By ‘The Don’ – @donkopleone & Daniel Moxon – @dmoxon_
Liverpool didn’t need to get out of first gear to sweep Red Star Belgrade aside at Anfield in their Champions League Group C clash.
Yet another clean sheet was kept with Alisson basically a bystander between the sticks and the defensive partnership of Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk in typical imperious form in front of him.
Thankfully for the Reds, the front three got themselves back into form as Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah (twice) and Sadio Mané all got themselves on the scoresheet.
This was aided by the creative influence of Xherdan Shaqiri from midfield and the presence of Fabinho – playing his first full 90 minutes for Liverpool – who already looks like he will be a key part of Liverpool’s counter-attacking play.
Lets see how the players got on individually on a fairly easy night at Anfield, courtesy of The Don himself…
Alisson 7.5 – Did Alisson have anything of note to do across the 90 minutes? No. Did he still manage to look far more assured and composed than Simon Mignolet or Loris Karius could have done in his place? Yes. I am starting to eat my worried words about him this summer.
Trent 7.5 – Almost faultless performance from the 20 year old. My one moan would be that his usually dependable set piece delivery was poor. Trent would be very unlucky to lose his starting spot to Dejan Lovren again this weekend.
Joe 7.5 – Gomez is probably amongst the top ten central defenders in the world based on current form, which is so rare for a player so young. He did give the ball away too easily a couple of times which brings him down from an 8, but for the most part, Joe was once again exceptional.
Virgil 8 – There’s nothing to say that hasn’t already been said. Glue that armband to his left bicep.
Robbo 8.5 – Are there any better left backs defensively in the world right now? Possibly a few. Are there any better left backs offensively in the world right now? Maybe a couple.
Combined? Robbo is right up there. He assisted Bobby’s opener and was unlucky not to have more to his name.
Gini 8.5 – So calm in possession, so hungry to win the ball back, Gini was a very clear MOTM candidate.
Fab 7.5 – Mixed first half but Fabinho was immense in the second. I don’t have the stat on how many tackles he won in the game to hand, but it was five at the very minimum. He also looked to carry the ball into midfield spaces far more than a certain club captain does, but that’s a debate for another time…
Shaq 8 – Among Liverpool’s best in the first half, it was Little Shaq’s brilliant pass to Andy Robertson which led to the deadlock being broken and the Swiss who assisted the crucial second. He tired a little in the second period, which is why he was taken off.
Salah 7.5 – Two goals is enough to earn anyone at least a 7. Despite not playing his sparkling best, Salah was a constant threat, and will be disappointed he was substituted before another penalty could have secured him a hat-trick.
Bobby 8 – Ineffectual but on the scoresheet in the first period. Sumptuous to watch after the break. This was Bobby’s best performance in over a month, maybe all season.
Mané 6.5 – Wasteful – as a missed penalty and missed one-on-one would suggest – but Mané constantly caused Red Star problems. Hopefully that late goal will instigate a revival in his goalscoring form.
Lallana [on 68] 6 – While more effective and progressive than he was on Saturday, Lallana did still manage to miss a sitter.
Sturridge [on73] 8 – No one wants to be known as “super sub” but Daniel Sturridge is routinely changing games when he comes on from the bench this season. One assist for Mane’s goal, it should have been two when he sent Lallana through, and Studge started the move which led to Mane’s stoppage time miss.
Moreno [on 82] 7 – A surprisingly good cameo from Albie, although that may be because he hardly had to enter his own half once.
Man Of The Match – either Gini Wijnaldum or Andy Robertson. Take your pick.