Player ratings: Leicester 1-2 Liverpool

Firmino-and-Mane-celebrate-on-pitch
With the tedium of the first International break of the season on the horizon, Leicester away provided our sternest test of the season so far, before our players jet off around the world to meet up with their national teams. We banked another vital 3 points but this was far from a vintage display. Let’s see how our boys fared...

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Alisson (6) - Let’s start with the obvious. Goalkeepers should only ever consider a Cruyff turn if there is literally no other option. He should definitely never choose to do one and try and dribble when he has time to clear the danger. He looked on his way to another flawless performance having already made a good save and dealt well with crosses before his overconfidence cost us a goal. He got away with one last week that would have cost us two points. He’s only getting away with it this week because we still won the game. It’s a warning he needs to heed as he’s just increased the pressure and intense speculation on himself for no good reason whatsoever.

TAA (6) - Fairly quiet day for Trent. Don’t really remember him being overly involved in attack or defence. Another solid display from the lad though. Undoubtedly our first choice right back now.

Gomez (8.5) - Man of the match for me. A brilliant display from the youngster who is blossoming in his preferred CB role. Made a goal-saving block from the impressive Maddison and showed great positional play, composure and a good turn of pace throughout. Possibly guilty of overplaying slightly in the lead up to the Leicester goal but in his defence, what he did actually worked. It was the subsequent poor pass from Van Dijk and even poorer decision making from Alisson that really led to the goal.

Van Dijk (7) - We’ve become so used to perfection from Van Dijk that we forget he is a mere mortal at times too. As always, he was imperious in the air and it’s nice to no longer be terrified every time the opposition launch the ball in our box but, like Alisson, I think he was guilty of being a little overconfident at times yesterday. Gomez got him out of jail with a great block after he’d lost Maddison and his pass back to Alisson in the lead up to Leicester’s goal was very poor. Still easily the best CB in the league though.

Robertson (7.5) - Robbo is arguably the first name on the team sheet these days, which is some compliment considering our array of international superstars. He’s clearly been reading the James Milner book of consistency as he very rarely scores less than a 7/10 in games in my opinion.
Once again, he was solid defensively and an attacking threat, registering another assist in a trademark show of bravery and hunger to bulldoze his way past the Leicester defender and then pick out Mane with his usual excellent delivery. Robbo and Alonso at Chelsea are a clear cut above the rest of the left backs in the league in my opinion. Mendy may come into that bracket but he’s not played enough yet.

Henderson (6) - First start of the season for our skipper but didn’t influence the game as much as he would have liked and our midfield completely lost control of the second half I thought. We could’ve done with Hendo taking more control of the game. First start of he season though so I’m not reading too much into his performance.

Wijnaldum (6) - Some good play in the first half but faded as the game wore on. Needs to have more belief in his own ability. Shows some real class at times and has the technique and ability to have more influence in games. Always puts in a shift though.

Milner (8) - I’ve been saying Milner should be captain for the last two seasons. James ‘friggin’ Milner really is the ultimate professional and the perfect role model for any young player. He’s everywhere on the pitch, his work rate is incredible for a player in his thirties, he’s brave in the tackle, intelligent in his play and passing and he always takes responsibility. Our most influential player so far this season. I’d love to get our former host’s take on Milner these days... ;-)

Salah (7) - I actually thought Salah looked a bit more at the races yesterday than he has in the last couple of games and was as surprised as he when he was substituted. Played a great ball to Firmino which Bobby should have scored from but then Mo missed an absolute sitter on the rebound from it. If he scored half the sitters he misses, he would be netting 60 a season. Not in full flow yet but he’s still influencing games. Hopefully he resolves his issues with the Egyptian FA soon. We need Salah fully focused for when the Champions League starts.

Firmino (7.5) - Still not quite happening for Bobby but he got off the mark this season with a well taken header and as always, put a great defensive shift in. Always worthy of his starting place through workrate alone and he’s now got 2 goals/assists in 4 games so not bad for a player yet to hit top form. Should have scored when clean though but his goal will give him confidence and hopefully he’ll kick on after the international break.

Mane (8) - Our best attacker so far this season. Got a little bit of luck with the way the ball broke to him for his goal but showed great composure and intelligence to just toe-poke the ball past Schmeichel. Mane still has another level to reach in my opinion and hopefully this will be the season he gets there. Just wish he’d hurry up and sign his new contract. It’s gone eerily quiet on that front.

Subs:

Keita (6) - Struggled to make an impact. Did some decent work defensively.

Shaqiri (6.5) - Looked lively and tried to make something happen but a difficult game for him to impact as we were on the back foot for large parts of the second half. I fancy him to have far more impact this season than all our backup attackers last season had between them.

Matip (N/A) Not enough time to score him on but glad he’s back fit.

In summary, not a vintage display by any means and our form gives slight cause for concern but champions win when not playing well and we’ve made a perfect start to the season points wise if not performance. We scored two and should have scored more against a good Leicester side and we still wouldn’t have conceded a goal if not for Alisson having to (hopefully) learn a harsh lesson. I think he will though and it may serve as a kick up the backside to our team in general as we looked complacent for a time yesterday and let Leicester back into a game we were cruising in.

I do feel though, much like I did after the Palace game, that in recent seasons and probably even last season, we’d have drawn or lost those games so I’m taking a big positive from that, along with the fact I know there is a lot more to come from these players this season.

I still feel we’re lacking a Fekir type attacking midfielder. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that deal or an equivalent resurrected in January, especially if we're still in the title race and/or Champions League.

I’m ultimately content however. Four wins out of four and we’ve only conceded one goal in that time. That’s Champions form. Now let’s just pray this accursed international break doesn’t send any of our boys back crocked like it usually does...
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