Liverpool 2-1 Burnley: The Ranting Rebel Ratings

 

Yes, I know there’s been another gap between ratings, but there’s another good reason for that…the work I had done with the lads before the Spurs game was nowhere near enough. I had foolishly thought that my motivational speeches and psychological guidance would see the lads flourish against the big teams AND the rest…but following the Leicester debacle, I realised my folly, and was back over to Melwood quicker than Jurgen could say ‘I want a refund, you cheeky Irish git’…

Simon Mignolet Yellow

Simon Mignolet:

 

One of my tips to Jurgen was to proclaim to the world that he didn’t need a new goalkeeper this summer, and here’s the logic:

  1. It will make the incumbent keepers feel a bit better about themselves, and should result in a boost of self-esteem, which would lead to a boost in performances
  2. If you publicly state that you’re looking for a new keeper, then every sodding keeper on planet earth will have an extra ‘0’ added onto their price tag and weekly wage demands.

Makes sense, right?

Simon took to the field on Sunday with his self-esteem at record new highs, which led to an unfortunate incident pre-match when Ragnar Klavan accidentally kicked his boot across the dressing room, leading to Migs roaring into his face “Don’t you know who I am? I’m the king of the world! I’m the greatest! I’m the glorious lovechild of Lev Yashin and Gordon Banks following a saucy encounter in a laboratory in Brussels in the late 80’s”.

Nothing like a bit of self-confidence, eh?

Thankfully Migs backed up his words on the pitch with a flawless display against a team that thought they had sussed out his (and his teammates) weaknesses. Long ball after long ball was humped towards the edge of Mignolet’s box, but time and again he came strongly (ooo-errr missus!), to fist cleanly (now stop it…) away.

I’m working on deflating his ego just a tad this week, after he tried to chat up nine of the other players wives with the same chat up line. ‘Belgium is famous for it’s waffles, do ya wanna taste my batter?’

Give me strength…

8/10 

Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:

 

You may have noticed that Patsy has quite a bit of ink, pretty much from the neck down is covered in ‘body art’…or that’s what he wants you to think.

The truth is that Patsy is a bit, how shall I put this…’Hard Of Thinking’. In essence, he’s one Spice Girl short of a reunion tour, and all that ‘body art’ is actually notes, hints and tips on every aspect of his game.

Before you judge him, think back to your school days. Yep, we’ve all done it, writing notes/formula on our palms or shirt cuffs, or the name of that Welsh town with the longest name in the world on our penis….or maybe that’s just me who was able to fit it all in…in BLOCK CAPITALS….

So the next time you see Patsy hesitate when a quick cross is on, remember that it’s not his fault. He’s just searching for the instructions on what to do next.

Klavan got the blame for the goal conceded, but for me Patsy forgot to read the instruction on his left butt cheek that says ‘Cover and sweep behind the centre-backs when a striker peels off them’.

Unfortunately yesterday he played like all the notes were written in invisible ink. I’m not sure my words of wisdom were much use at half-time when I told him to ‘just bloody copy what the Burnley right-back did when he set up their goal’.

The single tear that rolled down his cheek will haunt me for a good few days y’know.

6/10. 

Klavan

Ragnar Klavan:

 

While our right-back has a brain function that buffers more than a porn video in 1997, our Estonian centre-half has the memory of a goldfish.

You would think that being absolutely roasted last August by a fella called Andre Gray might stick with you, but in the first half Ragnar played like he’d never seen the man before in his life, and made pretty much the exact same mistakes as he had at Turf Moor.

Incidentally, Turf Moor is Irish for ‘Big Turf’. I just realised that.

Anway, I digress. After half-time, when I pulled Ragnar aside and showed him You Tube clips of the beasting he got from Gray last August, y’know, to prove that it actually fecking happened, he had a moment of clarity and suddenly he knew what he had to do…so he did it.

Hale-fecking-liua.

In the second half he was big, strong and had Gray in his pocket for the remainder of his time on the pitch.

7/10

joel-matip

Joel Matip: 

To say that the heart of the Liverpool defence has been ‘changeable’ would be a bloody understatement. There’s been more changes in the Liverpool rearguard than there’s been Ed Sheeran songs in the Top 20 this week.

Joel was tasked with creating a ‘working relationship’ with Ragnar Klavan yesterday,  and deep down he knew this relationship was one of many he has to nurture. For a start, Dejan Lovren was peering down from the stands, waiting for his chance to show Joel some love, not to mention Shut Up Shop Ltd on the bench bursting to get back into a manly embrace with Joel, but it’s also the fact that Billy Joel had sung about this exact scenario in his 1986 song ‘A Matter Of Trust’….

 

Some love is just a lie of the heart
The cold remains of what began with a passionate start
And they may not want it to end
But it will it’s just a question of when
I’ve lived long enough to have learned
The closer you get to the fire the more you get burned
But that won’t happen to us
Cause it’s always been a matter of trust

Indeed, Joel has to build that trust with three different men this season, and that’s leaving aside the fact that Emre Can keeps butting in every five minutes, and he’s a hard man to ignore when you’re trying to build a relationship. I should know, my wife keeps drooling over him every 5 minutes.

I’ve said too much.

8/10

james-milner

James Milner: 

 

You know the ‘Bleep Test’?

That training exercise where you run from Point A to Point B before the buzzer goes at each end, which just speeds up as you get more knackered?

I believe that some of the world’s fittest athletes get to Level 14 before keeling over.

James Milner is currently at Level 863, and is still going. Up and down that left wing, trying to get a cross in before the buzzer goes, then back down the wing, trying to chase a ball into the oppositions flying forward, which they KEEP. BLOODY. PLAYING. BETWEEN. MILNER. AND. THE. CENTRE. BACK….

The poor man started the season standing 5’10” in his socks, and he’s now 5′ 8″ as his legs have been worn away.

But he just keeps running….

7/10

Emre Can

Emre Can: 

 

£35,000 a week might sound like a lot of money to me and you, but to Emre Can it’s a major bone of contention for him as he seeks to hammer out a new contract. He’s looking for around £70,000 a week (you’re hearing £100,000 a week, but you’ve got to highball first in any negotiation, right?).

I’m not saying that my motivational tactics with the lads work 100% of the time, but here’s what I tweeted at half-time:

Tweet 1

Within 15 minutes of that tweet, Jackie had hit a 25 yard daisy-cutting, worm-burning thunderbastard into the back of net at the Kop end, and then launched himself into a knee-slide celebration that made everyone over the age of 37 envious.

You’re welcome.

Leaving aside the ‘real world money’ argument, in modern football Emre Can has got to be worth £70,000 a week on a new contract, if only for the fact that a new contract increases his selling price if it ever comes to that. Sign him up Jurgen.

Oh, and stop playing silly buggers Emre. Good lad.

8/10

 Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana: 

 

 

What you may not know about Adam is that he’s quite insecure in himself.

He knows he’s got all the tools to be a top class footballer, but you might be surprised to know that footballers don’t always just think about football.

Adam is into his ‘looks’ because he’s compensating for his insecurities surrounding his appearance. That’s why he moisturises 19 times a day and why his skin holds more moisture than the Great Barrier Reef.

His performance yesterday, while not bad, was not up to it’s usual high standards, as Adam realised just before kick off that he was now playing in arguably the most handsome midfield in world football….and he soiled himself.

Jurgen tried to help by hugging him for 12 minutes straight, while stroking his hair, but it didn’t work, and now Jurgen can’t hold anything without it slipping right out of his grasp.

Nivea has a challenge on it’s hands. Does it try and make Adam more handsome, or does it take Gini/Emre into a back alley and smash their faces in?

Decision, decisions.

7/10.

Wijnaldum

Geordie Wine Gum:

 

Composure.

It’s a rare commodity.

When the most gorgeous woman in the bar approaches you and tells you she wants you right now, do you jauntily raise an eyebrow, smirk and tell her she’s made a wise decision, or do you shake uncontrollably, dribble like a teething baby and make a squeaky noise associated with pet toys?

Aye, exactly.

