Player ratings: Liverpool 1-0 Brighton

Alisson-points-to-the-heavens
Unfortunately troops, DaBandit is unable to do his excellent ‘Keeping it Real-ism’ post match player ratings this week so having just returned from a weekend in the wilderness and caught up with the game, I’ll do my best to fill his undoubtedly big boots with a quick player ratings article.

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Alisson - (8) - He gets an 8 for that dink over Knockaert alone. One dodgy moment when he nearly got caught in possession so that should serve as a warning to him but other than that, he was flawless. Made a good save and commanding when dealing with crosses. Distribution excellent once again.

TAA - (7) - Still working his way back to top form which is understandable given his lack of preseason. Another solid display from him though with some glimpses of real quality. Played the pass of the match.

Gomez - (7) - Another solid display from Gomez who is undoubtedly benefitting from playing next to Van Dijk. Brighton targeted him for the aerial duels but he dealt with it fairly comfortably for the most part. His play makes you forget he’s only 21 so he’ll no doubt have rough patches as he’s still developing but on current showing, Lovren is going to have a job on his hands getting back into the team when he returns to full fitness.

Van Dijk - (7.5) - Another imperious display for the most part. Couple of misplaced passes but for me, he’s currently the best centre back in the world. Since his debut in January, we’ve kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League. Some impact for one player to have when you think how we shipped goals so cheaply prior to his arrival.

Robertson - (8) - Robbo just continues to impress. Once again showed boundless energy. Solid defensively and a great attacking outlet that wasn’t used frequently enough by our midfield. Made some really intelligent runs, especially in the second half and was unlucky not to get an assist for the cross he put in for Firmino’s chance in the first half.

Wijnaldum- (8) - Another really solid display from Gini. He has his detractors but I’ve always been a fan. He does so much of the dirty work for the team and his versatility in midfield is a real asset to the team. If I had one criticism of him, it would be that I think he can do more in an attacking sense if perhaps he had a little more self belief. He oozes technique as his keepie-up dribble showed today. Valuable member of the squad.

Keita - (6.5) - Started well but became increasingly invisible as the match wore on. I thought we improved when Hendo came on. I’m not reading too much into today though, our attacking play in general never really clicked.

Milner - (8.5) - Best player on the pitch. The evergreen James ‘friggin’ Milner continues to impress. Was all over the pitch and Neymar amongst others could do with taking a leaf out of Milner’s book on how to deal with some rough treatment. Was on the receiving end of numerous bad fouls and just shrugged them off and gave another excellent display. Our most consistent player.

Mane - (5.5) - Pretty awful display if I’m being honest. His passing in the first half was comically bad at times and nothing seemed to come off for him today. He’s been our best attacker so far this season though so I’ll allow him an off day. Thought we might have seen Shaqiri come on for him in the second half. I’m a little worried about the delay in Mane signing his new contract.

Salah - (7.5) - When I’m watching Salah just now, it reminds me of watching him at the beginning of last season. He’s scored but seemed quite wasteful at times with poor touches/passes and he didn’t win a single one of his duels against the Brighton left back. He’s still the game changer though and I remember at this time last season, he had many doubters as people were saying the same thing - he’s wasteful etc and that’s true but in the last two games, despite not playing particularly well, he’s still been the one who’s made the difference in the pivotal moments of the game. Other teams should be worried though as there is still a whole lot more to come from Salah this season.

Firmino - (7) - It’s just not quite happening for Bobby right now. Unlucky not to score from a header in the first half. He couldn’t have done much better but was denied from a great save by Ryan in Brighton’s goal, who had a really good game and looks a good keeper. Like Salah though, opposition defences beware as there is a lot more to come from our Bobby this season. Even when his prowess isn’t completely firing on all cylinders, the work he puts in, the amount of times he nicks the ball back, he is always worthy of his selection.

Substitutes:

Sturridge - (6) - Difficult game to come on and have an impact. Showed some nice touches and passes but also tried to shoot a couple of times when the shot wasn’t on and he should have passed. Shows how far our squad has come though when you think 3 years ago, we were basically reliant on Sturridge to score all our goals. Now it’s just nice to see squad players of his quality. For this particular game however, I thought Shaqiri may have been a better option off the bench.

Henderson - (7) - I thought we improved when Hendo came on. Hendo has gone up a lot in my opinion this last six months. He has an intelligence to his game now that he never used to and I felt we controlled the game better when he came on. He now makes the right decision with his passes more often than not and has really grown into his role as captain.

Matip - (N/A) - Not enough time to make an impact but good to see him back in the ranks as we were looking seriously thin on the ground at CB when the season kicked off. The international break should give him a chance to get up to speed.

It was far from a vintage display but the best teams find a way to win when not at their best and that’s what we’ve done the last couple of games. Three wins out of three though with three clean sheets. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Man City surprisingly dropped points at Wolves over the weekend so it’s first blood to us. Consistency will be key to a title challenge but so far so good and we’ve got a whole heap of talent waiting to come into the team. Could this finally be our year?
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