Liverpool were victorious in the first leg of their Champions League qualifying round fixture against Hoffenheim but who impressed Jack Hallows most?
I sadly missed this game live as I was out for dinner with a friend – what a great fan I am.
Luckily, however, the internet is a thing and I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed watching it back this morning even though I knew the score line and the result.
Alexander-Arnold was fantastic, Mignolet saving another penalty was crucial and our front three once again looked potent, even if the finishing touches weren’t always quite there.
There were, however, a few causes for concern, namely in the same areas as there were against Watford on Saturday and it’s looking increasingly more necessary that Klopp and FSG don’t just dip into the market but jump in head first.
For now though, here’s what I thought of the lads’ performances.
Simon Mignolet: 8 – Deserved a clean sheet if I’m honest. A penalty save and two huge saves – one either side of half time – from Gnabry and Wagner. Looked far more assured than he did on Saturday. Could do nothing about the goal.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 8 – What. A. Strike. The youngster showed some real balls to step up and take that free kick and not only that, he bloody buried it!
I wasn’t hugely impressed with him on Saturday but this was a superb performance from the 18-year old who offered pace, incisiveness and maintained the width down the right-hand side. Didn’t cover himself in too much glory for Hoffenheim’s goal but a top performance all up.
Jöel Matip: 6 – Not been in the greatest of form lately but a couple of early interventions and clearances helped get things settled. Can’t shake the feeling he’d be far more imperious with a natural leader next to him in defence.
Dejan Lovren: 5 – Yikes. Conceded a penalty with one of the clumsiest bits of defending I’ve ever seen and looked erratic and off the boil for the entire 90 minutes. If Liverpool hope to progress further than the group stages, he cannot be our first choice centre half.
Alberto Moreno: 5 – Well, I think it’s safe to say the Moreno experiment could be over as quickly as it began. Offered a decent amount going forward but looked laboured defensively and Hoffenheim were quick to expose the lack of communication between him and Lovren.
Jordan Henderson: 5 – I’m a huge fan of Henderson but he’s been awful these last couple of matches. Looked rushed in possession and off the pace for much of his time on the field. Perhaps isn’t quite as up to speed as we’d hoped.
Emre Can: 6.5 – It was a performance more of grit and determination than silk and quality from Can away in Germany. The midfielder did grow into the fixture as it went on and he performed better than Henderson but his contributions were more industrrious than anything.
Gini Wijnaldum: 5.5 – Once again fairly anonymous which doesn’t bode well. Linked the play together but that was about it really.
Mohamed Salah: 7 – His pace is genuinely frightening, isn’t it? The Egyptian wasn’t quite at his best in Germany, squandering a couple of really good one-on-one opportunities but his link up play with the rest of the front three already looks immaculate. On another day could’ve had a couple of goals.
Roberto Firmino: 7 – Led the line with typical enthusiasm and while he didn’t really manage to get into too many scoring positions – and squandered the one major chance he did have – his passing and creative play were superb. One instinctive ball sent Salah through on goal in a blistering counter while his defence splitting pass that found Milner later on was sublime.
Sadio Mané: 8.5 – Fast becoming Liverpool’s MVP. The Senegalese was at it again on Tuesday night, terrorising the Hoffenheim defence and using his pace, skill and ingenuity to full effect. Won the free kick that ‘TAA’ netted and teed up Firmino with a clever ball across the six-yard box that really, the Brazilian should’ve finished.
James Milner: 7 – Brought on for Henderson and his deflected cross ultimately won it for the Reds on the night.
Dom Solanke: N/A – Given a run out at the end. Would’ve liked to see him get a few more minutes, to be honest.
Marko Grujic: N/A – Given long enough to make a customary foul.