29 Oct 2015

Liverpool Player Ratings: Firmino's 94% stunner; 'New Deco' a 'standout'; game over for Mignolet?

Fourth time lucky! Jurgen Klopp finally has his first victory as the manager of Liverpool FC, and he deserves it for coming good on his promise to prioritise the development of the club's young players. It wasn't a vintage performance by any means, but there are lots of positives to take into Saturday's game with Chelsea.

Player Ratings

* Bogdan (8): Calm, assured, solid, concentrated, communicative, and confident, i.e. everything that's needed from a goalkeeper. A very effective performance overall. Five top-class saves kept Liverpool in the game. Didn't appear to be nervy, and that made a big difference to overall defensive solidity. In my view, Bogdan should stay in the team for the Chelsea game.

* Lovren (7): Solid return to action for the Croatian. A couple of dodgy moments in the first half (lost possession in midfield, and dived in too early on Stanislas, which allowed him a free shot on goal), but recovered to deliver a defensively efficient performance. Contributed the most tackles/interceptions/clearances (9 overall), and didn't concede a single foul.

* Skrtel (7): Solid and dependable usual. Did his job with a minimum of fuss. Six clearances/blocks, and 87% passing accuracy.

* Randall (6.5): Positive debut overall, and is a good cover option for Clyne. Got caught a couple of times on the turn, but it's his first ever game, so that's to be expected. Linked up well with Ibe, and had one surging run into the box that could've led to a goal with a better final ball. Needs to be stronger in the challenge (only 28% of duels won). 71% passing accuracy, which needs to improve. Ultimately, Liverpool kept a clean sheet, so Randall fulfilled his primary role in the team.

* Clyne (7): Atoned for his recent mistake against Rubin Kazan with a match-winning goal. Played out of position on the left, but that seemed to free him up to become a greater attacking threat. Had two shots on goal, and got down the flank well, but also solid defensively. Contributed the third highest number of tackles/interceptions/clearances. With Gomez out, Clyne is now a viable option to cover on the left.

* Allen (7): Some fans seem to be down on Allen for his performance, but I can't see why. One mistake aside (losing possession in the first-half, which led to a Bournemouth chance), Allen did his job. He broke up play, hassled/harried the opposition, and weighed in with more tackles/interceptions/clearance than anyone else in the team (bar Lovren). Additionally, he kept the ball well, and achieved a creditable 90% passing accuracy. Plus, Liverpool kept a clean sheet, which means Allen did his job.

* Brannagan (6.5): A thankless night for Brannagan, who was played out of position, and forced to defend, track, and press for his 65 minutes of game time. For the most part, he did that well, but arguably needed to be stronger in the tackle as he got shrugged off the ball a couple of times in dangerous areas. Still, retained possession well, and achieved one of the highest passing accuracy rates in the team (88%). Crucially, like Teixeira, he looked comfortable in possession, and didn't look overawed by the occasion.

* Teixeira (7.5): Promising debut, which showed that Liverpool's 'New Deco' IS capable of playing at the top level. Praised for his 'standout' performance by Jamie Carragher. Composed on the ball (especially for the goal) and always looked like he had time on the ball, which is the mark of all good players. For me, eagerness to take responsibility was the most pleasing aspect of his game. Stepped up for all the corners, and took the free kick off Firmino near the end of the game. Also pressed well, and weighed in with 5 clearances/interceptions. 80% passing accuracy, but being stuck out on the left meant he wasn't as involved in the game as he could've been (only 40 passes all game). Definitely room for improvement, but lots to build on, and hopefully Klopp will keep him in match-day squads for the rest of the season.

Firmino (8): Possibly the Brazilian's best Liverpool performance so far. great through ball to Teixeira for the goal; several rasping shots on goal, and a few moments of cloud-pleasing trickery (including a cheeky nutmeg). Five shots on goal, but only two on target, and would've scored but for some dodgy finishing. Strong on the ball, and with 94% passing accuracy, he retained possession as well as anyone in the team. This game will be good for Firmino's match-fitness, and after a recent spell on the sidelines, he doesn't need to be rested. As such, he should (IMO) replace Lallana for Saturday's trip to Chelsea.

* Ibe (7.5): A welcome return to form. Looked confident on the ball, and seemed more willing to take players on. More key passes than anyone else in the game, the best of which was a sublime through-ball for Randall midway through the second half. Achieved 86% passing accuracy, which is vast improvement on his current season average. Still a little predictable in the final-third, but Ibe is only 19, and that will (hopefully) improve over time. Should be used as an impact sub in the league; the pressure should not be on him to rescue Liverpool's season.

* Origi (5.5): Unfortunately, another ineffective performance. Origi just doesn't have the X factor required to be a successful Liverpool striker. Rarely creates chances for himself, and struggles to hold-up the ball and bring others into the game. Didn't get a single shot on target, and made only 20 passes (the lowest in the team), which shows that he's not getting involved enough. Granted, part of that is due to being somewhat isolated up-front, but after 8 games this season, Origi doesn't look any closer to scoring goals.

* Lucas (7): Continues to be one of Liverpool's most effective players this season. Only on the pitch for 25 minutes, but provided a good ayer of protection for the back four, and almost scored a goal with a thunderous 30-yarder. Also played a couple of good attacking balls in the final third.

Stats: OPTA

* Klopp (8): Made nine changes, which was a huge gamble against a Premier League team, but it paid off. Great to see him leave underperforming players on the bench. Pleasing to see him give Teixeira, Ibe, and Randall the full 90 minutes. What matters now, though, is that - where possible - Klopp continues to aid the development of Teixeira, Brannagan, and Randall by playing them regularly (if their performances merit it).

* LFC Man of the Match: Bogdan/Firmino - TIE.

* Prediction League: Updated tables will be posted later today.

Author: Jaimie K


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