First Hurdle In Difficult Stretch Cleared
Jurgen Klopp described Liverpool’s victory at Wembley as the “best performance of the season”.
“The performance today was better that the result. Especially because in all the games (before), we had really good moments, but today we had 85 brilliant minutes”, Klopp said.
Despite the improved performance, the result should’ve been far more clear cut as finishing let the Reds down.
Alisson – 7:
Alisson promised last week that he wouldn’t repeat the error that led to Leicester’s goal, and he was good for his word.
The Brazilian was far more efficient with the ball and pulled off a strong save to dent Christian Eriksen. Alisson can take no share of the blame for Erik Lamela’s rocketed shot into the bottom corner.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7.5:
The young Scouser put on another impressive display and was influential at both ends of the pitch.
TAA had a chance to score from a well-placed free-kick, but unfortunately he couldn’t work the keeper after beating the wall.
Joe Gomez – 8:
Another credible display against top opposition shows that Gomez is finally fulfilling his immense potential.
One lapse early in the second-half to allow Harry Kane through on goal was the only blemish on an excellent performance, punctuated by an incredible covering run to deny the speedy Lucas Moura.
Virgil van Dijk – 8.5:
VVD hadn’t been at his best for the previous few Liverpool games, but as was to be expected, he’s returned to form without too much delay.
Most impressive of all was his ability to completely nullify Kane to the point that it was easy to forget the England striker was on the pitch.
Andy Robertson – 7.5:
Another copy and paste review of Robbo’s performance. Solid at both ends of the pitch.
The new Scottish captain has made a metoric rise in the last year, and one wonders how much further he has to grow.
Gini Wijnaldum – 8:
The curse is over! Gini finally scored an away goal in the league, so you have to wonder what the commentators will say now whenever he touches the ball in an away game.
His headed goal was undoubtedly the highlight of his day despite some good positional work, he was also guilty at times of stunting attacking movements with uncharacteristically poor passes.
James Milner – 8:
Milner, like Gini, is just about undroppable at the moments, and if these two keep it up Fabinho will struggle for game time.
His positional sense was exemplary, filling in for others as they pushed up. The only negative was once giving the ball away dangerously on the edge of the box.
Naby Keita – 7:
He’s still not quite there unfortunately, and this really was the game to kick start his Liverpool career properly.
He had a couple of chances to score, but couldn’t, and in general still appeared to be rusty. Of course he’ll come good at some stage, but hopefully that is sooner rather than later.
Mo Salah – 6:
Mo kept getting into the right positions, but consistently picked out the wrong option or simply fluffed the chance, including a one on one with Michel Vorm.
Some of this is undoubtedly down to putting extra pressure on himself to replicate last year’s heroics, but we need him back at his best for the games to come.
Sadio Mane – 7:
Like Salah, Mane was causing the opposition defence no end of problems, but couldn’t convert or pick out the right option.
He failed to find Gini when he was clean on goal, and fell over himself when a goal beckoned. In fairness to both wingers, despite not having the end-product, their overall games were quite good.
Bobby Firmino – 8.5 (Man of the Match):
This was undoubtedly Firmino’s best game of the season, although still miles away from his devastating best.
His composure on the ball was a sight to behold as his deft touches and turns were justly rewarded with the winning goal.
Jordan Henderson – (on for Firmino 74′) 6.5:
Hendo did a decent job after subbing on for Firmino. Bobby was severely poked in the eye by Jan Vertonghen, yet the referee blew a foul in Spurs’ favour much to Klopp’s bemusement.
Daniel Sturridge – (on for Keita 82′) 6.5:
Keita had to fill in for Bobby when he went off, but Studge couldn’t do much better when he came on with only minutes to go. Has to take part of the blame for losing Lamela at the back post.
Joel Matip – (on for Alexander-Arnold 89′) N/A:
No time to make an impact.
Unused Subs – Simon Mignloet, Alberto Moreno, Fabinho, and Xherdan Shaqiri
Jurgen Klopp – 8:
Klopp has to take a lot of credit for Liverpool’s perfect start considering the performances haven’t been the best.
Rotating the team would’ve been tempting, but our best XI was required for the league which is the ultimate prize.
How Much Longer Until Our Front Three Are Back?
All Liverpool fans were left frustrated at times when our attack either couldn’t finish chances they would’ve snapped up last season, or selfishly picked out the wrong option when an easy goal beckoned.
Klopp himself was seething on the sidelines at times, regularly bellowing at those he felt were culpable.
With that level of fury, it’s certain that Klopp will focus his attention on this side of things, and surely it won’t be long until they’re either back to their best or the likes of Shaqiri and Sturridge are given a chance to do better.
As much as I believe it’s a good thing that Klopp chose to not rotate in this game, it does raise the question as to his intentions for the rest of the squad.
How much longer will the likes of Fabinho and Shaqiri in particular need before their ready to prove their work.
Some have suggested the next game against PSG in the Champions League will be the occasion Klopp finally rotates, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is not the case.
First Step of Many
Liverpool’s next game is at home vs PSG, followed by what should be a fairly straightforward home fixture against Southampton.
Given that fact, Klopp may play his best XI against PSG, then rest them vs Southampton so that they’re fresh to take on undefeated Chelsea and league favorites Manchester City.
Whatever the case, continuing our winning form in the league is the most important thing and Klopp will likely have the same opinion.
You’ll Never Walk Alone
Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 16/09/2018