By ‘The Don’ – @donkopleone
For 80 minutes, Liverpool never really felt the need to break out of second gear, as they eased towards a 4-1 home win against Cardiff City.
The game moved at a slow pace until the Bluebirds pulled a late goal back, which could have set up a nail-biting finish, but only served to push the Reds into action.
Xherdan Shaqiri immediately restored Liverpool’s two-goal cushion, before Sadio Mané slotted home his second goal of the game.
But how did the players get on on an individual basis?
Alisson 6.5 – I am yet to see a replay of the goal so can’t comment on whether Alisson was at fault for it. His distribution- particularly his quick throwing to start counter-attacks- was very impressive.
Trent 7 – Solid, if unspectacular. Josh Murphy did threaten to pose Trent a couple of problems with his pace, but the 20 year-old right back responded well to the test.
Lovren 6.5 – An all-round decent performance from the Croat, but he does lack that extra touch of class that Joe Gomez offers in the central defensive role.
Virgil 7 – There are suggestions that van Dijk wasn’t blameless for Cardiff’s goal (again, I still haven’t managed to see it), which is unlike him. Generally imperious, although perhaps one senses that he would prefer the security that Joe Gomez’s pace brings alongside him. With Lovren he seems less willing to step out of the defensive line to win back the ball.
Moreno 6.5 – Suspect positioning throughout, alongside some questionable decision making. Moreno didn’t have too bad a game, but you never feel safe with him in the team.
Fabinho 7 – Another impressive display as the Reds’ summer recruit continues to adapt to Jurgen Klopp’s system. Winning the ball in midfield to create Mane’s second goal showed his quality.
Gini 8 – Wijnaldum is becoming a delightful player to watch. Brilliant once again.
Firmino 6.5 – Bobby drifted in and out of the game. Not as good a performance as he delivered midweek.
Lallana 5.5 – Too slow on the ball. Adam Lallana has the painful trait of nullifying the threat in any of Liverpool’s counter attacks.
Salah 8 – A strong contender for Salah’s best performance of the season. Mo scored the opener and set up Liverpool’s third and fourth goals with a couple of beautifully weighted passes. Back to his best?
Mané 8 – His first goal- the crucial second for the Reds- was a powerful effort which Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge should have done better with. His second, however, was a sublime chip to round off a great day for the Senegalese. Three goals in two.
Shaqiri 8 [on 61] – Xherdan came on for Lallana and within two minutes Liverpool looked more dangerous. After five, we had doubled our lead. Shaqiri did brilliantly to put us 3-1 up and seal the three points.
Milner 6.5 [on 71] – Came on. Did a job. Textbook Jimmy Milner.