Liverpool 0-0 Plymouth Argyle: The Ranting Rebel FA Cup 3rd Round Ratings



Loris Karius:


Rumour has it that Loris ‘Fandango’ Karius played in nets for Liverpool today.

I have no idea. The cameras were pointed at the opposite end of the pitch for 90 minutes.

I have heard from some reliable sources in the Main Stand that he held a racy photo-shoot during the game wearing nothing more than a leopard-print thong and a cheeky smile.

Still, it’s a clean sheet and a trip to the South Coast to look forward to in a couple of weeks. I’ve asked him to bring me back a stick of rock.



Trent Alexander-Arnold:


There are more letters in his name than successful Plymouth passes in this game.

In all seriousness, of all the kids on display today I’d have to say that T.A.A. looks ready to step in if/when required should something happen to Patsy Clyne.

He keeps it simple, yet authoritative and has a better delivery than he displayed today. I’ve nothing more to say because he played in the Liverpool defence and I’ve more confidence in the existence of the Loch Ness Monster than I do about the existence of the Liverpool defence today.

If a Liverpool defender shouts ‘MINE!’ and there’s nobody around to hear it, does he really make a sound?

Aye, get your noggin around THAT.



Shut Up Shop Ltd:


When your kids are the match-day mascots, and you’re linked with a move to Italy for weeks on end, what are the chances that you’ll start the replay?

Answers on a postcard please.

If this was to be the swansong for Lucas in a Liverpool shirt, it was Alanis Morissette levels of ‘Ironic’. A player now synonymous with ensuring Liverpool don’t concede played a full 90 minutes when they had no chance of doing so.

Take your 10,000 spoons and play the ‘Fields of Anfield Road’ with them Alanis.



Joe Gomez: 


15 months. It doesn’t sound much, does it? Just over a year, and hands up if you didn’t at some stage over the last three weeks utter the words ‘Where did the year go, eh?’ Admit it, we all did…

In the last 15 months the UK have decided to leave the EU (apart from Scotland and Norn Iron who don’t want to. Awkward). The host of Celebrity Apprentice has been elected as the President of the United States. Everybody famous in the history of music has died.

Well it’s been a very long 15 months for Joe Gomez who has battled back from an ACL injury and then an achilles injury to make his long-awaited return to the first team today. Jurgen Klopp has admitted that he has kept a Mamadou Sakho shaped slot open in his squad for him as he believes in his quality and potential.

Today he did…well, f*ck all, to be honest, but then again he had f*ck all to do. Not a bad game to play your first full 90 minutes since the world was normal.



Alberto Moreno: 


Fair to middling performance.

Fair to middling set-piece delivery.

Fair to middling hair.

Still, no clusterf*cks so that’s good!


Kevin Stewart

Kevin Stewart: 


The senior young player (if you get what I mean) did the basics pretty well, indicating that in the event of a Jordan Henderson / Emre Can double-injury emergency, he can come in and do a job.

What I would say is that while he gets on the ball as frequently as required, and plays the simple passes well, he didn’t display the ‘X-Factor’ that Henderson has in his locker – the array of passing, the ability to trouble the goalkeeper with shots from distance…

It got so bad that where you normally expect the crowd to shout ‘SHOOOOOOOOT’ when a midfielder picks it up 30 yards out with space, the Anfield faithful were shouting ‘NOOOOOOO’ as Kevin ‘Bobby’ Stewart thought about hammering a 65th shot straight at a defender.


Emre Can

Emre Can:


A harrowing experience for Emre, and one which he may never recover from…

No, he didn’t pick up a bad injury, or get humiliated in midfield…it was worse than that…

Yes, they ruffled his hair.

I’m not saying that the marking at Liverpool corners was tight, but I’m pretty sure that Emre got manhandled more than a 65 year old lap-dancer at Wayne Rooney’s birthday party.

Emre’s hair was inexplicable when he was hauled ashore, with his personal stylist standing by to right the wrongs as soon as possible.

Once more I’ll point out that the ‘senior’ player Emre Can was younger than his midfield partner today….#justsaying



Ovie Ejaria:


Neat and tidy.

Just like your living room after the Christmas decorations have been put away and you realise that your house is twice as big as you thought it was.

