A favourable fixture list is not enough when you are Liverpool. The fear of the Reds’ fans seemed to be justifiable as Jurgen Klopp’s men managed a draw midweek at Anfield against Bournemouth and conceded late into the first half against Stoke City this afternoon.
But it was a stunning second half for the Reds as Brazilian duo Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino scored within a couple of minutes to upturn the outcome and managed to withstand the Potters’ attacking threats in order to snatch three points from the Bet365 stadium and keep their ‘top four’ hopes alive.
Below are the Liverpool players rated from their emphatic win against Stoke City.
Simon Mignolet: 9
Could have done little to deny Jonathan Walters’ header. But the Belgian pulled off two majestic point blank saves to keep his side in the game and scripted a crucial victory in adverse situations. Was steady in set-pieces and composed while punching, in his outing and clearances.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 5.5
The local lad was handed a start in right wingback role. Could not adjust in Klopp’s changed formation and struggled in front of Arnautovic; was taken off at half-time when the Reds conceded late in first half.
Dejan Lovren: 5.5
Lovren had a mixed afternoon in Klopp’s back five formations as he almost made a howler which Arnautovic failed to capitalise on. Should have been better positioned during Stoke’s goal. Had a better second half and was unlucky as his header struck the woodwork.
Joel Matip: 6.5
Matip was calm and composed, did well aerially and never let Stoke have command in the box. Another steady performance from former Schalke defender.
Ragnar Klavan: 5.5
Was reckless with his tackles and should have tracked down Jonathan Walters’ run to stop him from scoring. Had a much better second half as he stayed composed defensively.
Nathaniel Clyne: 6
Started the game as a make-shift left wing-back and often struggled against Xherdan Shaqiri. Shifted to his usual right-hand side in second half and left his mark with forward runs and crosses.
Emre Can: 7.5
Showing consistency in skipper Jordan Henderson’s absence as he had another tireless outing in the middle of the park. Helped his side to screen the back line and constituted a number of attacking threats with his box to box runs.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 6.5
His howler against Bournemouth in the midweek could have been revisited today when his suicidal back header fell into the path of Charlie Adam but Mignolet made an outstanding reaction save to deny the former Reds’ midfielder and sealed the deal for the Potters. He, however, delivered a sublime lofted pass for Roberto Firmino who scored a screamer and scripted the turnaround at Bet365 Stadium.
James Milner: 6.5
Started in midfield ahead of Clyne and worked hard down the left-hand flank with his runs and crosses. Later he focused on his defensive duties as Klopp decided to bring Coutinho in place of Alexander-Arnold and changed the formation.
Ben Woodburn: 5.5
The teenager tried hard to link up with Origi and Milner and troubled Stoke’s defence with his down the middle runs on a few occasions. Lacked experience and faded away with time. Was taken off and replaced by Roberto Firmino at half-time.
Divock Origi: 5
Scored twice in his last couple of outings. But the Belgian youngster could not stretch the streak as he failed to test Stoke custodian Lee Grant before being replaced by Daniel Sturridge.
Philippe Coutinho: 7
The Brazilian did not start the game due to illness. But he responded when he was needed the most as his presence opened up the game since his arrival before second half kick-off in place of Alexander-Arnold. He tested the keeper with his effort and eventually managed to draw level at around the 70th-minute mark to score his third in three appearances since the international break.
Roberto Firmino: 7.5
Firmino, too, had a massive impact from the bench as he impressed once more with his work ethics and scored a stunner after picking up Wijnaldum’s lofted pass and volleyed it home over Grant to turn the game around.
Daniel Sturridge: 6
The injury-plagued Englishman made his return after two months of absence and turned out to be a lucky charm for his side as the Reds scored twice in four minutes since his arrival. Lacked pace and needs game-time to settle in the squad.
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