Get Well Soon, Bev.
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13 Sep 2015

Player Ratings: £29m attacker's shock stats; 'Amazing' midfielder fails again; BR sabotaging £35m Liverpool-duo?

Same sh^t, different week. Three more goals conceded, and another ignominious defeat, which now means Liverpool have failed to win 11 of the last 16 games under Brendan Rodgers (8 defeats, 3 draws, and 5 wins).

My Player Ratings

* Mignolet (4): Created panic and unrest in the defence very early on with his lack of concentration, and poor distribution. Sloppily gave the ball away in the first half and almost cost Liverpool a goal. Inspires no confidence whatsoever, and it's hardly surprising that the defence in front of him is shaky. Mignolet needed to go at the end of the 2013-14 season, and I argued then that LFC would suffer if he stayed, and that's exactly what happened.

* Clyne: (5): Reasonably solid again, but added nothing going forward. Luke Shaw spent a lot of time in Liverpool's half, and Clyne failed to pin him pack with attacking runs of his own.

* Skrtel: (5.5): Done up like a kipper for United's third goal, but defensively solid for most of the afternoon. Defenders get beaten sometimes - get over it! Jamie Carragher got left for dead by Thierry Henry several times; it happens, even to the very best defenders. In my view, Mignolet is a major part of the problem. Once Liverpool have a commanding, reliable goalkeeper, who inspires confidence, Liverpool's defenders will improve.

* Lovren: (5.5): Solid afternoon for the Croatian. After the West Ham debacle, he rarely put a foot wrong (in terms of mistakes), and his position was, for the most part, good. However, along with Skrtel, he didn't contribute much in the way of defensive organisation, and United'd first goal exemplified that. Also failed to make a single tackle for the entire game, which, given the opposition, and the nature of the game, is not really acceptable.

* Gomez: (5): The youngster's mistakes are now coming home to roost, but that's what happens when you play an inexperienced 18-year old out of position. Had some good moments in the game, but it's obvious to everyone but Rodgers that Liverpool need another solution at left-back.

* Milner: (5): Another ineffective performance from Milner, whose contract is reportedly worth £31m over 4 years (£150k-a-week. What are Liverpool getting for that money? Lots of huff and puff, but very little actual impact on games, and nothing in the way of effective leadership. It's now five games without a goal or an assist for Milner. This is not good enough, but it's entirely predictable.

* Can: (4): No shots on or off target, no key passes, no crosses, and only one tackle completed in 90 minutes. What exactly is the point of Emre Can? The German - - ridiculously hailed by Kolo Toure as 'amazing - had another chance to impose himself in midfield and made no impact whatsoever. Whenever he has the ball, he invariable makes pointless 3-yard passes sideways/backwards, or runs like a headless chicken into a blind alley, before being tackled and/or giving the ball away. As I've argued since the day he signed, Can is average, and like Milner, he isn't going to provide the creative impetus needed in midfield.

* Lucas (5): Where was Lucas for Man United opening goal? Why wasn't he tracking Daley Blind? Liverpool need a defensive midfielder in the team, but the Brazilian isn't getting it done at the moment. Completed the most tackles of all the midfielders, but gave the ball away for too much, which piled pressure onto the team. There's no cohesion in midfield, and Can, Milner, and Lucas look like they've never played together before (which is basically true).

* Firmino (6): How can Firmino prosper when there's such a huge gap between him and Benteke, and no one in between? Created very little (no shots, key passes etc) but defensively, Firmino completed more tackles (7) than anyone else (!), and won more duels than any other attacker/midfielder (including Milner and Lucas). Additionally, 45% of Firmino's successful passes were completed in Liverpool's half of the field. These are the stats of a defensive midfielder, NOT a number-10, and Rodgers must take the blame for setting Firmino up to fail. The Brazilian's number-one focus should be on scoring/creating goals, but Rodgers has clearly instructed him to prioritise the defensive side of his game.

* Ings: (6): Like Firmino, sabotaged by Rodgers's incessant need to have attackers playing like defenders. Deployed as (ostensibly) a left wing-back, which is utterly ridiculous. Ings is a STRIKER - he should be focused on scoring/creating goals, not defending on his own 18-yard box. Like Firmino, almost 50% of Ings' successful passes were in Liverpool's half of the field, and he also failed to create a single chance. It's difficult to create chance, though, when a player is constantly defending.

* Benteke (6): Isolated up-front yet again, but that's Rodgers' fault, not Benteke's. Held the ball up well, though, and improved his passing accuracy to 81% (Benteke's season average so far is 65%). Scored an absolutely stunning goal, which shows that he has the quality to succeed at Anfield. However, Benteke will not prosper under Rodgers, and I doubt fans will see the best of him until Rodgers changes his attacking approach, or a new manager comes in.

* Rodgers (2): Isolated Benteke up-front; played Ings/Origi out of position, and forced them to prioritise defending over attack; neutered Firmino for the same reason; negative approach to the game (seemingly played for a draw); failed to motivate the team to perform; no idea how to change the game; suspect substitutions (took of Firmino instead of Can); I could go on, but what's the point?

If Aston Villa win today, Liverpool will end the weekend in 10th place. If West Ham win tomorrow, the Reds will slip down to 11th in the league. It's simply not good enough, and if FSG have any sense, they'll be on the phone to Jurgen Klopp, or Carlo Ancelotti ASAP.

Author: Jaimie K


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