17 Oct 2015

Liverpool Player Ratings: £41m attacker struggles; Origi's surprise stat; 67% shock for 'outstanding' Milner

After the ridiculous hype of the last week, Jurgen Klopp has his first point on the board as Liverpool's new manager, but apart from a marked increase in pressing, the end result is basically the same: another draw, and two more points dropped. Still, with the club's injury problems, it's a decent start, and 0-0 is a decent result, especially given Spurs' 4-1 demolition of Man City in their last home game.

Player Ratings

* Mignolet (6.5): A couple of fantastic saves, but Mignolet's distribution remains as questionable as ever. Some may feel the rating is harsh, but shot-stopping is the bare minimum expected of a goalkeeper, and is only one component of a top-class 'keeper. Mignolet needs to be replaced ASAP, and this will hopefully be his last season as Liverpool's first-choice goalkeeper.

* Moreno (5): Caught in possession three times in dangerous areas, and muscled off the ball too easily. Only 3 clearances/blocks/interceptions in 90 minutes, which shows a lack of consistent defensive influence. Did slightly better offensively, though, with two shots, and two key passes. The case for converting Moreno into a left-winger becomes stronger with every passing game.

* Skrtel (7.5): Liverpool's most effective defender once again, and this is an irrefutable fact, irrespective of the myths being peddled by Skrtel's detractors. Completed more tackles, interceptions, blocks, and clearances (15 overall) than any other player, and also won the most aerial duels (8 vs. 3 for Sakho). Skrtel's primary role is to stop the concession of goals; he slipped up on a couple of occasions (missed a through ball which allowed Kane to run on goal, for example), but defenders are not infallible, which is what some unreasonable fans seem to expect of Skrtel. Bottom line: Liverpool kept a clean sheet, so Skrtel fulfilled his primary role. End of story. Fans can moan all they like, but there is no evidence to prove that Skrtel is a poor, or average defender. The stats categorically prove that he is Liverpool's most effective defender this season (and for the last three years), and he underlined his effectiveness again today. If anyone can provide credible, objective evidence to prove that Skrtel is a poor defender, then I'm listening.

* Sakho (7.5): Another solid performance from Sakho, who was the team's second most effective defender (after Skrtel). Sublime forward passing, with 89.4% passing accuracy, the best in the team. Still prone to causing confusion in defence, though. In the past, I've called Sakho the 'King of the hospital pass', and he proved that again today. Plus, poor communication led to him jumping into Emre Can when they both went for the same ball. That said, Sakho's positive defensive contribution outweighs these two incidence, and like Skrtel, he fulfilled his primary role. Job done.

* Clyne (6): After a decent start at Anfield, Clyne appears to be stagnating. Solid player, but he isn't really excelling in anything, either offensively or defensively. 66% passing accuracy tells it's own story, and 20% of his passes were long balls (only 50% accuracy), which isn't conducive to retaining possession.

* Can (6): Good pressing; one superb tackle in the second half, and almost got his first assist for the club with a first-half flick-on for Origi. However, I maintain that Can doesn't influence the game enough to be Liverpool's long-term solution in midfield. Gave the ball away far too much, and was dispossessed three times. Additionally, 73% passing accuracy for a central midfielder is poor, and this was reflected in his poor final ball in the opposition half. If it's a straight choice between Henderson, and Can, there's only one winner, and when Hendo returns, I full expect Can to be on the bench.

* Milner (5): Yet another forgettable match from the allegedly 'outstanding' Milner, who recklessly picked up another yellow card. Didn't have a single shot on goal, and was dispossessed and/or lost possession seven times. For all his much vaunted stamina/energy, Milner made little impact defensively, either, and managed only ONE block/clearance/interception in 90 minutes. Milner's most egregious offence, however, was 67% passing accuracy, which is not good enough for a player of his experience.

* Lucas (7): If Liverpool keep a clean sheet, then Lucas is doing his job, and today, the Brazilian delivered an effective performance, but it wasn't his best work. Completed the most tackles (6), but only managed 2 interceptions/clearances for the whole game. Also gave away the most fouls, which is an ongoing issue. 76% passing accuracy, which is okay, but way down on Lucas's average, which is usually in the mid-80s. Rather surprisingly, had more shots on goal than Milner, though both were, admittedly, lame attempts (!)

Lallana (6): Lots of energy, running, and stamina, but very little end product, as evidenced by the fact he failed to create a single chance. Failed to impose himself on the game, and made only 32 passes in 90 minutes, one of the lowest in the team. Gave the ball away 11 times, and this aspect of Lallana's game is one of the reasons he's such a frustrating player. Lallana can huff and puff all he likes, but his job is to score and create goals, and in the Premier League, he continues to fail miserably at that (1 goal/1 assist in the last 18 league games).

* Coutinho (5): Average performance from Coutinho, though to be fair, he played on the left of the front three, which is not his best position. Still, largely anonymous (in an attacking sense), and the speed and congestion of the game seemed to overwhelm him. Coutinho needs time on the ball to be effective, and he barely got that today. Caught in possession six times as he dawdled, and managed only one shot on goal, and one key pass. To his credit, Coutinho completed four tackles, but I'd much rather see 4 key passes, and only 1 tackle

* Origi (5.5): Good opportunity for Origi to take his claim, but he didn't really take it. Should've scored with a first-half header, and overall, his finishing remains below par. Dispossessed 10 times (!), which explains why he failed to hold the ball up effectively. Origi was also a non-entity on the defensive side, and didn't manager a single tackle/interception/block/clearance for the whole game. On the plus side, 89% passing accuracy (second best in the team after Sakho) is a good sign, but more game intelligence is needed in the final third of the field.

Stats: OPTA

* Klopp (7): Immediately introduced his favoured 4231 formation (which seemed at times like a 4321 Christmas tree), and the players pressed like their lives depended on it. There's not much point analysing anything else, though, as it's going to take 10-15 games for things to settle down, and there will inevitably be bumps along the way. Two points though: Klopp seemed to settle for a draw when he replaced Lallana with Allen, who is a defensive-minded player. Also, I find the following post-match comment extremely concerning:

"At this moment, he [Origi] is not full of experience in the game because he hasn’t played so often [but] he is young, very fast, a good technician.".

Brendan? ;-)

But seriously: Great post-match press conference, mercifully devoid of Rodgers-esque fawning and sycophancy.

LFC Man of the Match: Sakho/Skrtel - TIE.

Author: Jaimie K


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