29 Nov 2015

Liverpool Player Ratings: 55% shocker for 'unplayable' star; £56m-duo fail again; Surprise Man-of-the-match winner?

It wasn't pretty, but Liverpool grabbed a 1-0 victory over Swansea City today, which makes it three wins in a week for Jurgen Klopp's team. With Man United, Leicester, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Spurs all dropping points this week, Liverpool (fortuitously) capitalised, and the victory moves the Reds up to 6th place in the league, only six points off the top of the table.

Player Ratings

* Mignolet (6): Didn't have a save to make, but still not commanding/vocal enough in the box. Prime example: near the end, Mignolet failed to take control when a floated ball entered the box. He could see everything ahead of him, and should've shouted at Skrtel to leave the ball for him. He didn't, and this lead directly to opposition pressure. Also booked for time-wasting, which is an amateur mistake after the time-wasting incident against Bordeaux.

* Lovren (8.5): Imperious performance, and Liverpool's best defender on the day. More BRICs^ than anyone else; 100% of aerial duels won; 87% of ground duels won; 92% passing accuracy (highest in the team), and even managed a shot on goal. Liverpool kept a clean sheet, so Lovren did his job (ditto the other defenders).

* Skrtel (8): One weak header into danger, and a yellow card, but apart from that, another classy defensive performance. 89% passing accuracy, which is unsurprising considering Skrtel is so comfortable in possession (an underrated aspect of his game). Made more forward passes (52) than any other LFC player, and didn't lose possession once.

* Moreno (6): Defensively solid, and 7 tackles, the most of all the defenders. Didn't offer much going forward, though, and almost 60% of his passes were backwards. Retained possession well, and didn't lose the ball, which is always a positive.

* Clyne (7): An effective outlet on the right, and always eager to get forward. 88% passing accuracy overall, but like Moreno, end product continues to be lacking in the final third. Two key passes in the game, neither of which came to anything.

* Can (6): When he keeps it simple, Can is effective. Unfortunately, he's a legend in his own mind, and constantly tries ill-advised Hollywood long-balls/pointless tricks, which almost always lead to loss of possession. Prime example: midway through the second half, Can dawdled on the ball in the centre-circle (another issue: not fast enough in possession), and after a needless drag-back, he got hassled off the ball, which led to a dangerous counter-attack. Played more long balls (14) than anyone else (most of which were inaccurate) Defensively sound; made one excellent recovery tackle, and deserves credit for his part in the clean sheet, but overall, he doesn't influence the game enough.

* Milner (6.5): Hard-working performance, but that's not enough. Gave the ball away 5 times (only one less than Firmino), and 50% of his passes were backwards. Defensively sound (like Can), but ineffective in the final third, with no key passes, 1 shot on goal, and only 1 successful cross out of 7 (i.e. a cross that actually went to a Liverpool player). Kept his composure well for the penalty.

* Lallana (5): Continues to be a passenger. Liverpool are winning in spite of Lallana, not because of him. Gave the ball away four times, created one half-chance in 90 minutes. 77% passing accuracy, and regularly misplaced passes. One incident in the final five minutes summed up Lallana: received the ball on the left in an attacking area; did two pointless step-overs, and then passed straight to a Swansea player. Lallana hasn't scored a league goal in 10 hours of football this season, and he has only TWO since December 2014. Not good enough.

Firmino (5): Another poor performance from Firmino. Gave the ball away more than anyone else, and had the second worst passing accuracy (66%). Only 15 of his 48 passes overall came in the final third of the field, and 8 of those were backwards. Firmino doesn't seem to have a handle on his specific role in the team, and the blame for that has to fall on Klopp. Perhaps he should just be utilised as a striker full-time?

* Ibe (6): Continues to be painfully predictable in possession (i.e cutting inside much of the time), which makes him easy to defend against. Tries hard, and is full of attacking purpose, but his touch let him down on several occasions, and overhit passes wasted promising attacking positions. Like all of Liverpool's attacking midfielders, end product in the final third needs to improve drastically.

* Benteke (4.5): Atrocious performance from the striker Gerrard hailed as 'unplayable'. Pitiful 55% passing accuracy, which is simply unacceptable for an elite international-class striker. Didn't win a single aerial duel, either, which is hard to understand given the fact he's 6'4. Constantly fell over and/or got outmuscled on the ball, which draws unflattering comparison to Andy Carroll. Arguably Benteke's worst game in a Liverpool shirt, but the Belgian is proven quality, and he can and will do better.

LFC Man of the Match: Lovren. I'm surprise he's being ignored in the MotM conversation. Solid as a rock, and the stats backs this up.

Stats: OPTA

Prediction League:

First goalscorer: Milner. Subbed off first: Firmino. Team passing accuracy: 82%. Updated tables will be posted later today.

^ BRICs = Blocks, recoveries, interceptions, and clearances.

* Firmino + Lallana: Combined cost = £56m.

Author: Jaimie K


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