Gini showed incredible composure on the stroke of half-time as the ball ricocheted between him and Mee (no, not him and me, him and Mee. No, not me, Mee. Oh forget it…). While Mee stretched out a leg in vain (no, not me, Mee), and Ward charged towards him, and Heaton did his best starfish impression, Gini went all ‘Matrix’ and made the world pause…before slamming the ball into the net.

Gini is like ‘Hawkeye’ in the Avengers movies. The big names like Iron Man or Hulk or Thor with all their fancy moves tend to get all the attention, but when they don’t show up, the Avengers need someone else to come to the rescue. So as Phil/Bobby/Sadio have gone missing at various times this season, Gini has stepped up with goals against City/Chelsea/Arsenal and Burnley.

I know which one I prefer right now.

9/10

origi

Divock Origi:

 

Some said that this was a ‘huge chance’ for Divock and that he must grab it with both hands.

Some said that he blew his big chance.

Some talk an awful lot of guff.

Make no mistake about it, Bobby Firmino comes back into this team as soon as he’s fit, so nothing Divock did yesterday was ever going to change that. He knows it, and I know it, and you should know it.

That’s not to say that he didn’t do well though. While the Fantasy Football stats may only give him one assist, in the real world, he has two. It was his cross to Gini that set up the equaliser, as well as his pass to Emre that set up the winner.

What more can he do?

Well yes, of course he could score. I take your point. Alright, nobody likes a smartarse.

8/10.

coutinho

Philippe Coutinho:

Dearest Philippe,

Have you ever seen ‘The Three Amigos’ movie?

It’s a cracker, I highly recommend it. Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and Martin Short combine wonderfully to make you howl with laughter for 90 minutes.

However, I’ve found that when the ‘Three Amigos’ are seperated, they’re funny, but not THAT funny. I mean Chevy Chase can be downright annoying, Martin Short is barely noticeable and Steve Martin, while clearly a very funny man, needs someone opposite him to truly thrive.

I know that Bobby F was missing yesterday, but that can’t excuse that performance Phil. You were DIRE. I’ve never done this before, but yesterday I felt I had to. I tweeted about you Phil. I feel dirty, but strangely vindicated.

Tweet 2

I know you’re annoyed at Jurgen for hooking you, but as you can see now, it was all me Phil. I’m not sorry either. This ‘thing’ we have has to be a two-way street. Since your return from injury, it’s been all ‘take, take, take’ from you. What have you given me? Do I not deserve the very best? Is the magic gone between us Phil? Just say the word and I’ll be out of here! Just be honest with me Phil, that’s all I ask.

As always,

Love you,

Xxx

5/10

sadio-mane

Sadio Mane:

 

The one player I have to spend the least amount of time with is Sadio. He’s just got all the self-confidence you could want, and shows it out on the pitch. He was Liverpool’s only real threat during that woeful opening half, and he kept the Burnley defence on edge all match long.

On more than one occasion he was inches away from the perfect pass to set up a goal.

The thought of Sadio on top song against THAT City defence next weekend makes me happy.

8/10

Substitutes:

lucas

Shut Up Shop Ltd:

 

11 minutes left when the barriers came down, and they stayed firmly down until the full-time whistle.

Not only did Lucas shore things up, he also found himself rampaging forward with the ball at his feet, 30 yards from goal. Even he realised how daft that situation was…

7/10

ben-woodburn

Ben Woodburn:

 

How would you feel if you woke on Monday morning and remembered that you were brought on by Jurgen Klopp after an hour to replace Philippe Coutinho?

Aye, exactly. That’s why Ben is walking around with an 8 hour erection as I type. Ah, the miracle of youth.

He did pretty well too.

7/10

 


klopp-new

Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 

 

Right Jurgen, you’ve had the benefit of my presence before Spurs and now Burnley, so every other game this season will be degrees of each.

10 games to go. You’ll be fine for the next two, that’s a nailed on six points, but it’s the final 8 that will really tell us about this team: Bournemouth (fighting), Stoke (on the beach), West Brom (on the beach), Palace (probably on the beach by then), Watford (on the beach), Southampton (on the beach and we owe them one), West Ham (on the beach and a bit sh*t), Boro (in the Championship by then).

If you need me, you know where I am. You’ve already started using my advice, so keep it up. I like the whole ‘I don’t have a Plan B’ thing, that was beautiful. Just remember to pick Moreno every now and again and you’ll have everyone fooled. LOL.

7/10.

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

Liverpool 2-0 Spurs: The Ranting Rebel Ratings

Before I begin, a quick update. I haven’t posted a blog for a few games now because, as I told those of you who were kind enough to ask for/demand a blog, I was weighed down with many, many mundane issues that have taken up my time. I can now reveal that was a lie…

Things had to come to a head, enough was enough, so I made a decision…

I went to Liverpool a couple of weeks ago to sort things out once and for all.

I gave Jurgen a call, arranged to have dinner with Philippe and I’ll now begin…

Simon Mignolet Yellow

Simon Mignolet:

 

From my seat in the Anfield Road end, it appeared that Simon Mignolet is very small. Of course it’s simply that he was very far away at the Kop end.

In person he’s a very imposing man, a big strong strapping lad who towers over you, almost intimidatingly so…especially when you’re outlining the most witty descriptions of him that I’d heard, like ‘deranged gibbon’, ‘Dracula on prozac’, ‘Belgian beer bottle-squatting twat’ and ‘as useful as a langer in a lesbian orgy’.

Thankfully we saw eye to eye in the end and there were no hard feelings, and I like to think the chat worked. Migs was commanding, dominant, made a few good saves and never really looked threatened.

Before I departed Anfield, I stuck a note in his locker for him to read before any game in the future. It says:

‘You Are Simon Mignolet. Not A Langer’

I just hope I put it in the right locker or somebody could be very confused today.

8/10 

Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:

 

I always had Patsy pegged as a straight-laced, formal type of guy, no airs and graces and certainly no sign of rebellion in his personality.

Therefore I was stunned when he arrived for our pre-arranged pep talk dressed like Jazz from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. To top all that he was giving me pure attitude, muttering under his breath with a constant smirk on his mush.

I knew what had to be done, and luckily someone got a picture of what happened next:

jazz-fresh-prince

I know, I know, the new Main Stand is a bit fancy, right?

In conclusion, let’s just say that Patsy will be less in-Clyned to rip the piss in the future.

ITHANGYEW.

8/10. 

lucas

Shut Up Shop Ltd:

 

I smirked as I saw the usual Twitter meltdown when the teams were announced at 4.30pm with the name ‘Lucas Leiva’ at CB. The hysteria was approaching the levels I would expect if Donald Trump was seen riding a nuke headed to North Korea wearing a cowboy hat with ‘Kim Jung Un can kiss my orange ass’ on his t-shirt.

Unbeknownst to most, Lucas was actually stood beside me when that shit-storm kicked off, acting as my ‘minder’ while I leveled a few home-truths at the rest of the squad. As a senior squad member he demanded that I be listened to and respected…until it came to his turn that is…

Let’s just say that the reason he had a pop at that Joseph Musker lad on Twitter was because he was a bit upset at the home-truths I delivered to his doorstep:

lucas-twitter-1Lucas Twitter.PNG

Mind you, he’s right. Anybody spouting that kind of shite on Twitter needs to be exterminated, immediately. Isn’t that right Donald?

Oh, and before I forget, Harry Kane was released back to Spurs on Sunday afternoon at 2.54pm after Lucas found him in his pocket.

8/10

joel-matip

Joel Matip: 

 

NEWSFLASH:

BILLY JOEL IS NOT JOEL MATIP’S FATHER….

I know. I’m still reeling from the news myself. It’s like the Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker revelation, but in reverse.

Of course it took 98 pages of birth certs, sworn affidavits, a DNA test and a very uncomfortable phone call with Billy Joel himself before I believed it, but I’m satisfied that he’s really not his father…after I learned every lyric Billy wrote too. That’s 9 months of my life I’ll never get back.

In any case, I asked Joel (as I asked all the players) if he wanted me to reveal what I said to him during our ‘chat’, and Joel is the only one who didn’t mind, so here’s what I said to Joel Matip:

Don’t go changing to try and please me
You never let me down before
Don’t imagine you’re too familiar
And I don’t see you anymore

I wouldn’t leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times; I’ll take the bad times
I’ll take you just the way you are

Sorry. Not sorry.

