By ‘The Don’ – @donkopleone
Xherdan Shaqiri’s late brace proved the difference as Liverpool romped to a 3-1 victory over Manchester United on Sunday. In reality though, the “difference” had seemed apparent from the first minute.
Jurgen Klopp’s men dominated the game and even the most ardent United supporter would concede that Jose Mourinho’s side looked second best… actually, second best might still be overly-flattering. Liverpool were very, very good and only a freak mistake by Alisson kept United in the contest.
But how did the players get on individually? Don Kopleone was on match ratings, from the Kop End.
Alisson 5.5 – Clearly, he made the mistake, but with three points in the bag there is no need to dwell on it. Likewise, it will be easier for him to recover as the goal didn’t cost us.
Clyne 6 – United didn’t have much joy all afternoon, but when they did, it came down our right. Looked low on confidence, but survived.
Lovren 7.5 – All in all, a very good performance from Degsy – one painfully-hopeful forty-yarder aside.
Virgil 8 – It’s now a surprise if Virgil doesn’t completely nullify the opposition’s attack.
Robbo 8 – Exceptional performance, bar his inability to take a corner.
Gini 8 – Ninety minutes which typified Gini this season. So strong in the tackle and so calm on the ball… until he found himself in the penalty box.
Fabinho 9 – Comfortably the best player on the pitch until Shaqiri was brought on. Broke up play masterfully, always seemed to choose the right pass and made the first goal with a beautifully weighted ball. One of the best individual performances from a Liverpool player this season.
Sadio 7.5 – Great movement, touch and composure for the first goal. Had the beating of both United full backs whenever he chose to take them on, as he did for the all-important second.
Naby 6.5 – An odd game for the Guinean as an individual. Keita looked dangerous every time he picked up the ball, but would often hold on to it just a second too long and lose the opportunity.
Bobby 7.5 – Bobby looked like the Bobby of last season, finally. He frequently won the ball high up, opened play up to start counterattacks and gave United the runaround. Forced de Gea into two great saves low down. Excellent.
Salah 6.5 – Not his best game, but the Egyptian king remained a constant threat.
Shaq 9 – substituted on with twenty-odd to go and the scores level; the game could not really have gone much better for Xherdan could it? He knows how to hit a ball, and- when you do that- anything can happen, as it did.
Hendo 6.5 – came on, did a job. Standard.
Man of the Match: Fabinho
It may seem harsh on the brace-scoring, match-winning Xherdan Shaqiri not to award him the prize, but from the first minute Fabinho looked a class apart. There were shades of Xabi Alonso to his play: winning the ball, switching possession.
If the Brazilian can carry today’s performance forward, he will quickly become one of the best central midfielders in the Premier League.