By Lewis Rooke – @LV_Rooke
A youthful and inexperienced Liverpool side were knocked out of the F.A Cup, losing 2-1 to Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux at the fourth round stage. With Jurgen Klopp making wholesale changes, it was clear the German is putting his eggs in the Premier League basket – with the second and third string players coming up short in their audition for the first-team.
Here’s how they rated on a disappointing night…
Simon Mignolet: 5 – The feelings of anxiety when he has the ball I thought I had repressed – but they came back today. Not necessarily at fault for either goal, but never felt safe with him in net, I’ve become so accustomed to Alisson’s warm welcoming arms and massive hands telling me it’s all going to be okay – yet Mignolet feels like the frigid girlfriend who won’t even let you peck her on the cheek. Uncomfortable.
Rafa Camacho: 5 – Did his best Alberto “dart to the opposition box every time we get possession” Moreno impression in the first half. Wasn’t horrendous, but his inexperience was noticeable today and time will tell if he can deputise for Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Dejan Lovren: N/A – I never thought I would hear myself say I was seriously worried about Degsy getting an injury, but given our current defensive situation, the sight of the Croat feeling his hamstrings in the first two minutes gave me chills. Lovren made way for 16-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever five minutes in.
Fabinho: 7 – More of an audition this was for the Brazilian, to see if he was capable of stepping into the centre back berth amidst a defensive crisis, and he was arguably the Reds strongest player of the first half. Wasn’t as good second half, but should the injury crisis deepen this was valuable experience for the former Monaco man if he is needed in defence.
Alberto Moreno: 5 – Bang average and bottled a tackle on the edge of the box in the first half. As with Mignolet, felt uncomfortable with him in the side. No threat to Andy Robbo at all. He can moan in the Spanish media all he wants, not good enough.
James Milner: 6 – As the elder statesman of the side, the Englishman took on the captains responsibilities as he always does with Henderson absent. Was at fault for Raul Jiminez’s goal but as Jermaine Jenas pointed out, couldn’t find options ahead of for a large portion of the game. Struggled to find options with an immobile front line ahead of him.
Naby Keita: 4 – Could have took this game by the scruff of the neck and truly announced himself as a potential starter, but the Guinean could not find his feet at all. Keita will need to show more if he is to start justifying his hefty price tag.
Curtis Jones: 5.5 – Had a few decent runs in the first half but struggled to impose himself on the game initially. and was starved of any reasonable service. Substituted.
Xherdan Shaqiri: 6 – Was extremely quiet at the start of the game, and was only a lick of paint away from equalising the game at 2-2 with a wonderfully struck free-kick. Struggled to have any true impact though.
Daniel Sturridge: 3 – Virtually invisible. Wasn’t aided by the lack of service, but today was not Daniel’s best day.
Divock Origi: 5 – Was pretty anonymous until he awoke John Ruddy from his evening snooze with a hammering strike. Did little else in all honesty.
Ki-Jana Hoever: 6 – The 16-year-old came on in the fifth minute, and he was noticeably targeted by the Wolves attack. His inexperience seriously showed in the first half and was caught out of position numerous times, yet he does have an assuring calmness on the ball. Grew into the game in the second half.
Roberto Firmino: 6 – Noticeable gulf in class when he came on, but couldn’t affect the game.
Mohamed Salah: 6 – Similar to Firmino, it was obvious to see Liverpool’s improvement when he came on but too little too late.