Liverpool 4-1 Stoke City: The Ranting Rebel Ratings

Simon Mignolet Yellow

Simon Mignolet:


I know a guy, and that guy is in sales. It’s a tough gig, he’s always under pressure to deliver results. Anyway, a few years ago he secured a contract with the biggest company in the world. It was the first time that the biggest company in the world had required the product he was selling. It was a big deal, and he knew it would lead to lots more big deals in the years to come. He’d hit the mother-load. As the doughnut vendor said to Marge in The Simpsons…’Lady, you’re husband is putting my kids through college’. It was THAT big a deal.

A few months later, as the boss was putting the usual pressure on the sales guy, the sales guy defended himself by pointing out the lucrative contract secured with the biggest company in the world. You know what the boss said?

‘Yeah, but why did we not have that contract for the last three years?’

There’s no pleasing some people…isn’t that right Migs?

He could have saved Walters’ header. It would have been a stunning save, but if you’re looking for reasons as to why/how that goal was scored, you could name about 4 outfield players more at fault than Migs.

Just 10 minutes later and Migs produces a genuinely top class save, denying The Lord Joe Allen (just after his birthday too…), and keeping Liverpool in a game that they went onto win comfortably. Do you think that it would have been a stroll had they found themselves 0-2 behind after 25 minutes? Aye, me neither.

One goal conceded in three games. A crucial save at a crucial time. Yet all I’m seeing is more wailing and gnashing of teeth about ‘Liverpool’s Goalkeeping Situation’ (L.G.S.). Certain club legends (who talk an awful lot) are ‘telling’ Jurgen Klopp to go and get Joe Hart.

Is that the same Joe Hart who had a ‘Mignolet’ before Mignolet had a ‘Mignolet’? The same Joe Hart that was bombed out of the Man City team for being a bit, well, sh*t? The same Joe Hart that was sent to the Coventry of Italy this season, not seen as good enough by the coach of one of our main rivals? THAT Joe Hart?

Nah…not for me Clive. I’m not saying Migs is the answer, but having purchased one of the top rated keepers in Germany during the summer, and bowing to pressure (and common sense) to take him out of the firing line, the last thing Klopp should do now is to muddy the waters further and throw a Joe Hart shaped cat among the Achterberg pigeons.

Having decided to back Migs just three weeks ago, it’s time to keep backing him. He’s done very little wrong…this time around…


Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:


A very wobbly initial 20 minute spell, followed by 70 minutes of rock-solid, decent, professional Christmas fare.

Some people say that Clyne was ‘poor’ at the start of the game, but some people don’t understand Jon Walters. To the untrained eye of the non-Irish football fan, he seems to be a journeyman pro, making the most of his limited abilities to forge a career at the highest level he possibly can. However they’re all wrong.

Jon Walters is Highlander, and as we all know, there can be only one.

Jon Walters is 489 years old, and has been playing professional football since the 1800’s. He’s described as an old-fashioned target man, rough and ready and good for a rumble, and that’s exactly what he is. He’s a throwback to the ‘old days’ because he played in the old days. Tom Finney hated him. Nat Lofthouse called him a ‘cad’. Dixie Dean thought he was the toughest opponent he ever played against. Clive Allen was afraid of him. Elisha Scott once conceded 4 goals to him in one game.

Now ask yourself, if Jon Walters, with ALL that experience, decided to give you a hard time, would you be able to get on top of him in just 20 minutes? Aye, thought so.

Well in Patsy.


Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren:


Dejan loves Christmas. It’s his favourite time of the year. Good food, good times and good music making everyone jolly and merry.

His favourite Christmas tune is ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ by Shakin’ Stevens. Dejan has had it on loop in his home and car for the past three weeks, and unfortunately it had a damaging subliminal effect on him last night. Let’s face it, he was ‘Shaky as f*ck’ for the opening half, but Jurgen straightened him out at half time by threatening him with a week of nothing but Cliff Richard ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ if he didn’t buck his ideas up.

Jurgen is a master of psychology. Dejan had no issues in the second half.



Ragnar Klavan: 


How do you tackle a Barbarian?

Some think that Mark Hughes decided to beat the beast with the size of Peter Crouch. It certainly looked like Ragnar was put off by the scale of the Crouch Mountain, but I can exclusively reveal that it had nothing to do with Crouchy and his physical presence.

