29 Aug 2015

Player Ratings: 'Amazing' £10m star worse than Lovren? £31m star failing to meet expectations?

What a fiasco. A 3-0 home defeat to a West Ham team who've lost their last two games, and conceded six goals along the way? This is more than just a 'bad day at the office' - it's the same old problems coming home to roost once again, and with only two goals in four league games, Liverpool's shocking lack of creativity is starting to cause major problems.

My Player Ratings

* Mignolet (5): At the end of the 2013-14 season, I argued that Rodgers needed to replace Mignolet, and I still feel the same. He'll have purple-patches every now and again, but the Belgian is just not reliable across a whole season. Mignolet didn't even attempt to make a save for any of the three goals, and for the third goal, he was beaten at his near post, which has happened far too often over the last two years. But wait - all is not lost! Adam Bogdam is waiting in the wings to take over...

* Clyne: (6): The most solid defender in the back four, but that isn't say much. Negligible impact going forward, which is a major issue given how narrow Liverpool are in midfield. Rodgers is clearly relying on Clyne and Gomez to deliver width, and supply crosses, but it's not working, and using defenders to cover the lack of genuine attacking width in the team is not a viable long-term attacking strategy.

* Skrtel: (5): Not at fault for the first goal, but his header contributed to a dangerous situation that led to the goal. Liverpool still should've defended the incursion better. The third goal is more of an issue - Skrtel backed off instead of putting in a challenge, though to be fair, Sakho was in the box, and the Slovakian probably didn't want to risk giving away a penalty.

* Lovren: (4): Calamitous mistake for West Ham's second goal, but he shouldn't have been out there anyway. Gomez was out of position, and everyone knows that Lovren (or Sakho) wide on the left is an accident waiting to happen. In my view, though, Rodgers must stick him. Dropping a defender every time he makes a mistake is no way to proceed, and Lovren's confidence is fragile enough. Scrapping the Croatian again will probably finish him off, and at a cost of £20m, Liverpool can't afford that. Fans are clamouring for Sakho, but what happens if he makes a mistake - drop him too? At some point, fans need to accept that defenders are going to make mistakes. This season, Lovren has contributed to 3 clean sheets, and one defeat; why should one mistake goal-priducing take precedence over three games of defensive solidity?

* Gomez: (5): Gomez got away with mistakes in first three games, but this time, Liverpool paid the price. The youngster failed to track Lanzini's run into the box, and that early goal gave West Ham massive confidence, and undoubtedly inspired the Hammers to push on. Like Clyne, Gomez offered nothing going forward.

* Milner: (5): I've said it once (well, 50+ times), but I'll say it again: Liverpool no not need Milner, whose contract is reportedly worth £31m over 4 years (£150k-a-week. He ran 10.9 miles against West Ham, but what difference did it make? He is not going to score/create the goals needed to propel the Reds into the Champions League, and based on this evidence, he offers little in way of leadership. Liverpool needed a Gerrard-like midfielder, i.e. someone who can actually score/create goals on a regular basis. Now, Rodgers has FOUR midfielders (Can, Milner, Lucas, and Allen) who look less likely to score than Mignolet. Bravo! Milner is a typical British huff-and-puff footballer, who offers stamina, running etc, but very little in the way of attacking impact.

* Can: (3): Worst player on the pitch. Can - ridiculously hailed by Kolo Toure as 'amazing - offers nothing in midfield; like Milner, he's another huff-and-puff footballer who'll run 10 miles a game, and stroll about looking imposing, but when it comes to end product, forget it. When is Rodgers going to get it: Liverpool will never get anywhere with a team stacked with players who fail to score/assist regularly. Can is the fans' current golden boy, but so far, he looks distinctly average in midfield.

* Lucas: (5): Generally solid, but his job is to protect the back-four, and if the final score is 3-0, then it means the DM hasn't done his job properly. Whilst not directly at fault for any of the goals, Lucas clearly didn't provide the defensive solidity needed during the game. Also: why on earth is Lucas playing further up the pitch than Milner? I lost count of the times that the Brazilian was making attacking moves, whist Milner stayed deep. This is ridiculous.

* Firmino: (5): One great shot in the first half, but apart from that, the £29m signing added little to the Reds' attack. It's only his second start, so the knives shouldn't be out just yet, but there are plenty of attacking LFC players over the years who've hit the ground running in the Premier League, including Suarez, Torres, Coutinho, and Sturridge.

* Coutinho: (5): Frustrating game for Coutinho, whose inconsistency reared its ugly head once again. Created very little during the game, and was regularly muscled off the ball and/or dispossessed in attacking areas. Didn't deserve to be sent off.

* Benteke: (5): Like Balotelli last season, Benteke had absolutely nothing to work with today. Liverpool's alleged attacking midfielders barely created any chances, and crosses were few and far between. That said, Benteke has to create chances for himself every now and again, and he didn't look like doing that today.

* Subs: No point rating them as they weren't on the pitch long enough to make a real impact.

Hopefully, Liverpool will learn from this defeat, and come back stronger after the International break. It's a setback, but to be fair, it's just one defeat, and it could've come at any time in the season.

Granted, the manner of the defeat is hard to stomach, but most teams fighting for 3rd and 4th place in the league will lose 4-8 league games every year (sometimes more), so it's not a huge tragedy.

Author: Jaimie K


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