Roberto Firmino of Liverpool is embraced by Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool as he is substituted during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on December 27, 2016 in Liverpool, England.
All rights reserved by Alex Livesey/Getty Images Europe

The Reds registered a massive win over Stoke City despite going behind early on to a John Walters header. So, who got man of the match and who left Jack Hallows wanting improvements by the end of the game? 

Simon Mignolet – 7 – To start with, his distribution was generally sound throughout and while he wasn’t often tested by the Stoke attack he did make a very good save off a Joe Allen effort early on. Also came and claimed numerous crosses confidently but will be disappointed with the fact he let one in at his near post.

Nathaniel Clyne – 6.5 – Clyne is still consistently very good defensively for the Reds with his ability in the tackle something that should earn him more plaudits. However, his use of the ball needs to improve. When he has it in his own half he can resemble a deer in headlights and while he improved towards the end of the first half it’s something he should look to address.

Dejan Lovren – 6 – Was caught napping for the goal and was lucky a couple of times throughout that his mistakes were only minor. Improved massively in the second half, especially with his use of the ball and overall I can’t have any complaints about the Croatian from the 15th minute onwards.

Ragnar Klavan – 7 – Was not quite as solid as he had been against Everton or Middlesbrough but still looked the more comfortable of the two centre backs. Made a couple of important blocks to deny Stoke scoring opportunities and used the ball very well. His communication with James Milner was also refreshing.

James Milner – 7.5 – One of his best games for us this season in my opinion. Was superb on the front foot, causing all manner of problems for Glen Johnson – one moment in the second half where he beat Imbula with a one-two and got past Johnson only to fire into the crowd catching the eye – and registered an assist for Firmino’s goal. Great stuff from Milly.

Jordan Henderson – 6.5 – An on/off day for our captain who at times was superb and at others looked a little off the pace. A few of his passes went astray throughout but by the same token he also played some beautiful long cross field balls. Good to see some more bite in the tackle and some shots from him as well.

Adam Lallana – 8 (Man of the Match) – Started slowly but by the half hour mark was running the show. A superb finish from a tight angle earned him his goal as we continue to see the new and improved Adam Lallana and he was generally a handful for the opposition back four.

Gini Wijnaldum – 6.5 – Gini did as Gini does. A typically tidy performance from the Dutchman whose passing was crisp as ever – especially when on the counter – but I still feel he’s lacking something going forward.

Sadio Mane – 7.5 – Another typically dynamic performance from Mane who is going to be missed majorly when he goes to AFCON. The Senegalese was only denied his ninth goal of the season by Imbula who decided he’d rather be the one to put it into his own net. Was superb at providing an outlet down the right to exploit Pieters overlapping role.

Roberto Firmino – 7.5 – Found it tough to start with and couldn’t get as involved in the game as he’d have probably liked during the early stages but persistence paid off and he eventually got his goal with a lovely finish in off both posts. Was also very good on the back foot, displaying an improved work rate in his last few matches.

Divock Origi – 7 – Held the ball up superbly and after a while managed to win the physical battle over Ryan Shawcross. Superb low cross to force the third goal from Imbula’s boot and his pass out to Mane for the Reds first exhibited his improved sense of his teammates positioning. His pace was also incredibly impressive throughout.

Substitutes:

Emre Can – 6 – Nothing major to note either positively or negatively as the German kept it simple and looked to build on his match fitness.

Daniel Sturridge – 7 – Looked up for it today and finally got his first Premier League goal of the season with a little help from Ryan Shawcross. Dropped deep at times to get in between the lines and caused the Stoke defence problems during his cameo.

Alberto Moreno – 6 – Brought on to rest Firmino for the last 15 minutes and was a typical display from the Spaniard. Gave the ball away a few times but looked good going forward and will have been happy just to have some minutes.

Manager:

Jurgen Klopp – 8 – Good move to give Firmino, Origi and Lallana a portion of the game off while allowing the likes of Can, Sturridge and Moreno game time with a heavy fixture schedule coming up. His starting XI did practically pick itself and it was good to see his tactics paying dividends as the Reds tried to exploit the space down Stoke’s left-hand side.

SHARE

LEAVE A REPLY