8/10

james-milner

James Milner: 

 

Have you ever tried to have a meaningful heart to heart with a Yorkshireman?

It’s like trying to get a baboon to recite the Greek alphabet…you don’t get much back.

However I’m a master of motivation, so when my words didn’t cut the mustard, I decided to cut the gravy…

Yes, for every goal conceded by Liverpool for the rest of the season, James Milner will have one less pint of gravy that week. But I’m not a monster, so I included a motivational aspect too…for every goal he scores or assists, he gets an extra pint of gravy that week.

I’m not sure that’s the best idea I’ve ever had though because he fecking dived looking for a penalty within 30 seconds of our deal being agreed. It was 1.30pm last Tuesday…

Still, a clean sheet is a clean sheet, so that’s good, right? Mind you, with two weeks until his next game, he could look like the bloody Michelin man against Leicester City.

7/10

jordan-henderson

Jordan Henderson: 

 

Captain Henderson is being lavished with praise today as the news emerges of a ‘player-only’ meeting that he called, excluding Jurgen Klopp, where the players all had an open, honest and frank exchange of views, which led to the performance we all saw against Spurs.

I can now confirm that it wasn’t a ‘player-only meeting’…because I was there and it was my bloody idea. Don’t believe all you read in the media folks. Alternative facts my arse.

Anyway, I don’t care who gets the credit, as it worked, and to be fair to Hendo he delivered one of the most passionate, goose-bump-raising, hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck-bristling speeches I’ve ever heard (apart from when I listen back to my own). It was magnificent.

Nobody understood a bloody word, but we all got the gist of it.

Leader.

8/10

 Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana: 

 

I find that to get an open and honest conversation going with a player you sometimes have to do what they do, so they feel that you’re ‘one of them’ and can be trusted.

After applying 9 litres of Nivea to myself I now look 10 years younger, my scrotum has no wrinkles whatsoever and I literally slid out of bed last night. Remarkable.

My ploy worked though as Adam and I had a great chat covering lots of topics; from Bouremouth Lap Dancers to taking out Jurgen Klopps bins. Mind you, during our 45 minute chat Adam ran 12 miles around the room. He just can’t stand still. It could be boundless energy…but it could also be a reaction to the Nivea….

Whatever he’s doing, it’s working, especially when he’s got the three amigo’s in front of him.

8/10.

 

Wijnaldum

Geordie Wine Gum:

 

Go on then…what sweet do you think I brought to my one-on-one meeting with Gini last week…

Yep, you guessed it….a bag of Revels.

No, I’m not being obtuse, there was a point to it. There have been games this season where Gini has been oustanding. The goals at home to Chelsea and City stand out, but he was pretty bloody good away to Arsenal and Chelsea too. However he’s also had a few ‘Coffee Revels’ this season which make you want to explosively eject your tongue from your mouth…

So the basis of my ‘chat’ with Gini was him munching through a bag of Revels and shouting out the games he’s played this season that match with the flavour Revel he happened to get.

I’m not one for predictions, but I seriously doubt we’ll be seeing a ‘Coffee Revel’ performance from Gini ever again.

Oh, and ‘Coffee Revel Vomit’ is as grim as you’d imagine. *shudder*

9/10

 

firmino

Roberto Firmino:

 

Since the advent of social media, the world is awash with people who claim to be ‘In The Know’…they know why players are so effective, or why they’re out of form…and to a man (or woman), they’re all full of sh*t.

It wasn’t until I sat down at length with Bobby that I discovered why his form had dipped so drastically. From the outside looking in I thought it was the almost symbiotic relationship with Philippe that he was missing…but I was wrong.

The truth of the matter is that Bobby Firmino has been a major twat and is now embarrassed to be…well, Bobby Firmino. Look, we’ve all done something in our past that we’re not proud of and we’d all rather forget, and Bobby is no different. To add to that he was facing a (deserved) court case where there was always an element of doubt as to what punishment he would be facing, and that’s going to affect you, no matter what walk of life you come from. If you’re a bricklayer and facing a serious court case, you’re not going to be laying as many bricks in the weeks leading up to the case, are you?

Once it became clear what the issue with Bobby was, I was tempted to just leave it alone. The court case was over, his punishment has been delivered and that was that, right?

Heh. Don’t you know me at all?

To cut a long story short, I got Bobby Firmino absolutely trollied – and I use that word for a reason. Basically I got him flutered/balooba’d/banjaxed/wankered/smashed/arseified (select your favourite) on 23 pints of Guinness, strapped him into a shopping trolley and rolled him down Abbey Road while I got 4 lads to walk across the pedestrian crossing as Bobby hurtled towards them. It was to demonstrate that what he did ran the same risks as he now faced.

The poor lad soiled himself, but got the message very, very quickly.

Maybe a weight is now off his shoulders? He was certainly back to form against Spurs…although his shite is still jet black and probably will be for some time.

8/10.

coutinho

Philippe Coutinho:

Dearest Philippe,

 

Some have accused me of playing favourites as our meeting was over a candle-lit dinner and the rest of my player meetings…weren’t.

However you know you’re special, and I know you’re special and our dinner…was special.

I’ll never reveal this to the other players, but there was a specific reason why our meeting was over a romantic dinner. I wanted you to play footsie with me under the table…using just your left foot. I mean, you never use it for anything else and I’ll try anything to get you using it in a game…

Love you xxx

7/10

sadio-mane

Sadio Mane:

My meeting with Sadio was the shortest of the lot.

I can’t divulge too much information of course but suffice to say that Sadio looked me dead in the eye, told me none of this mess was down to him, admitted that he skewed that penalty in the AFCON on purpose after receiving my SOS SMS, and he said he’d sort it.

The man is true to his word. He eviscerated Ben Davies and friends.

Majestic.

9/10

Substitutes:

Emre Can

Emre Can:

 

My meeting with Emre didn’t go according to my plan. I called him ‘Jackie’ one time too many and was spark out after he hit me with a 6″ punch.

Yep, no similarities there at all.

At least he showed the same ruthless efficiency when he came on to see the game out. Job done.

7/10

Klavan

Ragnar Klavan:

 

What do you do when the Security company you hired to do a job suddenly goes down sick?

You bring on a bouncer. He asked Dele Alli for I.D. and then barred him from the penalty box.

N/A

trent-alexander-arnold

Trent Alexander-Arnold:

 

You might think that getting thrown on with seconds left so the star player can get a standing ovation is a bit demeaning, but all these players are on appearance bonuses.

Those few seconds could buy TAA 1,890 Happy Meals.

N/A


klopp-new

Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 

 

You’re welcome Jurgen, it was my pleasure, and I’m around to do it again if you ever feel the need.

However I think you’re set for the rest of the season now. They’re a great bunch of lads and it was great to get to know them all in person.

As for our meeting, I enjoyed it but I don’t think I’ll have another schnitzel for quite a while. I’m glad you took my advice and are taking the lads off for a few days in the sun. Thanks for the offer to attend with you but my small fella has something on Thursday night that I have to be there for.

Don’t forget the Factor 50!

8/10.

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

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

 

Simon Mignolet Yellow

Simon Mignolet:

 

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?

9/10 

trent-alexander-arnold

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.

 8/10. 

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’.

9/10

Klavan

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.

7/10

james-milner

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.

9/10

jordan-henderson

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…

jordan-henderson-emoji

8/10

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).

8/10.

Wijnaldum

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.

8/10

 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….

8/10.

firmino

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.

ACE!

8/10.

origi

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.

7/10

Substitutes:

coutinho

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

xxx

8/10

 


klopp-new

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

8/10.

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

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.

9/10 

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?

8/10. 

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…

8/10

Klavan

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.

STOP! I CAN EXPLAIN EVERYTHING!

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.

7/10

james-milner

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.

7/10

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.

8/10

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.

6/10.

Wijnaldum

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.

7/10

 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….

9/10.

firmino

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?).

7/10.

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’).

eddie-murphy-barbershop
‘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….

7/10

Substitutes:

lucas

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.

6/10

origi

Divock Origi:

 

Confusion.

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.

7/10

alberto-moreno

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.

7/10


klopp-new

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?

Relax….

8/10.

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. Christmas cost me a fecking fortune.

