WE LOVE YOU LIVERPOOL WE DO, OH LIVERPOOL WE LOVE YOU! I’m buzzing after that result – especially after it all looked to be going horribly wrong in the first half. 3 points away from home, coming from a goal down. And breathe. Anyway, here’s my player ratings.
Simon Mignolet: 8.5 – Liverpool would’ve lost this game for sure without the Belgian. He opted to take no risks on set pieces, looking to punch the ball away at every opportunity but it was his shot stopping that should grab headlines. Mignolet made two absolutely huge point blank saves to deny Adam and Berahino in the second half to bail out his defence and was just as important to the victory as our Brazilian duo.
Nathaniel Clyne: 7.5 – Looked far more up for it than most of his defensive counter parts. Got up and down the wing superbly in the second half when moved back to his preferred right hand side and provided the Reds with a solid outlet throughout. Loses half a mark for a very hit and miss first 45, however.
Ragnar Klavan: 5.5 – Has been ruthlessly exposed of late and today was no different. The Estonian just doesn’t look up for it in recent fixtures and while the rest of the defence failed to cover themselves in glory, his lazy effort at a ‘challenge’ – if you could call it that – on Shaqiri in the lead-up to the first goal of the game was just pathetic.
Jöel Matip: 7 The most solid of the back line across the whole 90 minutes in my opinion but like the other centre backs, went missing entirely for Stoke’s goal. Looked to be positive on the ball, was strong in the tackle and tried to keep things calm at the back.
Dejan Lovren: 7 – So unlucky not to grab his third goal of the season when he powered a header onto the crossbar. Was horribly caught out for the first goal as he just stood and watched Walters head the ball past Mignolet but improved thereafter, making a number of good tackles late on and moving the ball across the field well.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 6.5 – Was probably unlucky to be taken off at half-time after being one of the best of a bad bunch in a poor first half from Liverpool. Was outmuscled by Arnautovic continually across his 45 minutes on the field, however, and it was a necessary change.
Emre Can: 8 – I felt the German had an absolutely brilliant game once again to be honest. He wasn’t earth shatteringly world class in the first half but was nowhere near as awful as some of his teammates and come the second half he just went up a gear. Driving runs from deep, crunching tackles, smart passes and intelligent through balls… This is the Emre Can we want to see.
James Milner: 7 – Wasn’t at all good in his supposedly preferred position during the first half as he struggled immensely to implement a high press and gave the ball away cheaply. Looked a lot more at home in the second half when shifted to a left wing back role as he got far more involved in attacks and gave the Reds some extra width.
Gini Wijnaldum: 6 – A suicidal defensive header was his only real highlight up until the first hour and while he often does the understated things very well, flying silently under the radar, he just didn’t manage to turn up today. He wasn’t utterly dreadful but he just wasn’t at the level that we know he can be. Did still manage to grab an assist for Firmino’s thunderbolt.
Ben Woodburn: 6 – Should have had a penalty when he was felled by Erik Pieters and provided a moment or two of danger around Stoke’s penalty area but just couldn’t have the desired influence. No surprise really, given he’s 17.
Divock Origi: 6 – After two positive performances against Everton and Bournemouth this game was a perfect representation of the Belgian’s inconsistency. His lack of effort during the first half at times was alarming, to say the least. While he improved after the break, he looked tired and sluggish for much of his 65 minutes.
Philippe Coutinho: 9 – Absolute game changer. Now the highest scoring Brazilian in Premier League history and has managed to score in three consecutive games for what I believe is the first time in his career. Beautifully taken finish for his goal and heavily involved in all of the Reds best plays during the second half.
Roberto Firmino: 8 – What. A. Goal. Take a bow, Bobby. The Brazilian’s 10th goal of the season was his best in a Liverpool shirt so far as he allowed a lobbed ball from Wijnaldum to drop over his shoulder, sit up nicely and then thundered it into the top corner. Klopp said he was fatigued before the game so I’m excited to see what he’ll be like after a couple days rest if this is the form he’s in.
Daniel Sturridge: 7 – Knitted the play together well in the final third with a number of cute touches and smart flicks. Couldn’t get into many scoring positions himself but created space for Firmino and Coutinho with his presence and looked to work a lot harder than I’ve previously seen of him this season.
Jürgen Klopp: 7 – Gets an extra point for bringing on the Brazilians as early as he did. I can’t really fault him directly for the team selection as he felt he had no other option and didn’t want to risk lengthier layoffs for two very important players and in the end, we took three points. Criticisms will undoubtedly come his way again over the next few days but it’s likely to be directed back towards the January market once again.