Liverpool were triumphant in the first outing of the season against Stoke City thanks to a brilliant goal from Philippe Coutinho.
Simon Mignolet – 6
The Belgian had very little to do throughout the game but did well to deal with a whipped free kick from Charlie Adam. Despite having being untroubled for the most part Liverpool’s first choice goalkeeper will be crucial for any ambitions this season. First clean sheet of the season for Mignolet.
Nathaniel Clyne – 6.5
On his competitive debut the Red’s new right back will be happy with his performance without it being overly impressive. He looks good going forward and offers great cover for the dubious Martin Skrtel.
Martin Skrtel – 7
The Slovakian is essentially Liverpool’s senior center-back so you would expect more from him but he did enjoy a solid afternoon in central defence. His aerial dominance tenacity is wonderful but at times he puts himself and the team under unnecessary pressure. His sloppy back passes kept Mignolet on his toes and earned the Belgian a kick in the shins from Diouf to prevent the Stoke man from getting in to score.
Dejan Lovren – 7.5
While it is going to take more than one decent performance to change the minds of supporters the Croatian played superbly and dealt with every inkling of danger astutely. His clearances still tend to do more in the way of height than distance but all the same: good game.
Joe Gomez – 6.5
The mere fact that Gomez has made his debut in a Premier League defence at 18 is impressive but the way he handled veteran Jonathan Walters is to be commended. That being said his rawness lead to naivety and this almost led to Stoke opening the scoring.
Jordan Henderson – 6
Liverpool’s new captain didn’t quite live up to the pre-season hype going into the game and looked a bit tentative. All the same, he work endlessly alongside James Milner and was strong in the tackle.
James Milner – 6.5
In midfield there was a distinct lack of inspiration and things going forward looked very two dimensional. A cute little ball over the defence for Henderson should have lead to more but the skipper didn’t take a touch and the chance was lost.
Philippe Coutinho – 7
Brendan Rodgers was on the brink of subbing the diminutive Brazilian due to lack of fitness before he thrashed home the winner from all of 25 yards. Coutinho’s tricks didn’t seem to come off on the day other than two delightful turns which immediately put Liverpool on the counter-attack.
Coutinho’s goal sealed the three points for Liverpool and got the season off to a good start for the Reds.
Jordon Ibe – 6.5
Ibe looked very sharp and the only reason he wasn’t more effective was because there is still there a rawness to his game. His pace is a constant threat whether it is going down the middle or either flank. He is a truly exciting player.
Adam Lallana – 5.5
The Englishman looked truly awful. There was no final product to his game and his Cruyff turns are really just a hindrance at this point. It would come as no surprise if Firmino came into the side as a straight swap.
Christian Benteke 6.5
The debutante will be happy with his display despite the lack of a blistering volley. His strength is truly impressive and more than once a Stoke City player was left in a heap on the ground as a result.
Emre Can(on for Lallana 62′) – 7
The big man from Germany was the catalyst fro change. The switch to a more dominant midfield was a trump card played astutely by Brendan Rodgers and Can’s strength and assured passing was very much needed in the middle of the park. I was very surprised that he didn’t start against a very physical Stoke team.
Roberto Firmino(on for Ibe 78′) – 6.5
I was very impressed with the new Brazilian on Merseyside. His touch is superb although he does have a predilection for keeping the ball above his opponent’s heads with neat flicks. What can you do, he’s from Brazil.
While it wasn’t a masterclass in football, it never is on opening day, the lads got the job done, albeit a bit late. Rodgers and his coaching staff will be looking to Bournemouth now and then onto Arsenal. The game against the new boys will offer a chance to show dominance and flaunt some our attacking options.