Liverpool 1-0 Manchester City: The Ranting Rebel New Years Eve Ratings.

Caveat: I’m writing this after the game, on New Years Eve, with a very tolerant (and sexy wife) waiting for me. I’m also travelling tomorrow, so I’ve got to squeeze this in. Please bear this in mind…

 

Simon Mignolet Yellow

Simon Mignolet:

 

4 games back.

3 clean sheets.

1 alley-oop over the head of an onrushing Sergio Aguero.

54,000 heart attacks.

1 Liverpool Number One.

9/10 

Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:

 

A certain Pep Guardiola clearly decided to test a Liverpool full back tonight.

Patsy Clyne wasn’t the one he chose to test.

Ergo, Pep Guardiola is terrified of Patsy Clyne.

Incredible at the back as usual, but under more pressure than is normal. Patsy also has an incredible talent for getting himself into wonderful attacking positions…but he really needs to improve on his ability when he’s there.

Yes, that’s harsh. It’s incredibly harsh. However I’m a hard task-master, and everyone needs goals for the New Year. There you go Patsy, get on it.

8/10. 

Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren:

 

‘He’s a liability’

‘He’s an accident waiting to happen’

‘He’s worse than Djimi Traore’

The above have all been on my Twitter timeline over the past couple of years. At times I’ve agreed, but I’ve also known that he’s better than that…

Against Sergio Aguero / David Silva / Kevin De Bruyne / Raheem Sterling / Yaya Toure, Dejan Lovren stood tall and dominant, swatting away threats like Donald Trump swats away criticism…and common sense.

While the injury to Joel Matip has been frustrating, it has almost by default allowed a centre back partnership to blossom. A tricky away trip to ‘Boro, a very trick derby away to Everton and a Brexit-level threat at home to Manchester City and there are three clean sheets to show for them.

The question is, will Joel Matip get back in the team?

8/10

Klavan

Ragnar Klavan: 

 

Jack Bauer in ’24’

Tom Cruise in ‘Mission Impossible’

Jim Carey in ‘Liar Liar’

All epic characters who have somehow dodged numerous bullets and gone on to live long and happy lives (I assume…)

After less than 10 minutes tonight Klavan The Barbarian picked up a booking for a cynical yet wholesome yellow card on Sergio Aguero, in one moment eliminating an immediate threat and also kicking an Argentinian up in the air. Marvellous.

However he then had to negotiate the majority of the game against the same opponent (and friends) without another bad tackle…and boy did he do it….

There were numerous occasions when he had a tackle to make, or a man running at him and you’d have loved him to throw himself into the tackle, but he showed far more self-restraint than I have over the Christmas period *pats belly*

A man with over 130 caps for his country picks up a few tricks and tips over the years, and tonight showed why Herr Klopp plucked him from relative Bundesliga obscurity to be a crucial part of his Anfield defence.

Again I ask, will Joel Matip get back in the team?

8/10

james-milner

James Milner: 

 

Last season Jon Flanagan booted Raheem Sterling up the hole in the first few minutes of this fixture. Anfield erupted in joy and satisfaction at the sight of the money-grabbing, soulless, history-ignorant w*nkweasel getting what was coming to him.

This season James Milner was in the left-back slot, and it’s fair to say that James is a different kind of character to Flano. For a start, he’s from Yorkshire, not Merseyside, so he has a different approach to things.

Tonight, rather than boot Raheem up the hole (which I still say is a valid and much appreciated approach), James decided to quietly place Raheem Sterling in his pocket, zip it up, and leave him there all night long.

I admit that the first 10 minutes were a bit hairy, but that was just James giving Raheem hope. You know what hope is like, eh? It’s the emotion than Raheem felt when he left Anfield to head to The Etihad, before realising that he had made the biggest mistake of his life. That emotion is called despair. You’re welcome to it Raheem.

9/10

Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana: 

 

Stick him in the top three and he’ll produce a sublime cross for the winning goal.

Stick him in the middle three and he’ll run his arse off to ensure that Liverpool stood up to, and subdued, the best that City could muster.

Towards the end of the game he turned into the nearest thing I’ve ever seen to an actual player from FIFA ’16, controlled by someone who knows what he’s doing. He was playing passes with eyes in the back of his head. He was seeing movement before his teammates had even made a move. He was in another dimension and helped us see out the last 15 minutes with the minimum of fuss, which helped me stay alive to see 2017.

Thank you Adam.

9/10

Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson:

 

A tough night for the skipper in many, many ways.

He had an opponent dominating possession at Anfield for the first time in a long time, but he showed his true grit and stuck in there making it as difficult as possible for them.

There were numerous periods of 5 – 10 minutes when Manchester City had over 75% possession, but never threatened the goal, so a lot of credit has to go to Jordan Henderson for his work on the night.

He’s not your typical Kante type of player, but that’s fine with me. For a start, Kante can’t pass the ball more than 15 yards without closing his eyes and hoping. Hendo can cover the midfield area as Kante does, but can also spray a pass 60 yards and smash a worldie into the top bin at Stamford Bridge.

Have you seen Kante do that yet?

No, neither have I.

8/10.

Wijnaldum

Geordie Wine Gum:

 

EXCLUSIVE NEWS:

In 2017 there shall be a new flavour of Wine Gum released, in honour of Gini Wijnaldum tonight.

Yep, the ‘Salmon Flavour’ Wine Gum will be hitting stores in January 2017, to celebrate the fact that Gini lept like a f*cking salmon to head home the winner.

You are all wonderful people for reading my rants about this wonderful, wonderful team over the last 18 months, so this was my present to you to say thank you.

What do you mean you don’t know what I mean? Read this from my review of him from the Everton game, then think about what happened tonight. I keep telling you the lads read my reviews, but so few of you believe me….

Here we have a player who scored quite a few goals last season playing for a team that were frankly rotten. He knows where the goals are, and he knows how to put the ball into them.

Why he now breaks out in a sweat every time he sees a net baffles me.

I heard that his missus asked him to buy some onions the other day but he fell to pieces in his local Asda when he saw how they were packaged. He can’t watch NBA without breaking out in a rash. He doesn’t own a phone or computer as he can’t bear to have access to the ‘net.

Everything else he does, he does reasonably well. However if he doesn’t start throwing in some goals, you feel that the team as a whole are missing out on something that maybe someone else could provide. I mean, Emre Can has banged in a few this season….just saying….

7/10

 Emre Can

Emre Can: 

 

In arguable the biggest game of the season, Jurgen Klopp decided to break glass in case of an emergency…and out popped Emre Can.

There’s no doubt that Emre carries the full trust of the gaffer, and he earned that trust with an incredibly disciplined, energetic and committed performance tonight.

He made it so damn difficult (along with Hendo / Wijnaldum / Lallana) for the City players to get any rhythm going in midfield. In fact I’d argue that they made Yaya play like Kolo in midfield tonight.

That’s probably what the darts fans are debating…every 10 fecking minutes….

8/10.

firmino

Barbosa de Olivera

 

A very good friend of mine (and fellow LFC fan) texted me about 15 minutes into the game to ask if I was live-blogging it or just watching it. It soon emerged that he was not watching the game as he doesn’t have BT Sport on his TV (understandable) and that he had invited friends over for dinner tonight so he couldn’t go out to watch it (NOT understandable).

Anyway, he was trying to follow the game on a certain popular football website and they said that ‘Barbosa de Olivera’ was playing upfront for Liverpool.

My mate was confused. With Origi and Sturridge on the bench, why would Klopp put a Melwood kid into the game ahead of them?

I explained to him that Bobby Firmino was actually called Roberto Firmino Barbosa de Olivera, and that the website he was looking at were being wantonly obtuse twats. Yet it got me thinking…

Tonight, and for the past few games, we’ve been watching Barbosa de Olivera play for Liverpool, not the Bobby Firmino we all know and love….

The lack of control from the sumptuous James Milner through ball….The delay on the pass to the clear through Adam Lallana…

Neither of them were Bobby Firmino. They were the work of Barbosa de Olivera, and he’s a bit sh*t.

7/10.

