By Daniel Moxon – @dmoxon_
Pretty easy in the end, wasn’t it?
I was expecting a tough game on the long trip down to face a side that had a history of giving the big boys a big go whenever they come up against them, but to be honest it was maybe the easiest win of the season, apart from possibly Southampton or West Ham.
The scoreline was impressive but the best thing for me is that we seemed to almost learn from the Burnley game in midweek – the Clarets spent most of the evening kicking the crap out of any Liverpool player that came within five yards of them, and it was most welcome when the Reds (or Whites today) showed they weren’t afraid to smash someone themselves.
Anyway, here’s the player ratings – no prizes for guessing who was the highest-rated…
Alisson 7 – After suffering the Mignolet years, I’d forgotten how good it feels when your ‘keeper comes out into his 18-yard box to claim a cross with ease. Alisson did even better when Milner’s wonky clearance almost turned into a pinpoint pass for King – came out, won the header while getting about three feet above anyone else. Get him up top, he’ll score 20 per season with his noggin alone.
Milly 6.5 – 500 not out in the Premier League. Quite possibly the best free transfer of all time, certainly the ultimate utility man. Honestly, if we hadn’t have signed Alisson and still had to put up with Migs or Karius between the sticks I’d have advocated for Milly to be given a shot in goal – I can guarantee he’d still cover about 15km over the 90 mins, just inside his own 18-yard box. Smashed into Junior Stanislas after 20 mins with trademark conviction, won the ball, fair tackle, get on with it. Looked maybe a little exposed at times at right back but did a decent job.
Matip 7.5 – Usually makes me wince with every touch of the ball, but pulled off a lovely drilled pass into Firmino from which came Salah’s rebounded opener, so nice work there. Had to pick my jaw up off the floor when he ran through midfield, ghosted past two with the ball at his feet, laid it off to Milly and ran into the centre like he was a prime Yaya Touré. Looked uncharacteristically… composed on the ball, which is great as we’ll need him and Degsy to really step up while Gomez is crocked.
Big Virg 7 – One or two shaky moments actually, which is unusual, but solid enough. Now has more clean sheets with Liverpool than goals conceded, which shows just how important he has been. Extra mark for having the restraint not to punch Josh King square in the face after the Norwegian elbowed him early on. Speaking of which, how can a fella called ‘Josh King’ be Norwegian? Not buying it, same as Burnley’s Ashley Barnes trying to pass off as Austrian. Madness.
Robbo 7 – Think his leg was still dead for the first half – did his usual running about but nothing else really, much better in the second. Had a lovely game of triangles with Nab and Mo, which was nice. Later combined with a lovely one-two with Fabinho to whip a low cross that Steve Cook finished into his own net with flair and composure. No doubt the Scotsman 100% meant it as well. Epitomises the pressing game – he was born for it.
Gini 7 – Didn’t even bother to mark Aké from a first-half corner – luckily for Wijnaldum, his compatriot apparently pays more attention to having his hair looking nice than he does to having the ball at his feet six yards from goal. Forgot he was there for most of the match, if I’m honest. Missed a free header from eight yards with five minutes to go, not that it mattered.
Fab 7.5 – Does a lot of his work unnoticed so can be hard for some to say “he was amazing in midfield.” He had another good game though, defending the back-line with his usual tigerish tackling. Cracking little through ball for Robbo as he forced the third goal, before picking up a customary yellow card. I like Henderson, but I don’t think there are many that could argue that Fabinho doesn’t offer so much more.
Nab (off 65′ for Lallana) 7.5 – Watched him nutmeg Jefferson Lerma after three minutes and almost lost my mind. The mind went fully out the window in the second half when he played a flamboyant game of triangles with Robbo and Mo that made Bournemouth’s defence look like schoolboys. I like him – he’ll be important against Napoli, so good to see him taken-off not long after the hour mark.
Power Cube (off 65′ for Mané) 7 – Not his most effective showing, but was always full of industry and tried to get involved and be creative. I find myself mesmerised by the way he runs, like a little shredded penguin. What a weirdly-shaped man Xherdan Shaqiri is.
Bobby (off 80′ for Henderson) 8 – Pulled out his best 5-a-side s**thousing moves 12 minutes in when he whacked the ball against Nathan Aké’s arm from no distance to buy a free-kick. Got the Dutchman a yellow too, top work there Bobby lad. Purposely had his shot saved for Salah to score an easy rebound, definitely done on purpose. He’s living in 3018, the Brazilian – genius. Assisted the second too, winning the ball back and releasing Mo. One of his most effective performances of the season.
Mo 9.5 – King. His first one was offside like but, lets be honest, one little flash of that beautiful smile towards the assistant referee and there’s no way he’s lifting that flag. The second one, what a player. Runs from near the halfway line, Steve Cook stood on his ankle but he soldiered on, turned Aké inside-out and passed it into the corner. By the third one it was getting too easy for him. Ran round Begovic once and could have tapped it into the empty net there and then, but figured it was boring to score like that so decided to go back and do it again, before actually shooting this time. Unreal footballer.
Mané (on 65′ for Shaqiri) N/A – I don’t really recall him doing anything after he came on, but to be fair we didn’t need him to. Game was won when the second went in just after half time.
Lallana (on 65′ for Keita) N/A – Got nutted by Lerma and ended up walking off the pitch looking like John McClane at the end of Die Hard, there was that much blood on his face. Glad to see him get some minutes, he’s dustier than my nan’s antique pot things, you know, the pointless porcelain crap that old people keep just because they refuse to get rid of anything. Last time I visited I found an old bottle of WD-40 in the shed that went out of date in 1996. If it’s still there next time I pop in, I’ll post it on to Jurgen so he can use it to oil Lallana’s joints.
Hendo (on 80′ for Firmino) N/A – Came on at 4-0 and still went running around like we needed to score a late equaliser in a cup final, bless him. He’s a good captain and a great example of character for the younger lads, but I feel his usefulness as a player is declining.