Liverpool 4 – 1 Cardiff : Player Ratings and Talking Points

Condolences to all of those effected by the events in Leicester. YNWA.

Another Statement Performance

The Reds were not as their best against Cardiff, and yet were unlucky to only finish the game as 4-1 victors. That says a lot about how far this Liverpool side have come.

Mo Salah opened the scoring after knocking in a rebound, but Liverpool couldn’t extend their lead until deep into the second half despite generally playing well.

Sadio Mane picked up a brace for the second and fourth goals, while Xherdan Shaqiri’s lovely touch and finish settled the nerves after Cardiff brought the score back to 2-1.

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Player Ratings

Alisson – 6:

Liverpool could’ve played without a goalkeeper until just before halftime when Alisson had to make a routine movement to collect a misplaced through ball.

It was a shame that a freak deflection cost him his 10th consecutive at Anfield, but he couldn’t have done anything about it.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6.5:

Trent probably could’ve done with a rest like Robbo was given, and the fact that he was less involved than usual is perhaps a sign that the young man has been playing too many minutes.

He didn’t do anything wrong, he just didn’t appear to have the energy to stamp his authority on the game.

Dejan Lovren – 6:

Lovren wasn’t quite as bad as some people would have you believe. He’s someone been burdened with the blame for Cardiff’s goal, despite the fact that it took a ridiculous deflection off VVD.

He wasn’t as good as against Manchester City, but his performance didn’t warrant the continued abuse of some sections of the fan base that just will not get off the guy’s back. You can be respectful and reasonable while not wanting him to start.

Virgil van Dijk – 6.5:

Like the rest of the defence, VVD had very little to do. Although, he did hit the post with an early header and was clearly disappointed that he couldn’t do better.

The only other incident of note was the wicked deflection that Cardiff’s goal took off his legs, but again, it was through no fault of his own.

Alberto Moreno – 6.5:

If you’re gonna play Moreno, these are the games to do it. The fact that Cardiff were sitting so deep meant Moreno could overlap and get crosses into the box, and he did a reasonable job of that.

He might’ve gotten the highest rating out of the defenders due to his increased involvement, but he was caught badly out of position in the buildup to Cardiff’s goal.

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Fabinho – 7.5

Fabinho was excellent again in his second start in a row. His passing was crisp, if not always too sophisticated, and his tackling was second to none.

This was most evident with a crucial, and crunching, tackle on the edge of his own box to completely relieve any sense of danger. This is an excellent time for the Brazilian to find his feet in Red.

Gini Wijnaldum – 8:

Gini is such an outstanding footballer, and those who fail to recognise that fact, simply don’t understand football.

Gini’s all round game has come on in leaps and bounds as his breaking up of play and dribbling are beginning to match his passing. Speaking of which, Gini completed 111 passes on the day, only 1 less than the entirety of Cardiff’s team managed!

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Adam Lallana – 5:

Fans have to be willing to give Lallana more time given his lengthy recovery from several injuries in a row, but he’s done nothing to buy himself time with that performance.

Klopp was right to sub him off after an hour as he was making little to no impact pn the game beyond slowing attacks down with his insistence on taking four of five touches more than necessary.

Bobby Firmino – 6.5:

Cardiff tried to copy the tactics that Crystal Palace had employed earlier in the season, and on both occasions, one of the biggest aims was to eliminate the half-spaces that Bobby thrives in.

Despite not being able to get into the game as much, he worked his socks off again and his occupation of defenders and midfielders was off benefit to the rest of the side.

Sadio Mane – 8:

His final ball was a little off at first, but his linkup play greatly improved as the game went on, and for that he was awarded with two delightful goals.

The first came after a bizarre sequence where Mane nearly lost the ball two or three times before absolutely cannoning the ball into the back of the net, and the second was a cool finish to round off a slick counter-attack.

Mo Salah – (Man of the Match) 8.5:

It’s very satisfying to finally be able to award Salah with another man of the match award. He scored the first goal of the match, which is usually the most important, and was unlucky not to have scored more.

His linkup play was far better, even if his finishing still has some way to go. He also displayed a beaming smile after scoring, silencing the idiotic pundits who suggested he was unhappy or wanted to leave because he didn’t celebrate his goal against Red Star.

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Subs

Xherdan Shaqiri (on for Lallana 60′) – 8:

Shaqiri secured the game with his first goal in front of the Kop. His passing was impeccable again, meaning he’s well in contention for a start against Arsenal.

James Milner (on for Firmino 70′) – 6:

Didn’t have much to do as the midfield battle was already well taken care of by Gini and Fabinho.

Unused Subs

Simon Mignolet, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Andy Robertson, and Daniel Sturridge.

Manager

Jurgen Klopp – 7.5:

Klopp got the result and the most important decision right, which was to start Salah, Firmino, and Mane again and try to keep their good run going.

The same could be said for Fabinho and Gini, and while it was disappointing to see Shaqiri left out, the fact that Shaq started in the Champions League and Lallana started against Cardiff says a lot about how Klopp ranks the two.

Joel Matip and Nathaniel Clyne arguably should started to give VVD and TAA a rest. They wouldn’t have been pushed too hard by what Cardiff were offereing, so you have to wonder if they can’t get into the team for this game, when can they?

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Talking Points

Weird Win

As stated above, Liverpool weren’t exactly at their best, and yet completed a resounding result. It’s not as if the scoreline was unwarranted either, but that says more about how poor Cardiff were.

But even then, they managed to fluke a goal and cause a few minutes of panic in the minds of Liverpool supporters before Shaqiri resumed normality.

Is this a sign that Liverpool are now not only capable of seeing out results, but we can also take results beyond doubt even when the momentum swings against us.

Top Again

The result saw Liverpool, at least temporarily, return to the top of the Premier League table.

While that doesn’t mean much at this stage of the season, it’s an important reminder that while we still aren’t at our best, we’re at least level Manchester City, who many regard as the best in the league, if not the world.

Our only dropped points have come against them, and Chelsea. A respectable return from our opening 10 fixtures.

All Eyes on Arsenal

Liverpool have an important week to rest and prepare for a crucial match at the Emirates against Arsenal, while the Gunner’s preparation will be interrupted by a League Cup game, albeit one where they’ll field a second-string side.

Given Chelsea and Manchester City both beat Arsenal away earlier in the season, it’s vital that Liverpool do the same so that we don’t drop points to teams our rivals didn’t.

Unai Emery is a tremendous manager who has done wonders for Arsenal, regardless of the fact that they drew at Selhurst Park, the Gunners will be looking to win another home game when Liverpool come to town.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea

 

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog and Fields of Anfield Road – 29/10/2018

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