Sadio Mane.jpg

Sadio Mané:

 

Darting here…Darting there…Darting everywhere…

Sadio Mane was like MVG tonight, always a menace, always looking to cause the maximum damage…

D’ya like what I did there? Christ, tough crowd….

The biggest question over the Liverpool title charge right now is how they’ll cope without Sadio Mane during the AFCON.

HANG ON!!!!

AFCON? The Alex Ferguson CON??? The B*STARD! He’s taking one of our best players away from us! What a dastardly plan! What can we do?

All we can do is hope that Senegal lose every single game they play…with Mane on the bench….

8/10

Substitutes:

lucas

Lucas:

 

A huge night for ‘Shut Up Shop Ltd’.

They may still be expanding into the Italian market, but they’ll never be forgotten in the Merseyside area.

They do a hell of a job.

*sniff*

10/10

origi

Divock Origi:

 

I love this kid.

Big. Strong. Aware.

Running into corners. Running off the last shoulder. Running into my heart forever.

A great cameo. His introduction stemmed the tide of the City onslaught and provided Liverpool with out-balls and options further up the field when they most needed it.

9/10

 


klopp-new

Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 

 

After 24 years, Jurgen Klopp has led Liverpool to the best opening half of a season ever. 43 points from 19 games, 1 point better than Rafa Benitez managed in 08/09, before he became obsessed with ‘facts’.

Do you think that Jurgen is going to get obsessed with ‘facts’? Nah, neither do I.

When Chelsea embarked on their frankly ludicrous run (and all credit to them, the b*stards), their league record was:

W 3     D 1    L 2

10 points from 6 games. Not bad by any means, but apparently Conte was on the verge of the sack. F*ck sake, football is a joke.

Anyway, they’ve since won 13 games in a row and now read:

W 16      D 1     L2

Yet they’re only 6 points ahead of Jurgens’ Reds…

They’re going to have a blip. They’re going to get injuries, bad luck or bad decisions, and Liverpool aren’t going away….

8/10.

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. Christmas cost me a fecking fortune.

 

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…

7/10 

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.

7/10. 

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.

7/10

Klavan

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…)

7/10

james-milner

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.

8/10

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.

8/10

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?

8/10.

Wijnaldum

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…)

7/10

 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?

 7/10.

firmino

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.

7/10.

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?

9/10

Substitutes:

lucas

Lucas:

 

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

alberto-moreno

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…

7/10

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.

7/10

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?

8/10


klopp-new

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….

8/10.

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. Christmas cost me a fecking fortune.

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

 

Everton 0-1 Liverpool: The Ranting Rebel Ratings

Simon Mignolet Yellow

Simon Mignolet:

 

As far as recalls go, this is going pretty well.

It’s going better than most politicians who are asked to ‘recall’ events / decisions that have gone tits up.

Speaking of which, it’s also going better than the movie ‘Total Recall’, despite the fact that there’s a woman with three breasts AND Sharon Stone in it (There’s an easy gag in there about Karius and ‘Tits’ but I’m not going to make it…)

In truth Migs had less to do last night than he did at Boro. D’ya hear that Toffees? Middlesbrough caused us more hassle…

I for one am not going to start complaining that our goalkeeper had sod all to do though. Long may it continue.

The good news is that Migs doesn’t have to do the special ‘Christmas Bedding’ change that always happens in my house. Nope, he’s got two clean sheets for Christmas.

Badoom and indeed Tish.

8/10 

Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:

 

You may be expecting me to launch into a rant about his ineffectiveness going forward, but not today.

Y’see despite the fact that it’s 21 years since Everton won a major trophy, they’re still our neighbours, and a trip to Goodison (I actually typed ‘tripe’ there…even my subconscious can’t help itself) is a tough trip.

Therefore, our right back helped keep a clean sheet, and once again his reputation precedes him – Everton kept going at our left hand side, respecting the fact that defensively Patsy is rock-solid.

I’m going to ring Jurgen this morning and tell him that he should arrange a ‘Big Brother’ house set-up, and get Patsy to move in with Phil, Bobby, Adam and Sadio. If some of their attacking sparkle can rub off on Clyne, we’re laughing.

8/10. 

Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren:

 

Well I thought he was bloody immense.

I’ve had a pop at Dejan once or twice *cough* over the years, and accused him of being a ‘follower’ rather than a ‘leader’, but he was a leader last night.

Dominant in the air, a threat with the ball at his feet (to the opposition and not us, which is a refreshing change of pace…), and not afraid to jump in to defend his teammates when Everton got a bit carried away.

I’m also loving the facial hair. He’s just a quick bout of alopecia away from having Flash Gordon show up and kick his ass. That may not sound like a good thing, but Brian Blessed is almost certain to show up, and everything is better with Brian Blessed.

ming-the-merciless
When I said Dejan was ‘minging’ this wasn’t what I meant…

If you have no idea what ‘Flash Gordon / Ming The Merciless’ is, you should really watch the movie. It’ll make your Christmas.

9/10

Klavan

Ragnar Klavan: 

 

He had some issues with Lukaku in the air during the opening half hour, but eventually subdued the big Belgian and had him neatly tucked away by full time. Normally he’d keep Romelu in his pocket, but it’s the most magical time of the year so you’ll now find Lukaku stuffed inside Ragnar’s stocking, hanging on his mantelpiece.

Sky Sports and Alan ‘Smudger’ Smith were quick to point out that Klavan The Barbarian struggled in the air, but how many headers did you see Arnold Schwarzenegger win in Conan The Barbarian?

Exactly.

8/10

james-milner

James Milner: 

 

FIFA are a funny lot, aren’t they? The fines that were handed out to, erm, everyone yesterday for displaying ‘political symbols’ made me so mad that I forgot to blink. For an hour.

Well, I now fully expect Everton to be fined by FIFA after last night.

Why you ask?

Well it’s all down to the peculiar vernacular associated with football. You always hear of players ‘bombing on’ or ‘bombing down the wing’ and ‘raiding the oppositions half’. Last night Everton had a man from Donegal ‘raiding and bombing’ down Milner’s wing for the majority of the first half. Even the most ignorant of cretins should recognise that this was a clear political statement by Everton, referencing the troubles in Northern Ireland. The fact that it was masterminded by Ronald Koeman, who played for Holland, who play in ORANGE….well, need I say more?

Truly shocking.

P.S. Before you have a go at me for the Donegal/Coleman/Troubles/Orange mishmash, I’m Irish, so yes I know….

8/10

Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana: 

 

When Adam is involved in a match where he doesn’t get a chance to show off his silky skills and attacking joie de vivre, you only then realise how hard he bloody works in every game…

I’ve compared him to a Rolls Royce in recent reviews, and this comaprison still holds true. Yes, you think of a smooth, sleek car oozing class, but you forget the monster of an engine under the bonnet. The kind of engine that’s used in long-haul airliners.

This explains how Adam runs from Liverpool to New York and back each game. Fuelled by Nivea of course. You should try it*

*Any damage caused to your car by pouring Nivea in the fuel tank is not my responsibility

8/10

Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson:

 

Loyalty is a fine trait in a person. There’s not enough loyalty in the modern world, where everyone would happily sh*t on everyone else if it meant they’d benefit in some way.

But can you have too much loyalty? If you can, I think Jordan displayed it last night…

Let’s call things as they are – that was a SHOCKING challenge by Ross Barkley last night. Awful. Dangerous. Leg-Breaker. Late. Callous. Calculated. A sh*thouse tackle.

However Ross Barkley is English, and (inexplicably) has been in England squads, so Jordan is ‘loyal’ to him. He came out and played down the tackle, said it was no big deal and that Ross is a ‘good lad’.

F*cking hell Jordan! How far does this ‘loyalty’ stretch?

If you found him in bed with your missus, would you apologise for disturbing them and quietly close the door to let them get back at it?

If he ran over your granny, would you pay for the dents she caused to his bumper?

If he tried to break your leg in a match, would you pretend like nothing happened?

Oh….

8/10.

Wijnaldum

Geordie Wine Gum:

 

Here we have a player who scored quite a few goals last season playing for a team that were frankly rotten. He knows where the goals are, and he knows how to put the ball into them.

Why he now breaks out in a sweat every time he sees a net baffles me.

