Middlesbrough 0-3 Liverpool: The Ranting Rebel Ratings

Simon Mignolet Yellow

Simon Mignolet:


Guess who’s back, back again
Migs’s back, tell a friend
Guess who’s back, guess who’s back
Guess who’s back, guess who’s back

I’ve created a monster, ‘cause nobody wants ta
See Karius no more, they want Migs, Loris is chopped liver
Well, if you want Migs, this is what I’ll give ya
A little clean sheet mixed with some hard liquor
Some vodka that’ll jump start my heart quicker
Than a shock when Karius drops another cross
Then blames the defenders for not co-operating
When I’m rocking back and forth in my chair while he’s operating (heyyy!)
You waited this long, now stop debating
‘Cause I’m back, I’m in nets and you can stop debating
I know that you got a job, Ms. Karius
But your fellas causing heart problems that are complicating
So the LFC fans won’t let me be
Or let me be me, so let me see
They try to shut me down on LFCTV
But it feels so empty without me
So, come on don’t slip, that’s a tip
F*ck that! Karius’s slips got on your tits
And get ready, ‘cause this shits about to get heavy
I just got my place back in goals; f*ck you, Achterberg!

Now this looks like a job for me
So everybody, just follow me!
‘Cause we need a little controversy
‘Cause it feels so empty without me
I said this looks like a job for me
So everybody, just follow me!
‘Cause we need a little controversy
‘Cause it feels so empty without me

I’d like to thank Eminem for the inspirational lyrics, Simon Mignolet for giving me 90 minutes without heart failure and Loris Karius for being deported…

Did you not hear? Theresa May read my last two reviews and spotted a ‘Johnny Foreigner’ in the UK pretending to do a job.

Don’t blame me. You lot voted for it. Remember kids, Brexit is for life, not just for Christmas.



Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:

My last review for Patsy read as follows…

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…

Did you see that cross for the opener for Lallana? Well, did you?

You’re welcome.


Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren:


Dejan passed his Head Injury Assessment better than a common George North so was back in the line-up, and he performed reasonably well, all things considered.

It’s upsetting when the gaffer knocks you out with a flying water bottle so you can understand why at times he seemed to be a bit jittery on the ball. He was probably afraid of another bottle heading his way. It’s not joke trying to keep your eye on the ball and your manager all at the same time.

In any case, a clean sheet alongside another new partner, and this went much better than it did at Burnley.



Ragnar Klavan: 


Some say that a cold, dark December night in Middlesbrough is about as bleak as you can get when it comes to playing football.

Klavan The Barbarian disagrees, considering this is where he comes from:


The Riverside Stadium was the equivalent of the Copacabana Beach to Ragnar and he thoroughly enjoyed himself. It showed.



James Milner: 


Ebony and Ivory. A classic tune by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, and an apt simile for the performance of James Milner last night.

Talk about a game of two halves.

His first half was like a harrowing scene from a war movie. I’m reliably informed that he had a touch of PTSD in the dressing room at half time, but as we all know, James is from ‘Oop North’ and made of tough stuff, so he just bloody well got on with it and was superb in the second half.

Surging runs down the left, linking well with Origi and turning the threatening Adama Traore into a bystander.


Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana: 


Oh me, oh my.

What a player. What a talent. What a time to be alive.

Last weekend I called him a ‘Rolls Royce of a footballer’. Scratch that, he’s a fleet of Rolls Royce cars. A showroom of Lamborghini models. A phalanx of Ferrari Testarossa.

In short he makes every man drool.

I’m changing my Santa list and getting Nivea, Nivea and more Nivea. That sh*t must be goooooood…..


Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson:


Only Cesc Fabregas made more passes than Jordan Henderson last night, and let’s be honest, Cecil Fibreglass has had weeks of rest to prepare.

He makes us tick. He makes us tock. He’s our hickory dickory dock.

I have no idea what that means, but you get my drift.



Geordie Wine Gum:


Regular readers of this blog will know that last season I felt that Adam Lallana was like a boy trapped in a time-warp, always a second ahead or behind of those around him. He always did the right thing, but at just the wrong time.

Last night, the whole Liverpool team were like that for the first half. I couldn’t believe how many times a pass was made to a teammate that was just behind him, or just to the right of him or just to the left of him. It was never quite to feet or into the path of the onrushing player, and this stunted our flow and rhythm constantly.

