sunday…don’t forget though that he’s buggering off to Africa for a month in January. It would be a crying shame if he was a wee bit tired for Senegal, wouldn’t it?




Ben Woodburn:


History Maker.

Record Breaker.

17 years and 46 days old.

Goal at the Kop End.

Made Michael Owen cry.

Get that lad a pint. Oh…wait….



James Milner:


Klopp turned to the bench to get the ‘Lucas Security System’ to shut up shop, when it dawned on him that he was already playing, so he turned to James Milner instead.

As Forest Gump would say, that’s all I gotta say about that.



Marko Grujic:


Here’s a picture of Marko celebrating the fact that Klopp remembers that he still exists. An elaborate entrance to the field for a substitute, but each to their own.



Manager: Jurgen Klopp:


Faith. Trust. Momentum.

All of these words are rare in the cut-throat football business, but all are vital for success.

Jurgen put his Faith and Trust in the youngsters and they repaid him in kind.

He risked the astonishing momentum that the squad has built up as no matter how you spin it, a home defeat to a Championship club would be a punch to the solar-plexus. His risk paid off.

There are plenty of tweets/stats out there about the run Liverpool are on since the Turf Moor debacle, but I can’t be arsed to find it, so I’m going to say it’s something like this:


If I were the marketing manager of a certain penetrating oil and water displacing spray I’d be keeping a close eye on the number of unbeaten games Liverpool can get to, and if it got close to 40 I’d be on it like a car bonnet





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