Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool: The Ranting Rebel Ratings…


Simon Mignolet Yellow

Simon Mignolet:



Marvellous. Majestic. Magnificent.

My Christ that clearance against Zlatan melted my mind.

In all seriousness though, today felt like a day when Migs finally filled that Liverpool ‘keeper shirt for the first time. A string of tremendous saves, confidence coming for crosses, and he could do nothing for the goal conceded.

If you’ve had a bad time in the Liverpool XI and you get a second chance, then making a mark at Old Trafford is probably the best way of getting fans back on your side.

On a side note, credit to Jurgen Klopp for introducing Loris Karius into the equation. Both have now impressed in successive matches…who knew that competition for places would be so effective?

Why buy a ‘world class’ keeper (with the associated exorbitant price tag) when you can pit two decent keeper against each other to force one/both to reach that standard?



Trent Alexander-Arnold:


A first league start…at Old Trafford

A first league opponent…Anthony Martial

A first of many appearances for TAA and he did exceptionally well, all things considered.

Once again I remind you of what you were doing at 18 years of age, and if your answer doesn’t contain the words ‘pints’, ‘sex’, ‘joints’ or ‘Call Of Duty’, I applaud you.

A slightly rocky start (understandably) followed by 80 minutes of solid, dependable defending which contributed massively to the positive result achieved today.

Mind you, on the rare occasion that Patsy Clyne is missing from a big game, you suddenly realise what he contributes in an attacking sense. That wasn’t there from TAA, but I’m not in any way critical of him.

Well in Trent.


Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren:


Yes, one back-pass was a bit short (but we’re in an entertainment business, right???)

However Dejan Lovren today produced his best performance in a Liverpool shirt.

Here we have a man booked for a brilliantly strong tackle where he won the ball cleanly, yet saw Rooney go without a booking for trying to break James Milner’s ankle, and saw Pogba perform an exquisite neck roll / choke tackle on Hendo without any sanction. That’s enough to drive any man to the edge of distraction…yet Dejan remained calm, composed and focused.

Many fans lost their sh*t at the reason for Matip’s absence, but I think we can all agree that when he does return (after Cameroon and FIFA take their collective heads out of their collective asses) he’ll partner Lovren once more.

An added bonus is how he utterly dominated THE MOST EXPENSIVE PLAYER IN THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL at corners. Pogba lost Lovren with the same regularity as Kevin McAllister lost his parents in Home Alone. Thankfully Dejan didn’t require a paint can on a rope to get his own back, he just convinced Pogba to ‘Dab’ while the ball was about to hit his head.

‘Take that, ya filthy animal’.



Ragnar Klavan: 


Have you ever waited for a crucial phone call?

You constantly check the volume on your phone to ensure that it’s not on silent, even though you know that you set it at ’10’ only 15 minutes before. You bring it with you to the toilet to ensure you don’t miss that vital call. You’re constantly paranoid that you might have missed a call in that 0.0005 seconds it took you to blink…

Poor Ragnar has been waiting for an answer from FIFA / Cameroon about the eligibility of Joel Matip, and up until this afternoon he still didn’t know if he was going to be able to play in this game.

It must be hard knowing that the manager / owner of the football club are bashing down the door of FIFA to find out if your direct opponent can play instead of you. It’s like finding out that the woman of your dreams has decided that she might play with your joystick after discovering that her preferred PS4 controller had broken…

In any case Ragnar performed as well as any ‘sloppy seconds’ would be expected to.



James Milner: 


Despite the fact that his calf muscle was being held in place with blu-tack and gravy, James Milner was able to defend like a hero and step up to take an incredibly crucial penalty when the situation presented itself.

You might have noticed that a lot of penalty takers give the opposition goalkeeper ‘the eyes’…glancing constantly at the corner of the goal that they’re NOT going to shoot for. It’s football level ‘psychology’, up there with telling his opposite number that his sister was a fabulous ride last night….

However James Milner comes from ‘simple folk’. There’s none of that psychological bullshit, just a clear indication of intent.

James looked at the right hand side of the goal as he lined up the kick. He than kept looking at that side as he ran up to the ball…and then he battered the ball into that exact corner….

It doesn’t matter that De Gea had read his mind, James Milner is from Yorkshire. You might know what these people are going to do, but you’re powerless to stop it.

Kudos to James for accepting an ‘apology’ from Rooney after he tried to break his ankle, the dirty sh*tbag. However that’s gone right in the memory bank for next time…when Rooney is playing for Indianapolis Idiots at the age of 52 and James Milner will crunch him playing for Milwaukee Morons.



