Liverpool 2-2 West Ham: The Ranting Rebel Ratings

loris-karius

Loris Karius:

 

Last week I wanted the next picture I saw of Fandango to be on a ‘WANTED’ poster, charged with impersonating a goalkeeper. You’re probably expecting more of the same today, but I’m feeling a tad more composed this evening. Therefore I’ll take a colder, less emotional look at his performance this afternoon.

For the Payet free-kick he was too far to the left of the goal and didn’t have a strong enough wrist when he got a hand to what was in reality a decent, but not superb, free-kick.

For the Antonia goal / Matip clusterf*ck, he was hesitant, and as the old saying goes “To hesitate is to lose”. His centre back did drop a considerable bollock, but he had a chance to rescue the situation.

In both examples he merely added more fuel to the fire that is currently raging as to whether he is really good enough at this level. We’re not talking about a lump of coal that was added to the fire, we’re talking about 30 litres of petrol with last years Christmas Tree floating in it.

To his credit the only thing he had to do in the second half, he did well. He was quick off his line, got a firm punch on a dangerous cross and split Andy Carroll open, all at the same time. He gets an extra point for that.

When managers sign a top-class goalkeeper they say that their new signing will be worth 10 points a season to their team. This doesn’t mean that they’ll make world class saves regularly throughout the season to keep wins from becoming draws, or draws from becoming defeats. What they’re saying is that their new signing doesn’t drop clangers very often, the likes of which clinch defeat from the jaws of victory. For an example, see Bournemouth away last week and West Ham home today.

Klopp has a tough decision to make, similar to one that faced Brendan Rodgers a few seasons ago when Simon Mignolet was faced with the exact same barrage of criticism. Brendan chose to take Mignolet out of the limelight to regain confidence and composure, and brought him back a number of weeks later.

The man to benefit from that was Brad Jones, now plying his trade in Holland, and this week the recipient of the ‘Goalkeeper Of The Year’ award in the Eredivisie (I sh*t you not). The man who could benefit from a similar decision by Klopp would be Simon Mignolet.

Football, you have a very sick sense of humour.

6/10 

Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:

 

We find ourselves looking at another source of rich, delicious irony as we come to Patsy Clyne…undoubtedly our best defender who we need to be a dynamic right winger for games like these….

It’s all well and good praising him for being rock-solid at the back, but the truth is that in most games at Anfield this season, he’s going to be required to attack, attack and then attack some more. The cold harsh reality is that Clyne is limited going forward, and opponents have worked this out. When defending deep and in numbers, it’s usually Clyne that has the available space wide-right, which is a deliberate decision by opposing defenders. ‘Let him have it, he’s unlikely to do anything with it’. Unfortunately for the most part, they’re right.

If you think that I’m being harsh, consider how much attacking Liverpool have done this season, how many times Clyne has bombed up the right wing in support of that attack and that since the opening day of the season he has contributed exactly 0 goals and 0 assists. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. Now compare and contrast with James Milner (penalties excluded).

Oh, hang on…

7/10. 

Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren:

 

Hooked at half-time, or at least that’s what you think happened…

The truth is that Herr Klopp lost his rag during the break. He was roaring German expletives at his troops, spittle flying from his foaming mouth splattering the dressing room walls like a plasterers radio. The glasses went flying, Origi was crying in the corner and Klopp flung a water bottle at the door of the toilets.

Unfortunately Dejan had just dropped a yule log and was coming out to face the music, only to get beamed with the flying bottle, knocking him spark out.

Klopp actually called for Lucas to replace him, but he just found a Lucas shaped hole in the dressing room door as the Brazilian stalwart had pegged it in sheer terror.

Of course Klavan The Barbarian wasn’t afraid (well, he was, but not as much as the others), so he stepped in.

I have no further update on the condition of Lovren, nor the water bottle.

7/10

joel-matip

Joel Matip: 

 

What a disaster last weekend was at Bournemouth. We missed Joel Matip massively. He brings such calm and assurance to our defence. Once we get him back, everything will be fine. We’ve only conceded a couple of goals when he’s played. He’s the answer to all our woes…..