I heard that his missus asked him to buy some onions the other day but he fell to pieces in his local Asda when he saw how they were packaged. He can’t watch NBA without breaking out in a rash. He doesn’t own a phone or computer as he can’t bear to have access to the ‘net.

Everything else he does, he does reasonably well. However if he doesn’t start throwing in some goals, you feel that the team as a whole are missing out on something that maybe someone else could provide. I mean, Emre Can has banged in a few this season….just saying….

7/10

 Divock Origi

Divock Origi: 

 

He didn’t score…

I know, I’m in shock too.

If the rumours are to be believed, Phil will be back for the clash with City on New Years Eve. That means that there’s just one game left before the three amigos are reunited up front. If that is to be the case, then Divock Origi has played a stellar role as a squad player, and will undoubtedly get more opportunities in the near future. There’s a FA Cup 3rd Round tie in early January with his name all over it.

 7/10.

firmino

Roberto Firmino

 

You know that Bobby had probably his worst game in a Liverpool shirt when Klopp name drops him after the game in an anticipatory defence of his favourite player.

For all his faults though he came closest to breaking the deadlock before it was broken (shurrup, you know what I mean), and he was desperately unlucky not to add a second in the last minute.

However, as with all of us, you know he’s counting down the days until the big moment. That moment when all your wishes come true. That moment when you go to sleep one final time and then wake up to see everything you ever wanted waiting for you. It’s so close now. Just mere days left. He’s coming…

Yep, Phil Coutinho is nearly fit again.

6/10.

Sadio Mane.jpg

Sadio Mané:

 

I’m going to prefix this piece of the review by stating very clearly that I am not racist….we all got that? Good.

Africa is bloody stupid. Yes, the whole chuffing continent. All of them. Every single last one.

Holding an international tournament in the middle of the season. Get bent. Tw*ts.

I swear to Lucifer that if Sadio gets injured when on duty for his country I’m going to declare war on the whole continent. Just me. On my own. Yes the odds are stacked against me, but you’ve never seen me when I’m angry…

Well in Sadio. Outstanding.

9/10

Substitutes:

lucas

Lucas:

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

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

Yes I know that’s a direct repeat of the last review, but it’s EXACTLY what he was used for.

N/A

Emre Can

Emre Can:

 

What happens when the Rolls Royce runs out of gas?

You bring on a tank.

Welcome back Emre.

7/10

Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge:

 

You just know that Daniel confuses the bejaysus out of Jurgen Klopp.

He can’t get his head around him at all. He’s injured and he never knows how serious it is. He comes on and impacts a game when he’s only had two sessions training after a month long lay-off. He also does a funny dance when he scores….

While Jurgen may not understand him, you also suspect that he’s bloody happy to have him. Who wouldn’t? He brought that little something different last night, just when we needed it.

Just as Origi has played a huge role this season as a squad player, I also expect Daniel to do the same. If he’s fit….

8/10


klopp-new

Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 

 

There was a moment last night, about 90 seconds after the goal, when the cameras captured Jurgen reacting in the same way that I suspect many of us did at that moment.

It was a moment of realisation. A moment of clarity. A moment that instilled both hope and utter, utter dread in the hearts and souls of everyone connected with Liverpool Football Club.

It was a moment when you realise that it’s nights like THIS, moments like THIS that mean you’re in a title race. This is really on. 6 points is a gap, but football is football…we could be level on points by New Years Day for feck sake. We’re not even halfway through the season yet.

Three years ago we were in a title race, but it kind of snuck up on us. It was March before we *really* believed it was on.

Not now though.Not this year. There’s a 21 game title run-in ahead of us. It’s going to take its toll on us all, but we’re all in this together, and Jurgen is our leader.

Boss tha’.

10/10.

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.

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.

 

8/10 

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.

8/10. 

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.

7/10

Klavan

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:

estonia

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

8/10

james-milner

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.

7/10

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…..

10/10

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.

8/10.

Wijnaldum

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.

7/10

 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?

Heh.

 9/10.

firmino

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….

8/10.

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’

8/10

Substitutes:

lucas

Lucas:

 

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

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

N/A

ovie-ejaria

Ovie Ejaria:

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

He’s a good boy is Ovie.

N/A

trent-alexander-arnold

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.

N/A


klopp-new

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.

8/10.

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.

Liverpool 2-2 West Ham: The Ranting Rebel Ratings

loris-karius

Loris Karius:

 

Last week I wanted the next picture I saw of Fandango to be on a ‘WANTED’ poster, charged with impersonating a goalkeeper. You’re probably expecting more of the same today, but I’m feeling a tad more composed this evening. Therefore I’ll take a colder, less emotional look at his performance this afternoon.

For the Payet free-kick he was too far to the left of the goal and didn’t have a strong enough wrist when he got a hand to what was in reality a decent, but not superb, free-kick.

For the Antonia goal / Matip clusterf*ck, he was hesitant, and as the old saying goes “To hesitate is to lose”. His centre back did drop a considerable bollock, but he had a chance to rescue the situation.

In both examples he merely added more fuel to the fire that is currently raging as to whether he is really good enough at this level. We’re not talking about a lump of coal that was added to the fire, we’re talking about 30 litres of petrol with last years Christmas Tree floating in it.

To his credit the only thing he had to do in the second half, he did well. He was quick off his line, got a firm punch on a dangerous cross and split Andy Carroll open, all at the same time. He gets an extra point for that.

When managers sign a top-class goalkeeper they say that their new signing will be worth 10 points a season to their team. This doesn’t mean that they’ll make world class saves regularly throughout the season to keep wins from becoming draws, or draws from becoming defeats. What they’re saying is that their new signing doesn’t drop clangers very often, the likes of which clinch defeat from the jaws of victory. For an example, see Bournemouth away last week and West Ham home today.

Klopp has a tough decision to make, similar to one that faced Brendan Rodgers a few seasons ago when Simon Mignolet was faced with the exact same barrage of criticism. Brendan chose to take Mignolet out of the limelight to regain confidence and composure, and brought him back a number of weeks later.

The man to benefit from that was Brad Jones, now plying his trade in Holland, and this week the recipient of the ‘Goalkeeper Of The Year’ award in the Eredivisie (I sh*t you not). The man who could benefit from a similar decision by Klopp would be Simon Mignolet.

Football, you have a very sick sense of humour.

6/10 

Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:

 

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…

7/10. 

Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren:

 

Hooked at half-time, or at least that’s what you think happened…

The truth is that Herr Klopp lost his rag during the break. He was roaring German expletives at his troops, spittle flying from his foaming mouth splattering the dressing room walls like a plasterers radio. The glasses went flying, Origi was crying in the corner and Klopp flung a water bottle at the door of the toilets.

Unfortunately Dejan had just dropped a yule log and was coming out to face the music, only to get beamed with the flying bottle, knocking him spark out.

Klopp actually called for Lucas to replace him, but he just found a Lucas shaped hole in the dressing room door as the Brazilian stalwart had pegged it in sheer terror.

Of course Klavan The Barbarian wasn’t afraid (well, he was, but not as much as the others), so he stepped in.

I have no further update on the condition of Lovren, nor the water bottle.

7/10

joel-matip

Joel Matip: 

 

What a disaster last weekend was at Bournemouth. We missed Joel Matip massively. He brings such calm and assurance to our defence. Once we get him back, everything will be fine. We’ve only conceded a couple of goals when he’s played. He’s the answer to all our woes…..

As his father Billy Joel always told him “Teamwork is everything. No one person is more important than the team, and beware of those who tell you otherwise. People lie Joel. People lie all the time. They’ll tell you that you’re the King, but you need your teammates, always and forever”.

Billy also reflected these feelings in his seminal 1978 hit ‘Honesty’:

If you search for tenderness
It isn’t hard to find
You can have the love you need to live
But if you look for truthfulness
You might just as well be blind
It always seems to be so hard to give

Honesty is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

Joel had been adamant all week that the failings at Bournemouth were not just due to his absence, but nobody would listen to him. Lovren/Lucas/Clyne/Milner spent all week slapping him on the back and telling him that he’s the answer to Liverpool’s defensive woes, every question on Mastermind and global warming.

Therefore Joel was left with little option but to show them that they were wrong, hence his (very deliberate) cock-up that presented West Ham with their second goal.

