Sunderland 2-2 Liverpool: The Ranting Rebel New Year Ratings

Thank Christ 2016 is behind us, eh? 2017 can only get better!

What? A draw at Sunderland? Ah f*ck this, 2017 is going to be worse!

Simon Mignolet Yellow

Simon Mignolet:


The best Liverpool player on the park and won us a point.

It feels like a new start for Migs in the team, and combined with a new year, he’s feeling pretty chipper about things. I sent him a beautiful piece of Waterford Crystal glass for Christmas, and he was chuffed with me for thinking of him.

Mind you, when he called me to thank me, he also told me he’d dropped it and smashed it.

Never change Migs. Never change.


Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:


Solid at the back as ever, and even threw in a few naughty, teasing crosses that really should have led to goals.

Patsy has confided in me that his New Years Resolution is to kill Kyle Walker make the England right-back slot his own, and if he continues his current form, I don’t see any reason why that won’t happen.

In fact I can’t see any reason for Kyle Walker, truth be told. Has there ever been a more over-hyped, under-criticised player in the history of the game? The wazzock makes more mistakes than Boris Johnson, but you never hear anybody point them out.

The bloody cockney mafia have their favourites, eh?


Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren:


Imperious at the back and inventive up front….

Don’t be foolish and think that the opening goal was in any way fortunate. Dejan read the flight of the corner, gauged how many men stood between his foot and the goal, anticipated the movement of Daniel Sturridge, adjudged the exact moisture content of the turf and then executed a sublime bounce pass onto the bonce of Sturridge.

Honestly, he did.

Dejan has given an emotional interview recently where he poured his heart out over his recent troubles on the field and how he believes that he is bouncing back. The issue with certain players who have hit bad form is how long it can take to convince people that you’re back…

If you’re a striker, a couple of quick goals can change you from a common Victor Anichebe into Gerd Muller in the eyes of the fans. However if you’re at the back (or in goals…) then a few mistakes and a run of bad form can take up to 20 good performances to erase from the minds of those who doubt you. That’s a tough ask…Just keep that in mind. Especially you. Yes, you – the Twitter Keyboard Warrior covering your screen in spittle at the merest hint of a mistake. You know who you are…



Ragnar Klavan: 


Now if you are one of those Twitter Keyboard Warriors you no doubt were salivating at the prospect of criticising Klavan The Barbarian after he conceded the first penalty.


Y’see, Ragnar grew up in the wilds of Estonia, and has only been tamed since the age of 18 when his football prowess was discovered (think of it like The Jungle Book meets Billy’s Boots). Yet underneath it all is the wild-man of Estonia, the young man who roamed the Estonian plains dining on squirrels and living in caves….

Most of the time his wild side is tame and hidden from view. However sometimes, when the conditions are just right, the wild side emerges…

Ragnar spent most of the past three weeks Christmas shopping. He hates Christmas shopping. All that hustle and bustle, trying to manoeuvre his way through the hoardes of shoppers, all the while resisting the urge to rip someones scalp off and use it as a duster. The man who grew up in the wilderness just can’t cope…but he managed it this year…until yesterday…

When Ndong made his run between Gini and Ragnar, the Christmas hustle and bustle came flooding back. People trying to squeeze through gaps that just aren’t there, in order to get that last selection box…and Ragnar finally snapped. He’d had enough. He finally succumbed to the temptation to just kick out…just a little bit…and it felt good, until he realised what he had done.

Show Ragnar some compassion this January. It’s not easy being him.



James Milner: 


‘He has a little kick on the calf, we think, and we didn’t want to take any risks which is why we took him off’

The words of Jurgen Klopp there, covering up the real truth about James Milner once more.

James Milner does not go off with a kick on the calf. James Milner went off because his calf muscle fell out of his leg. No, really, it did. It just fell out. The man has run so many miles up the left wing this season that the I.S.S. is behind him in terms of miles covered.

I’m glad to report that James just picked up his calf muscle and stapled it back onto the bone, and would be fit to play tomorrow if required.

Also, rumours that he had overdosed on gravy over the Christmas period are scurrilous and libelous.


Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana: 


Not at his eye-catching best in terms of creativity and goal-scoring, but unlucky not to end up with at least one assist, and as usual he covered more ground than anybody else, just 44 hours after doing the exact same thing.

If somebody could put a compilation video together of Adam’s best flicks, tricks, Cruyff turns and goals from this season alone, I guarantee it would be the most viewed video in the history of PornHub within 20 minutes.

He’s so damn sexy.


Emre Can

Emre Can:


Alright, alright…

The big audition didn’t go so well, I admit it.

A rare chance for Jackie to play in his preferred position, and he kind of made a balls of it. He was a bit unsure of touch and decision-making, but I ask you this…

Why didn’t Klopp opt for Kevin Stewart instead?

Y’see ‘The Kid’ Kevin Stewart is older than Emre Can and been around the game longer. Don’t forget how young Emre Can actually is.

He’ll come good, I have no doubt in my mind. He may get a run of games in this central role, depending on Hendo’s Heel (which sounds like a headland off the coast of Scotland).

Keep at it Emre, lad.



Geordie Wine Gum:


Just two days after the unsung hero (in the mind of Jurgen Klopp) became the sung hero (yes I know that’s daft, but I’m sticking with it), he went back to being a bit unsung again, and less of a hero. (That’s a Pulitzer prize winning sentence if ever I’ve read one).

