By ‘The Don’ – @donkopleone
At the end of the day, three points is three points. Liverpool, however, made heavy work of beating a very poor Fulham side.
With plenty of space to be found down either flank early on, it felt like Liverpool would go on to rack four or five.
This would have been the case had Jurgen Klopp’s men been able to find the right final ball more often.
As it was though, the game was in the balance with ten minutes to go, following a (very) rare mistake by Virgil van Dijk. It needed Fulham goalkeeper Sergio Rico making an error of his own to secure the victory.
Rico fumbled a Mo Salah shot before tugging Sadio Mané to the floor, setting up a James Milner penalty winner.
So a big result, despite a poor collective performance. But how did the individuals get on?
Here are your ratings…
Alisson 5 – Hardly tested until he was involved in Fulham’s horrible equaliser. Made a few hospital passes to boot.
Trent 7 – Inconsistent delivery- perhaps as a result of the windy conditions- but defended well. Matip 7 – Performed well enough, making a few great cross-field passes, à la Virgil.
Virgil 5.5 – I was ready to proclaim the big Dutchman the best player in world football as he dominated this game for 70 minutes. Then, an inexplicable error, his first in fifteen months as a Liverpool player, was almost today’s crucial moment. And it was Virgil who was more at fault than Alisson, in my opinion – he put no power on the header back to his stranded goalkeeper.
Robbo 6.5 – Wasted two good opportunities coming in off the left during the first half.
Gini 7 – Consistently regained any loose ball in midfield. Should have scored when heading over the bar.
Fab 7.5 – I wanted us to take the Brazilian off at half time, when it looked as though he was close to a sending off. Second half though, he was the calmest man on the pitch. Brilliant passing range.
Lallana 6 – Pressed well early on, but did very little when on the ball.
Salah 5 – Horribly selfish at times. Needs to learn that a goal for the team is as good as a goal for Mohamed Salah.
Firmino 6 – Final ball was off today, although he played it exceptionally well for Mané’s goal.
Mané 7.5 – Streets ahead of the other two members of our frontline on current form. Could well have ended the tie with a brace and assist, hitting the bar and sending Salah through late on.
Origi 7 (Firmino) – I thought Origi did excellently. Currently performing with a maturity which makes him an ideal substitute late on in tight games.
Milner 7 (Lallana) – Partially at fault for the Fulham equaliser as well, but stepped up to slot home the crucial penalty. Yet to lose when scoring in a Premier League tie after about 500 years of playing in this competition.
Sturridge N/A (Salah) – Exchanged a handshake with a disappointed Mo Salah.