I’d like to point out to the moaning ninnies on Twitter that it’s harsh to expect the kids to all gel together with a smattering of senior players and expect them to convince us that Liverpool have a potential Premier League winning youth team ready to step up next season. The kids will shine when placed in one’s or two’s into the senior team, when they’re surrounded by that quality, which will allow their quality to shine through.

What is interesting / worthy of debate / pointless conjecture (delete as applicable) is that this game showed that a Premier League reserve team would easily hold their own in League Two (and quite likely do well). Do we want that (as they have in Spain / Germany) or should we cherish the clubs like Plymouth Argyle and keep Premier League ‘B’ teams out of these leagues?

Personally I’d prefer the likes of Plymouth Argyle to have the chance to be the next ‘Bournemouth’ and rise through the ranks.

All we need now is for Jurgen Klopp to convince the rest of the Premier League that the U-23 league should be taken seriously.

D’ya hear that Antonio Conté? Yes, you should recall all 1,873 loan players on your books and put them in your U-23 team. You too, Pep.



Sheyi Ojo: 


Here we have a young player that shone brighter than most last season when Klopp (through lack of choice) gave many young players a chance.

Unfortunately his progress has been hampered through a series of unfortunate back injuries starting last pre-season all the way through to November.

To therefore expect the same Sheyi Ojo to appear on the scene and tear sh*t up like he did last January is unrealistic. Doesn’t stop some though….

It’s fair to say that Jurgen Klopp may well view Ojo as a potential viable back-up for Sadio Mané, but his performance today, allied to the impending Premier League title-race, could convince Jurgen that he should shell out for Quincy Promes this month.

I for one would like Quincy Promes to join Liverpool, purely because it gives me huge scope for humorous name-play gags. I’d also like Sheyi Ojo to be afforded some more patience though, as he does strike me as being remarkably ‘John Barnes-esque’, and I miss John Barnes.



Ben Woodburn:


Do you remember when Michael Owen scored on his debut, off the bench, away to Wimbledon? Of course you do.

Do you remember his next game for the first team? Like f*ck you do….

5 days after scoring for Liverpool at Selhurst Park, Michael Owen started for Liverpool at Hillsborough, away to Sheffield Wednesday, and caused a huge stir… by not scoring in a 1-1 draw.

So now we look at Ben Woodburn, the new ‘big thing’ from the Liverpool Academy, and his first start for Liverpool which also drew a blank. That’s no issue though as right now he’s still better than Michael Owen as he scored his first goal while younger than him.

So there.



Divock Origi:


You know the team is young when Divock Origi is the senior striker…

He had an ‘arguable’ goal chalked off for a foul in the first half, but apart from that he failed to impose himself on the game as much as he would have liked.

I’ll point you to the review of Ovie Ejaria though and ask you to keep the points made there in mind. Divock has looked dynamite when surrouned by the likes of FIrmino / Mané and co, but to expect the same when surrounded by Woodburn and Ojo is unrealistic.

He’ll get another chance in Plymouth.



Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge:


Seemed to come on with the express intention of ‘Right, I’ll sort this sh*t out, all on my own’ and to be fair to him, he tried.

It didn’t work though.



Adam Lallana:


In a superb interview in the Sunday Times this week, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Ljinders detailed how they bring the most promising kids to Melwood every Tuesday to train with the first team, to learn from the likes of Adam Lallana and to see how senior professionals like him do things.

Well today they saw how Adam Lallana struggled to break down Plymouth Argyle.




Roberto Firmino:


Right. That’s it. Enough is enough.

Bobby Firmino has a symbiotic relationship with Philippe Coutinho. When one is injured, the other is injured. When one is sick, the other is sick. When one is out of form, the other is out of form.

Oh crap…



Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 


If he played the first XI, he’d have been pilloried for stretching them too far, and risking injury.

When he plays the Reserve XI, he’s lampooned for not taking the FA Cup seriously enough.

You really can’t win as a manager sometimes.

The interesting thing is that when you look at the impending fixtures, he’s got very little choice but to play the kids again in Plymouth. They’ll all have a chance to make amends / improve on today, and that’s how it should be. Plymouth will almost certainly come and attack more than today, which should leave space for the kids to do what they do best.

Time will tell, but I can’t disagree with his approach today. Avoiding a replay (by winning, not losing) would have been ideal, but you can’t always get what you want. Just ask The Rolling Stones.


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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