Full-time Score: 0-5 to Liverpool.
Origi (15′ minutes),
Firmino (22′ minutes),
Naylor (61′ minutes og),
Sturridge (78′ minutes, 83′ minutes)
Venue: Pirelli Stadium.
English League Cup 2nd Round.
Burton Albion were rubbish; but then, one can expect as much when a club is one alphabet away from being as bankrupt as Barton. For Liverpool and Juergen Klopp, this was an exercise in trying to move along the right way, or towards that general direction, ahead of their match against Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham. Without European football to contend in, the English League Cup would give the now-not-so-gregarious-German-after-Burnley-defeat a platform to get players up to speed with their match fitness and probe for form – and so it was at Burton’s Pirelli stadium.
Here are the player ratings,
Simon Mignolet – 6
Simon Mignolet knows about 6 languages, holds a degree in political science from the Catholic University of Leuven, and a voracious reader of books. He might as well popped in his recliner and finished Julian Barnes’ Sense of an Ending he’s been meaning to finish. Good, small book, albeit a little downcast.
Nathaniel Clyne – 8
That’s more like it, eh? Defensively, rarely breaking a sweat, raided down the right-hand side on a ready frequency, and served an assist on a plate for Bob Firmino to head in. Could have had at least a couple more had there been more bodies in the box in the right areas. The shape and direction of his deliveries from the wide area seem to be improving. 2 assist already, this campaign compared to just the 1 from last season.
Joel Matip – 7
Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy for the languid Cameroonian. Chirpy, all the while, though – a good sign, since everyone else in the Liverpool defence is rather garbage in organisation. Stepping out with ease, telling the passer to look up in areas he’d have ignored otherwise. Would like to see him operate at a higher level of difficulty. Cleared a cheeky ball off the line.
Dejan Lovren – 7
Flat-track bully, Dejan Lovren had it easy as well. Rarely fussed on the physical side of things, at least, when after the break, Burton were pinging the ball in. Came out of defence for a punt from long range which would have been impressive field-goal had the sport been rugby.
James Milner – 8
Burton stood off him for some reason. Maybe because he’s was cracking some arduously boring jokes or telling them about an anecdote where couldn’t figure out why his vacuum wouldn’t vacuum his carpet for an hour, took it apart, to later find out that he didn’t turn off the switch. You never know.
Set up Liverpool’s first, played a telling part in Daniel Sturridge’s first strike. Not a bad left-back option, considered the competition he’s plied in, remains the League Cup. Was outpaced a couple of occasions, which was kind of scandalous, because Burton…
Emre Can – 6
Hobbled off in the second half due to an ankle injury. Klopp, in his post-match summary, suggested that it might not be as serious, but taking into account the sheer number of times his ankle has been on the treatment table, would arouse a sense of weariness. Quiet display, still rusty, forced an own goal off Naylor off a James Milner corner.
Jordan Henderson – 6
Put is a delectable cross from deep into the edge of the box, which an on-rushing Lallana should have finished. But Lallana being Lallana, didn’t. Tried to impress, play expansive passive before Klopp gave him an earful from the touchline – a more efficient performance since. Don’t try too hard, Jordan. It’ll come.
Sadio Mané – 9
McCrory would be waking up in cold sweat, seeing Sadio Mané prancing around him, half-gazelle, half, man(e). Poor bloke. The Senegalese was scorching up the turf at the Pirelli stadium. Maybe, even hotter than the Pirelli poster girl calendars (rwar!). Two assists, first for big Div Origi and the other a raking pull-back for Daniel Sturridge’s howitzer from 11 yards. The only way you can stop him is with Elephant tranquillizers or a Nigerian Prince scam.
Roberto Firmino – 7
Fairly routine finish (header) from an uncanny late run into the box? Yes, you guessed it. That’s Bob Firmino’s calling card. Exceptional movement off the ball, and always looking to come deep and fashion chances, a good all-round display from the Brazilian who plays like a German.
Adam Lallana – 5
It was inexcusable that Adam Lallana wasn’t able to gobble up that sumptuous cross from Henderson. Ran around a lot, did the odd good thing, nothing that caught the eye. Or Maybe I was a little too distracted looking at Sadio Mané’s thighs which have thighs of its own. It’s quite disconcerting, let me tell you.
Divock Origi – 7
Oi! A backheel finish from a Sadio Mané lay off was dirty! Nothing too impressive otherwise, still looking to find his rhythm, the Belgian hotshot. Well, he better fast, this Batshuayi lad for Chelsea has 3 goals and an assist already and could easily nab Origi’s starting spot for his country. Had to go off when he suffered cramps. Needs more hours on the yoga mat.
Off the Bench…
Gini Wijnaldum (on for Lallana 64) – 6
Finally allowed to operate in a more familiar advanced role, but didn’t really have much to show. Needs to pull his socks up, doesn’t look settled in, minimal effect.
Daniel Sturridge (on for Firmino 64) – 8
Back-to-back double salvos just show the man’s ability around the box. Keep him there, don’t let him drift deep as often. First, was a bundled in finish where a charging Dan Sturridge literally and figuratively found the back of the net; the second, was a thumping, minimal back-lift effort slotted into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the box, after a cut-back from Sadio – precision finish from a precision assist – one touch, boom!
Kevin Stewart (on for Can 71) – 6
He’d know all about Burton’s Pirelli Stadium, having spent time here, Kevin. By that I do not mean all of it, I mean, he certainly wouldn’t know when it was made and the names of the founding fathers, and what not. However, he knew enough to not put a foot wrong. Competent performance yet again.