As his father Billy Joel always told him “Teamwork is everything. No one person is more important than the team, and beware of those who tell you otherwise. People lie Joel. People lie all the time. They’ll tell you that you’re the King, but you need your teammates, always and forever”.

Billy also reflected these feelings in his seminal 1978 hit ‘Honesty’:

If you search for tenderness
It isn’t hard to find
You can have the love you need to live
But if you look for truthfulness
You might just as well be blind
It always seems to be so hard to give

Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

Joel had been adamant all week that the failings at Bournemouth were not just due to his absence, but nobody would listen to him. Lovren/Lucas/Clyne/Milner spent all week slapping him on the back and telling him that he’s the answer to Liverpool’s defensive woes, every question on Mastermind and global warming.

Therefore Joel was left with little option but to show them that they were wrong, hence his (very deliberate) cock-up that presented West Ham with their second goal.

It’s a tough lesson to learn, but I think we’re all the better for learning it.

Thank you Joel (and Billy).

9/10

james-milner

James Milner: 

 

James Milner has been exceptional at left-back this season, hasn’t he?

Well….

Aside from his penalties (and he has been exceptional at converting those), he has, like his counterpart at right back, spent a lot of this season roaring up the left flank, and he’s contributed….one assist.

I know, I couldn’t believe it either, but I checked the FPL website (and wept when I saw what my team scored this week), but it’s true. One assist (at home to Leicester City), and he has been part of a defence that has conceded 15 goals in 13 games in which he’s played.

I’m not blaming Milner for all of our defensive woes, and he’s the one that is learning a new position, but a critical eye has to be cast over his contribution, particularly as the role of the full-backs is so central to how Klopp’s 4-3-3 system works.

So in summary we have a dodgy keeper, a centre back who wants to teach us all a valuable lesson, another who’s name is Dejan Lovren, and two full backs who haven’t really done much this season.

Splendid. Merry Christmas me arse.

6/10

Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana: 

 

Welcome back Adam.

How we’ve missed him. A sublime first touch followed by a clinical finish put us on the front foot early doors, but alas that was not enough for us to kick on to three points.

Lallana is a Rolls Royce of a footballer. His touch and vision is exceptional and he’s going to be crucial to Liverpool over the hectic Christmas period while we wait for Phil to return, and then throughout January when Mane buggers off to Africa.

On a side note, if you’re planning on getting Adam Lallana a gift this Christmas, make it a Nivea gift set, aye? Just for a laugh. G’wan, I dare ya.

8/10

Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson:

 

On Christmas Eve millions of children will leave out a fresh carrot for Rudolph as he treks across the globe delivering presents to every child on the ‘Nice’ list.

On Christmas Eve Jordan Henderson will sneak into Darren Randolph’s house and shove a carrot up his arse for making ‘that’ save.

Yes, that’ll put Jordan on the ‘Naughty’ list, but to be quite frank, do you think he gives a f*ck? That shot was heading for the top bin. It was perfect. How f*cking DARE Randolph make that save. The b*astard.

7/10.

Wijnaldum

Geordie Wine Gum:

 

I lost count of the number of times that Gini broke into the box, was picked out with a lovely pass….and then needed about three touches to get it under control and get a shot away. Needless to say he wasn’t afforded the time to get his shot away…

Christina Aguilera rose to fame with her hit ‘Genie in a bottle’. I’m so frustrated at this result that I’d like to cover that song with a minor change…I’ll call it ‘Gini I’d Like To Bottle’….

JUST F*CKING HIT IT MAN…

6/10

 Divock Origi

Divock Origi: 

 

Four goals in four games.

You can’t really ask anymore of a 21 year old who’s still trying to find his way in the game. Imagine if Marcus Rashford had 4 in 4? The whole nation would be sticky due to the flood of media orgasms…

You can tell that Origi hasn’t quite got the same level of telepathic understanding as Coutinho has with Firmino/Mane, but that’s to be expected. He started this season as the 5th choice for the front three spots…

Should Daniel Sturridge find fitness in the near future, you’d be hard pressed to find a reason why he’d start ahead of Divock. Mind you I think it’s 50/50 who’s more likely to turn up by Christmas day. Santa or Sturridge? Place your bets now….