Y’see Ragnar is only just getting to grips with the celebrity lifestyle of the socialites in the UK. Crouchy knew that so in the first minute he took out this picture of his missus and informed Ragnar that he was married to this lady and she’s a scouser too….

Abbey Clancy.jpg
Merry Christmas! 

Now I’ve still not got my head around the fact that Crouchy pulled Abbey Clancy. To say he’s punching above his weight would be like saying…no, I don’t have anything to even come close to matching that…

Ragnar was shocked. Stunned even. His head was gone. He kept looking at Peter’s ‘features’, then thinking about THAT photo, and it just didn’t compute. The poor guy was mentally drowning in confusion.

Thankfully at half time, after Jurgen sorted out Dejan Lovren, he pulled Klavan aside and told him that Abbey Clancy has a soft spot for any Liverpool player who impresses on the field…ét voila, Klavan The Barbarian rose again (in more ways than one…)



James Milner: 


While his defensive buddies were having some issues for the reasons detailed above, James Milner was busy being James Milner. Quietly effective, full of beans and throwing in a cheeky assist to boot.

The left-back slot for Liverpool has been filled by players that have ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous over the years (and in the case of John-Arne Riise, both…), but we’ve got a gem on our hands this season.

He faces his old teammates on New Years Eve, and you wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to test him with the likes of Sterling / De Bruyne / Nolito / Navas having a pop at him.

An extra cup of cocoa on Friday night and James will sleep a contented sleep and dream of emptying his pockets at the stroke of midnight to allow all those attacking City players to celebrate the arrival of 2017 with him.


Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana: 



Adam is a very popular lad in the Liverpool squad. Everybody likes him. I mean, what’s not to like? He always comes across as very polite, well-mannered and the kind of guy you would have no hesitation in bringing home to meet your Mammy, or bringing to your favourite strip club in Bournemouth…

In fact he’s so popular that he even commands an undying respect and loyalty from ex-teammates. His goal yesterday is categorical proof…a pass from Lallana to his old teammate Glen Johnson, who instinctively played a sublime wall pass to Lallana to allow him to smash home from a tight angle.

There aren’t many players in the world who are so nice that opponents will actually provide them with an assist.

What a lovely boy.


Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson:


Jordan Henderson has made more passes this season than Donald Trump has made in his entire life towards women.

That’s a staggering statistic, and even more apt since Jordan has faced a number of p*ssies this season (Hi Ross!).

One sublime pass from deep in midfield out wide right that sailed 50 yards in the air into the path of a teammate will live long in the memory. If Alonso / Messi / Gerrard had done that etc etc etc….

It wasn’t that long ago that some were openly discussing who would be Jurgen Klopp’s ‘real’ Captain, almost accepting that Jordan’s captaincy role last season was a hangover from the dying days of the Rodgers era.

Well I can’t even countenance somebody else being Captain of Liverpool Football Club these days. His personal transformation from makeweight in a transfer to Fulham to where he is now (and where he could be headed) should be made into a movie. Well, if they make a movie about Jamie f*cking Vardy (and his stupid masks), then why not?



Geordie Wine Gum:


I have it on good authority (because he told me) that Gini Wijnaldum got enough packets of Wine Gums at Christmas to put Willy Wonka out of business.

Footballers have a very limited sense of humour….

However Gini’s Christmas has been brightened by the rumour linking Quincy Promes with a move to Anfield. He’s very eager for his Dutch colleague to join him at the club, as demonstrated by this less than subtle message on Instagram:

Quincy Promes Instagram.jpg

Now you may think that Gini is lonely and would love a fellow countryman alongside him in training each day, but I can reveal the real reason he’s so anxious for him to join….

It’ll give me another daft name to target and I could even park the ‘Geordie Wine Gum’ moniker once and for all (as bloody if…sorry Gini…)


 Divock Origi

Divock Origi: 


In Charles Dickens seminal classic ‘A Christmas Carol’, the main character was visited by three ghosts over Christmas – The Ghost Of Christmas Past, The Ghost Of Christmas Present and The Ghost Of Christmas Yet To Come…

Last night Divock Origi was visited by all three, and they were all Daniel Sturridge.