It’s a tough lesson to learn, but I think we’re all the better for learning it.

Thank you Joel (and Billy).

9/10

james-milner

James Milner: 

 

James Milner has been exceptional at left-back this season, hasn’t he?

Well….

Aside from his penalties (and he has been exceptional at converting those), he has, like his counterpart at right back, spent a lot of this season roaring up the left flank, and he’s contributed….one assist.

I know, I couldn’t believe it either, but I checked the FPL website (and wept when I saw what my team scored this week), but it’s true. One assist (at home to Leicester City), and he has been part of a defence that has conceded 15 goals in 13 games in which he’s played.

I’m not blaming Milner for all of our defensive woes, and he’s the one that is learning a new position, but a critical eye has to be cast over his contribution, particularly as the role of the full-backs is so central to how Klopp’s 4-3-3 system works.

So in summary we have a dodgy keeper, a centre back who wants to teach us all a valuable lesson, another who’s name is Dejan Lovren, and two full backs who haven’t really done much this season.

Splendid. Merry Christmas me arse.

6/10

Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana: 

 

Welcome back Adam.

How we’ve missed him. A sublime first touch followed by a clinical finish put us on the front foot early doors, but alas that was not enough for us to kick on to three points.

Lallana is a Rolls Royce of a footballer. His touch and vision is exceptional and he’s going to be crucial to Liverpool over the hectic Christmas period while we wait for Phil to return, and then throughout January when Mane buggers off to Africa.

On a side note, if you’re planning on getting Adam Lallana a gift this Christmas, make it a Nivea gift set, aye? Just for a laugh. G’wan, I dare ya.

8/10

Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson:

 

On Christmas Eve millions of children will leave out a fresh carrot for Rudolph as he treks across the globe delivering presents to every child on the ‘Nice’ list.

On Christmas Eve Jordan Henderson will sneak into Darren Randolph’s house and shove a carrot up his arse for making ‘that’ save.

Yes, that’ll put Jordan on the ‘Naughty’ list, but to be quite frank, do you think he gives a f*ck? That shot was heading for the top bin. It was perfect. How f*cking DARE Randolph make that save. The b*astard.

7/10.

Wijnaldum

Geordie Wine Gum:

 

I lost count of the number of times that Gini broke into the box, was picked out with a lovely pass….and then needed about three touches to get it under control and get a shot away. Needless to say he wasn’t afforded the time to get his shot away…

Christina Aguilera rose to fame with her hit ‘Genie in a bottle’. I’m so frustrated at this result that I’d like to cover that song with a minor change…I’ll call it ‘Gini I’d Like To Bottle’….

JUST F*CKING HIT IT MAN…

6/10

 Divock Origi

Divock Origi: 

 

Four goals in four games.

You can’t really ask anymore of a 21 year old who’s still trying to find his way in the game. Imagine if Marcus Rashford had 4 in 4? The whole nation would be sticky due to the flood of media orgasms…

You can tell that Origi hasn’t quite got the same level of telepathic understanding as Coutinho has with Firmino/Mane, but that’s to be expected. He started this season as the 5th choice for the front three spots…

Should Daniel Sturridge find fitness in the near future, you’d be hard pressed to find a reason why he’d start ahead of Divock. Mind you I think it’s 50/50 who’s more likely to turn up by Christmas day. Santa or Sturridge? Place your bets now….

8/10.

firmino

Roberto Firmino

 

Oh Bobby…

My theory on his poor form being linked to the absence of Phil is well documented on these pages, but it just seems to be getting worse and worse.

The daft ponytail / top knot / PS4 antennae was shorn during the week, but alas it didn’t have a ‘Reverse Samson’ effect

We also all know that he’s got motivation to get back on the scoresheet too, as the details of his goal bonuses have been revealed. I’m a big fan of that by the way, as it gives us all an insight into the motivating factors for these multi-millionaires. I don’t care how much money you have, if you know that you’ll get an extra £45,000 for every goal you’ll score, it gets your attention. I mean, that’s an extra gold toilet brush for all six toilets in his gaff. I’m dying to know how many bottles of Nivea Adam Lallana got for his goal today.

I have a theory though that if you look back on Bobby’s peformance today there were numerous occasions when he put himself in a superb position where a single visionary pass would put him clean through and sure to score….

Unfortunately his mate who played him all those passes is crocked, and nobody else is seeing his runs…

Patience Bobby, patience. Keep plugging away.

7/10.

Sadio Mane.jpg

Sadio Mané:

 

When Joel Matip revealed that he had turned down his countries invite to the African Cup Of Nations, everybody at Liverpool Football Club was delighted…apart from one person…

To say that all eyes at Melwood were on Sadio Mane would be an understatement. I’ve heard that Sadio wore sunglasses 24 hours a day for the last 4 days to avoid eye contact with anyone at the club. He’s torn between loyalty to his country and the demands of his teammates and manager.

To his credit he’s doing all he can to ensure Liverpool are in as strong a position as possible when he leaves. He came off at Bournemouth after having a leading role in putting the side 3-1 ahead, only to see it all fall apart. Today he ran West Ham ragged on both wings, setting up both goals. I suspect we’ll appreciate his talent all the more come February, but for all the wrong reasons.

8/10

Substitutes:

Klavan

Ragnar Klavan:

 

Did you notice the difference between West Ham in the first half and West Ham in the second half?

Aye, they were terrified to even try and attack us in the second half.

Klavan The Barbarian, ladies and gentlemen.

7/10


klopp-new

Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 

 

I’m not one for demanding that a manager should purchase someone during the transfer window just for the sake of it, but I have one question tonight:

Why name certain players on the bench if you’re not going to use them?

I’m all for giving youth a chance and had no issue with the likes of Woodburn, Alexander-Arnold and Ejaria being on the bench, but I do have an issue with them not being called upon when the opportunity arose. Does Jurgen not believe in them enough to call on them when needed? If so, I presume he’ll be very active in the January Transfer Window…

As for the other issues in the team, I liken it to No-Limit Texas-Hold-Em Poker. Everything in the universe, including Poker and this Liverpool team can be explained and understood through mathematics. No matter how many times you have ‘moments of magic’, you’ll eventually be undone by your weaknesses, as the law of averages always, always comes to pass.

Liverpool have weaknesses in defence, and no matter how often they score 2 goals in a game, eventually the law of averages will come to pass and those weaknesses will cost you. That’s what we’ve seen against Bournemouth and West Ham. You may be one of those who can’t quite understand how we concede so many goals from so few shots on target against us, but that’s maths for you. We went over 5 hours without conceding a goal, but that was an anomaly. So was conceding 4 at Bournemouth.

The much-respected Irish football pundit and ex-player/manager of his country John Giles says that Jurgen Klopp is a one-trick pony, but that it’s a hell of a trick….

That’s quite an accusation from a man who has seen pretty much everything in football. For the first time this season questions are being asked of Jurgen Klopp, and with games coming thick and fast for the next few weeks, it’s going to be fascinating to see how he answers them.

Will the ‘one-trick pony’ be sent to the glue factory or will he win the Grand National?

7/10.

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.

Bournemouth 4-3 Liverpool: The Ranting Rebel Ratings

loris-karius

Loris Karius:

 

I’m not sure if you follow Loris Karius on his social media channels, but believe me when I tell you that the boy likes to have his picture taken. Sure why wouldn’t he? Look at him! He’s sickeningly good-looking and if the old football doesn’t work out I’m sure he’ll be strutting on a catwalk in Paris or Milan in no time.

After this afternoon though the only photograph I want to see of Loris ‘Fandango’ Karius is a f*cking mugshot on a ‘WANTED’ poster. He should be charged with:

  • FRAUD – Impersonating a goalkeeper
  • GRAND LARCENY – Robbing Simon Mignolet of a place in the team
  • MURDER – The willful killing of Liverpool’s chances at the Vitality Stadium.

Klopp is already making supportive noises of his chosen No. 1, and I’m sure he believes that Karius will improve, but if so he’d better start improving bloody quickly. He made ONE good save in the second half, conceded 4 goals and fluked another save. Shambles.

5/10 

Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:

 

An outstanding right back at the peak of his powers.