8/10.

firmino

Roberto Firmino

 

Oh Bobby…

My theory on his poor form being linked to the absence of Phil is well documented on these pages, but it just seems to be getting worse and worse.

The daft ponytail / top knot / PS4 antennae was shorn during the week, but alas it didn’t have a ‘Reverse Samson’ effect

We also all know that he’s got motivation to get back on the scoresheet too, as the details of his goal bonuses have been revealed. I’m a big fan of that by the way, as it gives us all an insight into the motivating factors for these multi-millionaires. I don’t care how much money you have, if you know that you’ll get an extra £45,000 for every goal you’ll score, it gets your attention. I mean, that’s an extra gold toilet brush for all six toilets in his gaff. I’m dying to know how many bottles of Nivea Adam Lallana got for his goal today.

I have a theory though that if you look back on Bobby’s peformance today there were numerous occasions when he put himself in a superb position where a single visionary pass would put him clean through and sure to score….

Unfortunately his mate who played him all those passes is crocked, and nobody else is seeing his runs…

Patience Bobby, patience. Keep plugging away.

7/10.

Sadio Mane.jpg

Sadio Mané:

 

When Joel Matip revealed that he had turned down his countries invite to the African Cup Of Nations, everybody at Liverpool Football Club was delighted…apart from one person…

To say that all eyes at Melwood were on Sadio Mane would be an understatement. I’ve heard that Sadio wore sunglasses 24 hours a day for the last 4 days to avoid eye contact with anyone at the club. He’s torn between loyalty to his country and the demands of his teammates and manager.

To his credit he’s doing all he can to ensure Liverpool are in as strong a position as possible when he leaves. He came off at Bournemouth after having a leading role in putting the side 3-1 ahead, only to see it all fall apart. Today he ran West Ham ragged on both wings, setting up both goals. I suspect we’ll appreciate his talent all the more come February, but for all the wrong reasons.

8/10

Substitutes:

Klavan

Ragnar Klavan:

 

Did you notice the difference between West Ham in the first half and West Ham in the second half?

Aye, they were terrified to even try and attack us in the second half.

Klavan The Barbarian, ladies and gentlemen.

7/10


klopp-new

Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 

 

I’m not one for demanding that a manager should purchase someone during the transfer window just for the sake of it, but I have one question tonight:

Why name certain players on the bench if you’re not going to use them?

I’m all for giving youth a chance and had no issue with the likes of Woodburn, Alexander-Arnold and Ejaria being on the bench, but I do have an issue with them not being called upon when the opportunity arose. Does Jurgen not believe in them enough to call on them when needed? If so, I presume he’ll be very active in the January Transfer Window…

As for the other issues in the team, I liken it to No-Limit Texas-Hold-Em Poker. Everything in the universe, including Poker and this Liverpool team can be explained and understood through mathematics. No matter how many times you have ‘moments of magic’, you’ll eventually be undone by your weaknesses, as the law of averages always, always comes to pass.

Liverpool have weaknesses in defence, and no matter how often they score 2 goals in a game, eventually the law of averages will come to pass and those weaknesses will cost you. That’s what we’ve seen against Bournemouth and West Ham. You may be one of those who can’t quite understand how we concede so many goals from so few shots on target against us, but that’s maths for you. We went over 5 hours without conceding a goal, but that was an anomaly. So was conceding 4 at Bournemouth.

The much-respected Irish football pundit and ex-player/manager of his country John Giles says that Jurgen Klopp is a one-trick pony, but that it’s a hell of a trick….

That’s quite an accusation from a man who has seen pretty much everything in football. For the first time this season questions are being asked of Jurgen Klopp, and with games coming thick and fast for the next few weeks, it’s going to be fascinating to see how he answers them.

Will the ‘one-trick pony’ be sent to the glue factory or will he win the Grand National?

7/10.

Note: If you enjoy the guff on this blog, you can find me on Twitter (@NiallHawthorne) or on Facebook (facebook.com/rantsofarebel) If you would like to pay me to write like this, please do get in touch.

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