His usual hard work was mixed with a couple of decent efforts and ‘nearly’ moments, but alas a goal away from home in the Premier League has not yet come.

Old Trafford in a couple of weeks Gini…I’ll just leave that thought with you.


 Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge: 


A rare start matched with a not very rare goal. The man is class.

He’ll be annoyed not to have notched at least two, but as is bloody typical, our opponent lost their first choice keeper to injury and then their reserve stopper turns into Lev Yashin (if you don’t know who Lev Yashin is, you should get off Spotify and read a bloody book, kid).

His movement and anticipation for his goal is worth watching. Forget the corner and the volley from Lovren, watch as Daniel moves from the left of the goal to the right, losing his man and landing in the exactly right spot to take advantage of the bounce of the ball. You can’t teach that, it’s instinct. You either have it or you don’t, and Daniel Sturridge just has it.

Now if we could only toughen him up a tad, that would be perfect. If the UK had ‘National Service’ then we’d be laughing. Or Daniel would be dead. Hmmm….



Roberto Firmino:


His dip in form is starting to become a tad alarming, considering that Jurgen Klopp won’t countenance not playing him as long as he’s breathing…

He’s so crucial in all that we do, and to be fair to him, even when not playing well, he still does a job, and was a major part of a front-line that scored another two goals.

However when you know what someone can do, and you see what they are doing when it’s not going well, it hurts. Just ask those in Times Square when Mariah Carey made a late run for ‘cringe-moment of 2016’ (and that’s a VERY tough category, isn’t that right Donald?).


Sadio Mane.jpg

Sadio Mané:


And so he departs…

So Long! Farewell! Auf Wiedersehn! Adieu!

F*ck you! F*ck you! F*ck you and you and you! (That’s aimed at the AFCON organisers and their ‘timing’).

‘Who’s next?’

He thought he’d secured another vital three points as his parting gift…and then he literally grabbed the chance to chuck two points away…how Sene-GALLING….(I’m sorry).

So we enter the era of LASBSCB (Life After Sadio Before Sadio Comes Back). Will Jurgen shock the world and buy Messi to cover? Will Daniel Sturridge stay fit for a month and bang in the goals while he’s away? Will Coutinho come back and make us forget who Sadio Mané is?

Stay tuned kids….




Shut Up Shop Ltd:


A disastrous night for this company, introduced to the fray with a lead to protect only to concede the free-kick that brought about the equaliser.

I know it wasn’t a free-kick, but that’s not much consolation to the Directors and Staff of Shut Up Shop Ltd. The rumour is that they are now in frantic negotiations to keep the Italian Enterprise from dying before it even gets off the ground.

As far as publicity goes, it’s like Janet Jackson at Superbowl XXXVIII – He made a right tit of himself.



Divock Origi:



The poor kid didn’t know what to do for a full 7 minutes.

How can he be on the field at the same time as Daniel Sturridge? Utterly baffling for all concerned. That’s why Daniel hobbled off, just to bring some normality to proceedings.

You suspect that Divock is going to have another prominent role to play in the next month or so.



Alberto Moreno:

I’ll admit that when the second penalty was awarded to Sunderland, my first reaction was to scream ‘Bertie ya boll*x’, but credit to him, he played a full half of football without doing anything daft. Yes, I know I’m exhibiting the same behaviour I criticised in my review of Dejan Lovren, but I never said I was perfect, did I?

There’s a 3rd Round FA Cup tie with Bertie’s name written all over it. A solid defensive showing laced with attacking menace would be nice.



Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 


Right, here we go…*deep breath*

The FACTS are that right now we’ve closed the gap on Chelsea to 5 points. Yes, they have a game in hand, and yes it could be 8 points on Wednesday night, but it could also be 5 points on Wednesday night.

To most of you this won’t apply, but to some I still have to say…GET A F*CKING GRIP.

The amount of people I saw on my timeline saying things like ‘This is what we always do, we always drop points against the smaller teams’….and they were basing their argument on historical games going back to 1993….f*ck me.

Let’s judge THIS team on THIS season shall we? Because THIS team didn’t exist LAST season. THIS team is in its first full season under THIS manager. So some FACTS:

  • 2nd in the league after 20 games
  • Averaging 2.2 points per game. TWO POINT TWO!
  • Chelsea are on a run that would win the league 100% of the time in any other season
  • Two league defeats in twenty games
  • Thirteen wins in twenty games
  • Just five draws in twenty games

Yes, the draws / defeats to ‘smaller teams’ (you’re a patronising pr*ck if you really believe that too by the way) are annoying, but would you rather we had draws / defeats against Arsenal / Chelsea / City / Everton? You know which would be more harmful, don’t you?

If you think we shouldn’t have draws / defeats against either the big clubs or the small clubs, then you should go and watch WWE Wrestling instead. Brain-dead idiots like you should be able to work out who’s going to win pretty easily and you can adjust your support and hopes accordingly.

The next league game is away to United at Old Trafford. We also face Chelsea at the end of this month. It’s a big month, just like August was..and September…and October now I think about it…and November..and…you get my point.

Each game as it comes, and we have NO reason to believe that what we’ve done in the opening 20 games won’t be repeated in the next 18, and who knows where that will take us?



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.


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