There was nobody more guilty of that than the Geordie Wine Gum, who also added in a bizarre need/desire to take one touch to control, another touch to ensure he had control, a third touch to double-check he had control and then he would pass it.

The effect of this is to frustrate your teammates to the point of distraction. Liverpool are trained and drilled all week in the quick, fizzing movement of the ball at all times. Runs are made off the ball in anticipation of a teammate getting it and moving it on first time. Therefore when a pass causes a player to stop or adjust or take 2/3 touches to control, the run that has been made is wasted, and everything stops and has to start again. Take a look back at that first half again and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

Incredibly though the second half was the exact opposite. I’m not quite sure what Klopp did to fix it. It could have been his decision to play Bobby Firmino more centrally, but that couldn’t have caused all 11 players to suddenly play the ball perfectly to feet and into each others paths, could it? Maybe he just took out a bloody massive spliff, gave them all a toke and they went out all relaxed and just let it flow….

Anyway, I digress. Gini was a new man in the second half. His first touch was outstanding, his vision improved 100% and he was central to all that was good about arguably the best half of football Liverpool have played this season. His role in the second goal was proof of that. He’s also Dutch. Hmmmm…..

Maybe for him it’s a confidence issue that compels him to take extra touches when his teammates are setting off on dangerous runs. If so, hopefully last night will have given him all the confidence he needs and he’ll kick on from here.

A few goals would also be nice, considering he was top scorer for his club last season.


 Divock Origi

Divock Origi: 


4 in 4 has become 5 in 5

I saw some moaning on-line after last weekend that his link-up play wasn’t all that and that despite his goals he should be shifted wide etc etc etc

Well last night I thought his all around work was ‘triffik as Jamie Redknapp would say.

His understanding with Firmino/Mane is growing as they become accustomed to each other (funny that), and he’s now added an assist to his incredible stats this season.

There were chortles, gasps and groans at the LFC bench last night as the kids took their seats on the sidelines, but few seemed to recognise that it’s one of our ‘kids’ that is hauling us through the ‘Coutinho-less’ games, with some aplomb.

Now, does Phil get back in the team then?




Roberto Firmino


He’s back!

Bobby is back!

Did he step out of the shower at half-time to be told that the last few games were all a dream?

Did Jurgen Klopp cut his own finger so blood oozed out of it, then touched Bobby on the chest and told him that he’ll be alright from now on?

I don’t know, and frankly I don’t care. Bobby Firmino was back to his brilliant best in the second half last night, playing more centrally, and the whole thing just clicked.

Is Phil crucial? Aye.

Is Adam a lynchpin? Aye.

Is Bobby the glue that holds it all together? I suspect so….


Sadio Mane.jpg

Sadio Mané:


Could have had a bloody hat-trick!

He looked like his own name as he trudged off the Riverside Stadium pitch. ‘Sad’io indeed. He really, really wanted a goal last night and did everything he could to get one.

Still, he was a constant thorn in the side of ‘Boro and played a full part in a super away win.

As K.W.S. said in the 1990’s…’Please Don’t Go’






Another prime-time advertisement for ‘Shut Up Shop Ltd’

He’ll make a fortune in the security business when he retires.



Ovie Ejaria:

Another appearance bonus which should be enough to buy his mother something nice for Christmas.

He’s a good boy is Ovie.



Trent Alexander-Arnold:

A Premier League debut and in midfield too. For about a minute.

I suspect he’ll spend a lot longer in the LFC midfield in years to come.



Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 


Very funny Jurgen, very funny. You scamp.

Just because I wondered about you not using the kids from the bench last weekend you decided to chuck ’em on with seconds left. Ha Bloody Ha.

So, here we are, 16 games in and second in the table. Just 6 points off securing our Premier League status for next season. Marvellous.

Now, there’s a wee matter of a Merseyside Derby on Monday night Jurgen. Less than a week before Christmas. You know what Christmas is all about Jurgen don’t you? Gathering together with all your family for days on end, even if you don’t like them, and pretending to all get along.

Now imagine doing that when half/all your family support the Blue half of Merseyside, and they’ve beaten us in the Derby just a few days before….

There’s not enough alcohol in the world to make that bearable Jurgen, so it’s all on you.

No pressure boss.


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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