Jordan Henderson: 


Jurgen Klopp has alluded to the fact that most players with Hendo’s injury wouldn’t have appeared today, but here we saw Jordan Henderson rampaging through the midfield, thundering into tackles, spraying passes left right and centre and making Paul Pogba’s hashtag the most counter-intuitive public symbol since Donald Trump was elected President Of The United States.

Personally I’m demanding a Twitter hashtag for Jordan Henderson. It should reflect his personality, his appearance in the heat of battle and how much Liverpool fans adore him…



Emre Can

Emre Can:


After a few ropey performances, and facing into a match when it was all on the line, Emre Can produced when it mattered.

He created more chances than any other player on the pitch, and despite the fact that he took one or two (or twelve) more touches than necessary every now and again, his constant energy was invaluable as Liverpool tried to switch between constant defence and sporadic attack during a difficult second half.

From next season I promise that the ‘he’s still very young, we must not forget that’ excuse won’t be used, but since we’re not there yet, I’m going to use it. Juventus have shown interest, and I can’t blame them….once upon a time they purchased a young player from an English club that wasn’t rated…and sold him back for £89,000,000 a few years later.

I suspect that Jurgen Klopp won’t make the same mistake…and will save LFC a fortune (and pride).



Geordie Wine Gum:


Two weeks ago I asked Gini to open his ‘away goal in the Premier League’ column and by christ, he tried.

As part of a midfield trio designed to stifle the flow of the United midfield, he was effective but when the chance came to break, he was leading the charge.

One day Gini will score away from home, and I’m going to say it right here and right now…it will be away to West Ham United, on the second last day of the season, and it will secure us the title.

You heard it here first.


 Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana: 


How apt that the ‘diamond’ of this season was played at the tip of the diamond as Jurgen Klopp changed formation to suit the challenge presented.

Adam was as effective off the ball as he was on it…chasing the ball down, harrying the opposition and forcing errors when normally there wouldn’t be any.

With the return to fitness of Coutinho, we should see Adam drop back into the midfield three where he has been most effective this season, and I can’t wait. His late runs from deep have been missed since Philippe has been crocked, but with 10 of our last 17 league games at home, he’s going to play a crucial part in our run-in….



Roberto Firmino:


A famous term in football is ‘a game of two halves’, but today we saw ‘a game of a two thirds, a third’.

While Bobby huffed and puffed, harried and hassled throughout the first hour of the game (to great effect it must be said), his performance in the last half hour showed what we’ve been missing since Philippe was crocked.

I’ve made many gags on this blog about the symbiotic relationship between Coutinho and Firmino but the fact that Bobby was set up for a chance within 30 seconds of Philippe’s introduction just proves my point.

Now they’re back in tandem, I expect them to steamroller the rest of the Premier League.




Divock Origi:


Millions were on tenterhooks as young Trent Alexander-Arnold took the field away to Manchester United, tasked with a crucial role in the defence…

Not as many were worried about a young player like Divock Origi doing the same in the Liverpool attack, but that’s not really fair on Divock.

He’s young. He’s very young. Yes he has some experience, but he’s learning all the time, and he gave Valencia a rough time on the left wing. The fact that he was chosen ahead of Daniel Sturridge should throw some cats among some pigeons for the rest of the season.

God bless the pigeons.




Philippe Coutinho:


Dearest Philippe,

17 games left. 10 at home. 7 points behind Chelsea.

While we lost our best player for the last few weeks, rumour has it that Chelsea are about to do the same, possibly for a lot longer than a few weeks….

I know it feels awkward, but trust me when I say that you should have a few ‘sleepovers’ with Bobby this week. Cuddle. Spoon. Brush each others hair. You two are the perfect double-act, and he’s missed you Philippe, more than you will ever know. (I know because he called me to tell me, but I’m sworn to secrecy).

When you two spark once more, the league title is ours…

Love you





Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 


17 games left.

10 at home (3 v Top 6 teams / 7 against ‘the rest’)

7 away (1 v Top 6 team / 6 against ‘the rest’)

Philippe is back. Sturridge is fit. Mané will be back (hopefully)…

While we’re 7 behind Chelsea, we have them at home to come soon, so if that becomes 4 points, it’s game on. We’re top of the ‘Top 6 Table’….

You trust your young players, and your judgement has been proven sound so far (TAA today a prime example).

When you call me next Tuesday as you usually do, I want you to answer me this…

If Costa fecks off to China, who many points will we win the league by?

Talk soon JK xxx


Note: If you enjoy the guff on this blog, you can find me on Twitter (@NiallHawthorne) or on Facebook (


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