When the man who replaces you is doing his wavy arm dance within a minute of coming on…well, it’ll fair scare the sh*t out of you…

With two games in 48 hours on the horizon you suspect both Divock and Daniel will get minutes, but it’s what happens after that and while Sadio is in Africa that will be really interesting.

Will The Ghost Of Ryan Shawcross’ Backpass come back to haunt Divock Origi?



Roberto Firmino


Now you all know that I adore the Liverpool players, while simultaneously gently mocking them for your entertainment, and you all know that Bobby Firmino had an ‘incident’ on Christmas Eve that is an open goal for me to fire at.

But I’m not going to.

What Bobby did was wrong. Very wrong. He was pulled over and will get punished however the law sees fit, and the same may happen in-house by Klopp / FSG. However I have to make the point that there are many Christmas dinner tables with empty seats around them this year (and every year) due to drink-drivers. My own extended family has been affected by one such idiot, and as a result I’ve never met a member of my wife’s family.

Let’s leave aside all the ‘football’ bullshit and the ‘Should he be treated like Sakho blah blah bloody blah’. Bobby should be treated the way anyone who breaks the law and endangers lives does.

I’m not calling for him to be fired, or let off, or hung, drawn and quartered. I’ll let the law / the club deal with it themselves. I’ll cheer him on when he wears the red of Liverpool Football Club as that’s what we do.

However I’m putting on record here that I’m disgusted with him personally for his actions on Christmas Eve. I’m disappointed. I’m angry. I’m also thankful he was caught and nobody was harmed. I’m hopeful that he’ll learn a lesson from what happened, and will ensure it won’t happen again.

I’m also happy he scored last night.

It’s not easy being a football fan you know.


Sadio Mane.jpg

Sadio Mané:


Fantasy Football is a great game that keeps me entertained throughout the football season as I pit my wits against friends and acquaintances to see who has the best footballing brain. It’s free to play, the website is slick and it’s great craic.

However it can consume me a little too much, particularly when I put Liverpool players in my team. Last night was a perfect example. For Lallana’s goal I was trying to convince myself that Sadio Mane could get an assist (as f*cking if…), while I can’t repeat what I said when Imbula slid in to score an own goal as Sadio was just about to knock the ball into the net for a valuable goal for my team (in both senses)…

Of course I’m now pondering what to do when Sadio buggers off for January, as is Jurgen. During a late night Skype call yesterday he told me that he thinks Daniel Sturridge is in great form and looking fit, Divock Origi will never let him down, Philippe should be back soon and that even Adam Lallana could push further forward when required.

I told him that I was thinking of bringing in Alexis Sanchez…and then he hung up on me.

Well, we all have our own challenges, eh?






Wait..what? Oh, no, apparently ‘Shut Up Shop Ltd’ may be expanding into the Italian market….


Alberto Moreno:

Speaking of which, a new franchise opened up last night when introduced in the 79th minute…

Yep. Please welcome ‘Bertie’s Panic Emporium’.

It got off to a slow start, thankfully…


Emre Can

Emre Can:


I’d had a few beers at this stage and can’t really remember much about Jackie.

I presume that’s a good thing.


Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge:


Raw, natural, unbridled talent.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The best English striker is sitting on the LFC bench, but he may be about to play a very important role…

Please stay fit Daniel. Pretty please?



Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 


After the first loss of the season, Liverpool then followed it with a draw and 4 wins.

After the second loss of the season, Liverpool then followed it with a draw and now 3 wins…and Manchester City are up next.

I’ve never wanted a pattern to repeat so much in all my life.

What Chelsea are doing would have won them many a league title in the past, even now. Yes, large gaps have been overcome / frittered away in the past, but more often than not, if you get 10+ points clear in the league, you tend to win. Chelsea should be 10+ points clear in the league. Any team that wins 12 in a row should be (unless they started at the bottom of the table, but that would just be silly).

While Chelsea are churning out the wins, they must be looking over their shoulders wondering how the hell they can shake off Jurgen’s lads. That nagging doubt can erode your confidence….


Note: If you enjoy the guff on this blog, you can find me on Twitter (@NiallHawthorne) or on Facebook ( If you would like to pay me to write like this, please do get in touch. Christmas cost me a fecking fortune.

Note 2: This blog is dedicated to Jack. Welcome to the Liverpool family buddy.



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