Saturday, August 13, 2022

Coutinho Conjures, Mané Prances Around Arsenal And Onto Klopp’s Piggyback – Liverpool Player Ratings and Musings

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Jon Depp (JD)
Eccentric writer, effervescent blagger. What he lacks in cheekbones, he makes up by being cheeky. The footballing Jack Sparrow pompously navigating the high-waves of journalism. 2015 International Football Blogging Award Finalist, the pin-up boy of The 4th Official.

In the spirit of full-disclosure, let me tell you that I needed to have a lie down after that match. It was absolutely mental and there not too many words to draw from. So, let’s get straight to the player ratings.

Starting XI

Simon Mignolet – 6

The gauntlet was thrown down to Simon Mignolet, who once too often talked the talk last season but couldn’t walk the walk, or… save the save. This afternoon, it was a much more determined Mignolet between the posts, having stopped a penalty. But Arsenal were unforgiving in the first-half, and his confidence waned. Did well enough in the second-half, but perhaps could have done better saving Chambers’ headed goal.

Nathaniel Clyne – 6

It went all helter-skelter for the normally composed full-back, but as were his team who were pulled apart from every direction possible – an atypical lack of spatial awareness marked the entire first half. Came back stronger in the second-half, and was the assist-maker for the 30-pass Coutinho goal with a low, drilled in cross.

Alberto Moreno – 5

Atrocious first-half display underpinned by his team being caught half-way through their attacking move. Adam Lallana, ponderous play on the ball, lost possession at the centre, and with typical Arsenal cut and thrust, made the backline pay. With the entire rearguard caught flat-footed in attacking momentum, it made his positioning look worse than it was.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14: Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool celebrates scoring his free kick with Alberto Moreno during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on August 14, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 14: Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool celebrates scoring his free kick with Alberto Moreno during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on August 14, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

However, a nonsensical challenge where he turned his head away to dive in for the ball was  in desperate hope than expectation – the tackle gave away the penalty. Looked to be on the brink of conceding another, but Klopp kept faith, did that belief justice in the second half. Needs to wise up, and fast.

Ragnar Klavan – 8

Amongst the madness, Ragnar Klavan was a figure of steady composure. He backs his technical ability and it shows every time he gets the ball at his feet. Not half-bad in the air as well, played a part in some crucial headers. However, looked to be at fault losing Chambers in the third goal Liverpool conceded. He could very well prove to be Liverpool’s best defender this season, if Mamadou Sakho doesn’t come back with a stronger claim for that tag.

Dejan Lovren – 5

Suspect on a few occasions, particularly when he was skinned by Aaron Ramsey. An early yellow card meant he tip-toed around on egg shells through the rest of the. His varied inconsistency through the course of a game doesn’t instil any semblance of confidence in the backline as his partner, Klavan does.

Jordan Henderson – 7

Madness reigned supreme in midfield, and for the most part, Jordan Henderson seems like he needed a map in the first-half. Utterly hapless in the defensive midfield role in the first forty-five minutes, with Arsenal making inroads at will; he got his bearing right in the second half and put in a display fit for the Colosseum.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14: Adam Lallana (R) of Liverpool is shown the yellow card by referee Michael Oliver during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on August 14, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 14: Adam Lallana (R) of Liverpool is shown the yellow card by referee Michael Oliver during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on August 14, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Genie Wijnaldum – 6

Looked unsure of his role in a midfield two, and it was telling as he rarely appeared to have any of the ball at all, and when he did he looked circumspect and released the ball two seconds too late. Showed enough vision and impetus to find Lallana with a lofted, squared ball in the box resulting in Liverpool’s comeback goal. Need to back himself more often, and more emphatically.

Adam Lallana – 7

This was a game of redemption, first by Thoe Walcott who put his laces through the ball and into the net, giving Arsenal the lead after missing the penalty.

The goal which was a consequence of Adam Lallana’s signature mulling over the ball – nipped by an on-rushing Arsenal midfielder, resigning all of his team to run back while they were half way in their stride of running forward. Took Wijnaldum’s ball down expertly, and cooly slotted home a finish that gave Liverpool a shot in the arm.

Philippe Coutinho Correia – 11

What? I’m biased towards Brazilians. Especially, Brazilians who can curl the ball from 35 yards, with such disdain into the top corner making the best keeper in the league, the whole 6’5″ frame of his redundant. Had Harry Potter’s Cloak of Invisibility on for the first 44 minutes before, with the usual Brazilan pomp and show shedding it with a golazo.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14: Petr Cech of Arsenal fails to stop the free kick by Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on August 14, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 14: Petr Cech of Arsenal fails to stop the free kick by Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on August 14, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Played an integral part in the setup of his team’s second goal, and then a late run, ghosting into the box, taking a leaf out of Bob Firmino’s manual, and volleying home a zipped in Clyne-cross from close range. Man United, Everton, Chelsea, Man City and now Arsenal are in the list of big teams he has scored away goals at. Can the little man for the big occasions, make this season his career defining one? All he needs is consistency.

Sadio Mane – 9

Sadio Mannedona, more like. Sadio Mané with all the agility, of a prancing gazelle across the Serengeti. If David Attenborough was still alive he’d have waxed lyrical of the sheer magnificence of Mane’s run for the goal, which would have not been out of place amongst the gazelles of the Serengeti.  “Look how this majestic prancer evades his hapless pursuers.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14: Sadio Mane of Liverpool is closed down by Calum Chambers of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on August 14, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 14: Sadio Mane of Liverpool is closed down by Calum Chambers of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on August 14, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Fearless, full of running, mind-boggling pace, an absolute banker for my Fantasy Premier League team. Got a piggy-back ride from Juergen Klopp – his life is made.

Roberto Firmino – 7

What he lacked in incisiveness, he made up for it in selfless team play and graft. Not the cloak and dagger display that we have come to expect but, played his part in essential build-up plays.

Substitutes

Emre Can (on for Coutinho 70′) – 7

Came in at a time when Liverpool needed bodies behind the ball, he did his job well with minimum fuss.

Divock Origi (on for Lallana 78′) – 6

Liverpool needed to have someone up there who can hold onto the ball with his back to goal. His instruction were perhaps just that, and he put in a shift for his team, looking to not lose the ball when he had it – thereby, restricting his otherwise rampant forward play.

Kevin Stewart (on for Wijnaldum 88′) – 5

Didn’t have enough time under his belt to make an impact. Fans, though, were calling for him to be put on at half-time to stop Arsenal’s movement through the midfield. Out of absolute obscurity, it shows how much he’s grown in the estimation of the knowledgeable Liverpool faithful.

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