Following the performance of young Trent Alexander-Arnold in midweek, Pasty knows that if he falls below his usual standards there’s a replacement waiting in the wings. Thankfully he’s showing that in his performances. He showed true dynamism going forward today and I’m sure he even threw in a stepover or two for good measure.

There’s a reason that when the Bournemouth siege did materialise it all came down the left side of Liverpool, well away from Clyne. That’s a mark of respect for the best right back in the league.

8/10. 

Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren:

 

 

I hate it when I’m prescient, but unfortunately I am. Regularly. Just last weekend I wrote the following for Dejan’s review:

Here we have a man who is absolutely flourishing alongside a central defensive partner that suits him down to the ground.

Dejan can now play his own game, free in the knowledge that when/if he ‘does a Dejan’, there’s Billy (Joel) Matip alongside him to make it all better instantly. As a result Dejan is actually making less errors, is growing in confidence and his decision making is improving all the time.

Lo and behold, take Joel Matip out of the equation and Dejan doesn’t just ‘do a Dejan’, he hits ‘peak Dejan’ and all hell breaks loose. Add to this equation the fact that he was playing on the left-side of defence, alongside a fullback who’s not actually a fullback and you can see why Eddie Howe targeted that flank in the second half when he had nothing to lose.

It’s not uncommon for a central defensive partnership to have a leader/follower dynamic. However when the ‘leader’ is absent, you either replace him with another ‘leader’ or you’re probably best off to replace the ‘follower’ as well. Lucas is not a ‘leader’, but more of that later…

I’ve also heard that Alec Baldwin and Saturday Night Live are dropping their ‘Trump’ skit and doing one on Lovren next week. Well, they’ve had huge success lampooning a bumbling buffoon recently….

5/10

lucas

Lucas: 

 

The selection of Lucas at centre back has worked well over the last 12 months or so since Klopp decided that the Brazilian stalwart could plug a Sakho-sized hole in the Liverpool squad. However just because something has worked well a few times doesn’t mean that it will work well forever, and today could be the day that the ‘Lucase Centre Back’ experiment died a death.

The fact that Ragnar Klavan was on the bench watching the unfolding debacle was a source of great frustration for me. Admittedly the Estonian hasn’t set the world alight during his limited chances in the first team this season (Burnley away springs to mind), but he does have over 130 caps for his country.

Yes, I know Estonia are shite (no offence to my Estonian readers – yes, I do have Estonian readers), but that’s exactly why Klavan would have been ideal today. He knows what it’s like to play in a crap defence alongside liabilities who haven’t a clue what they’re doing (I’m not naming any names except to say that his surname begins with L. And ends with ovren).

Who better to try and steady a ship that’s under bombardment than a man who’s had over 130 attempts at it before? Lucas clearly didn’t have a clue what was happening while Lovren was causing the chaos.

I could keep going on about the issues at the heart of the Liverpool defence but Christmas is coming, I have sod all done for it, and if I really get into it I’ll still be typing on Boxing Day.

6/10

james-milner

James Milner: 

 

James Milner is from ‘oop North’.

Playing away at Bournemouth is so far south that the poor lad got confused and thought he was on his holidays. That’s why he was late in the tackle to concede the penalty – he was locked on 6 cans of Stella.

On a serious note, Milner has excelled thus far this season in a position that he is learning from scratch, but today Eddie Howe showed the world how he could be exposed – PACE. Get Milner overloaded on the left and faced with pace and you have him on toast.

Here’s a thought. Patsy Clyne has played left back before, quite effectively. Trent Alexander-Arnold looks fantastic at right back….

I’ll just leave that thought right there….

6/10

Emre Can

Emre Can: 

 

Emre had a day that was more up and down than a Kardashians knickers.

A super assist for Mane followed by a thunderous finish for the third goal. So far, so good.

However for large parts of the game he was anonymous, and when the sh*t truly hit the fan, he was nowhere to be seen. For the last 20 minutes of the game today, Liverpool were truly under the cosh. Bournemouth were coming forward in waves, and Liverpool needed someone to fight fire with fire and to get stuck in. Surely this is where Emre should have excelled, but alas he was as wide-eyed and shell-shocked as everyone else.

I’m not saying he was worse than the rest, but when you’re seen as the gaffers favoured on-pitch lieutenant, there’s an expectation that you will rally the troops and at the very least throw yourself on the grenade. Emre didn’t so much throw himself on the grenade as he tried to control it and passed it straight to a Bournemouth player.

KABOOM.

7/10

Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson:

 

A typically busy Hendo performance which highlighted his range of passing, his energy and his movement.

When the going got tough, he tried to get going. My only real criticism of Hendo is that late in the second half, following a save by Karius (well, the ball hit him and went behind for a corner), he approached the keeper to give him a motivating ‘chest-bump’.

He should have f*cking chinned him.

6/10.

Wijnaldum

Geordie Wine Gum:

 

Prominent and impressive in the first half, playing in an advanced role and helped the team to a 0-2 lead at the break.

Anonymous in the second half, playing deeper, and nowhere near as effective.

Was it a tactical tweak by Klopp? Can seemed to be further forward in the second half…maybe Klopp just flipped them? Do they take turns in the advanced/sitting roles?

I wish I had answers to these questions, but I’ve called each member of the squad repeatedly since the full-time whistle, but nobody is answering.

Chicken sh*ts.

6/10

 Divock Origi

Divock Origi: 

 

Three goals in three games, the first player this season to achieve such a feat, and remember that the first of those games he started on the bench.

His finish for his goal was nothing short of sensational. It produced one of those rare yet exhilarating moments when time stands still, complete silence descends, and everything moves in slow motion. The two seconds it took for the ball to leave his boot before it eventually hit the back of the net was the closest thing to a ‘Matrix’ moment I’ve ever experienced. Magic.

Desperately unlucky not to notch a fourth Liverpool goal late in the second half with an instinctive control, turn and volley which flew just over.

BUT…that miss in the first ten minutes was so bad that at the time I felt it would always come back to haunt us. Misses like that normally do in the Premier League. Admittedly at 2-0 and 3-1 up I thought I was wrong, but I forgot that I’m never wrong. Ever. I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.

7/10.

firmino

Roberto Firmino

Last week I wrote the following during my review of Bobby Firmino:

 

I have one concern however…

The ‘chemistry’ between Coutinho and Firmino is undeniable. They’re brothers in arms both for Liverpool and Brazil and they’ve formed an extremely powerful connection and bond. Now one of them is very, very sick, and I think I’ve seen how this plays out…

Elliot ET.jpg

I hate it when I’m right.

The performance of Firmino today was so bad it’s not that Coutinho is sick and therefore so is Firmino, it’s more like somebody took Coutinho out back and shot him in the head…

The worst performance by Firmino in a Liverpool shirt by a long, long way.

5/10.

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Sadio Mané:

 

Played about an hour. Scored one. Made one. When he went off everything we touched turned to goals…for Bournemouth.

Influential? No. He’s bloody essential. Of course he limped off injured…

Cross everything. Pray to whatever God you believe in….

8/10

Substitutes:

Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana:

The last time Adam Lallana was in Bournemouth he was spotted at a ‘Gentleman’s Club’, and he then missed a number of games with a groin injury.

That’s what you call a good night out.

Good to have him back but he tends to take a couple of games to get back in the groove.

7/10


klopp-new

Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 

 

Oh Jurgen. Jurgen, Jurgen, Jurgen.

Over the last few weeks you’ve challenged those that claimed that your defence is dodgy. You’ve made it very clear that Mamadou Sakho is for sale in January. You’ve solidly given your backing to Loris Karius as your Number 1.

Now the questions are going to come, and not just from the ‘media’, but from anyone who cares about Liverpool Football Club. We all believed that days like this were behind us, the days where our defence capitulated under even modest pressure, but here we are again.

You’ve done many things right, but there’s work to do and questions to be answered. Without Matip, what’s Plan B? Or Plan C ? (if today was Plan B, scrap it). Should Sakho definitely be sold? Are you SURE about Karius?

15 games unbeaten, third in the table and in the semi-final of the League Cup. It’s been a stunning start to the season, but as Mike Tyson once said ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the head’. Today we were punched in the head repeatedly. Lets hope your plan still works.

7/10.

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