Player ratings: Huddersfield 0-1 Liverpool

Huddersfield-and-Liverpool-players-compete-for-the-ball
They say Champions win ugly... I’m pretty sure they don’t mean every week though. After another hard fought victory, it’s time to take a look at how our players rated.

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Alisson (6) - Very little to do once more. Only one save of note to make and he dealt with it comfortably. Another couple of dodgy moments with the ball at his feet though. Lingers too long on the ball and puts himself under unnecessary pressure.

Gomez (7) - Another excellent display from young Joe. Switches from CB to RB effortlessly. It would be wrong to call this his breakthrough season as he’s been around for a while now but his game has definitely gone up a level this season. One of the first names on the teamsheet on current form.

Lovren (6) - A solid enough display from Lovren. Had a couple of vintage Dejan moments however, one where he wildly sliced a clearance straight up in the air and another where he attempted some kind of scorpion kick after Van Dijk failed to intercept a cross. He’s no longer the car crash defender he was in his first couple of season with us however and with he and Matip behind Van Dijk and Gomez, we now have real strength in depth at CB.

Van Dijk (7) - His usual calming influence on the team and is simply imperious in the air. Set pieces used to have me hiding behind the couch but no more, you just know Virgil will deal with it nine times out of ten. One dodgy moment leading to the aforementioned Lovren scorpion kick aside, another excellent display from the world’s most expensive defender.

Robertson (6) - Not his usual marauding self in an attacking sense, due mainly to having his hands full defensively for large parts of the game. Dealt with most things fairly comfortably though. A solid, if unspectacular display.

Henderson (5) - Meh. For every really good display Hendo has, he has five of these. Our passing from midfield, right through our forward line has been nothing short of abysmal at times this season and the relentless sideways and backwards passing from Hendo is doing nothing to help our faltering attack. Subbed at halftime with a tight hamstring.

Milner (6) - I was surprised Milner started after going off with a hamstring injury in the last game and he clearly hadn’t fully recovered, as he ended up going off in the second half after feeling something again. Busy as always but struggled to impact the game.

Shaqiri (7.5) - Our best player yesterday for me. I’ve always been a fan of Shaqiri and was disappointed we failed to land him when Rodgers tried to sign him. He’s a little ball of energy, pace, power and technique. Full of self confidence and always looking to make something happen. Really hope we see more of him in the coming weeks. Chalked up a nice assist.

Salah (6.5) - Scored the vital winning goal and looked a bit more like the Salah of last season. His passing however is absolutely hideous and I’d be surprised if there’s a player in the Premier League who loses possession more frequently than Salah. Encouraging signs from last season’s player of the year however.

Sturridge (5) - Anonymous for large parts of the game and clearly left his shooting boots at home. The odd couple of occasions he got himself into a shooting position, his finishing was wild. Daniel is super-sub for me these days. Looked exhausted from the 70th minute onwards.

Lallana (6) - First game back in a long time so I don’t want to be overly critical but this was just typical Lallana - all style and no substance. Couple of lovely tricks and turns throughout the game but aside from looking good on the ball, he doesn’t do anything with it. Not helped by the position he was playing though. Why he wasn’t playing CM with Shaqiri playing out on the left, only Klopp knows.
Understandably subbed with cramp in the second half.

Subs:

Wijnaldum (6.5) - Gini’s introduction had an immediate impact I thought, as we gained more control in midfield. Alongside Milner, Gini has been our standout midfielder so far this season. I doubt too many people would have predicted that in the summer.

Fabinho (6) - I'd really hoped to see Fabinho start yesterday and the subsequent recurrence of Milner’s hamstring injury (be it minor or otherwise) would go some way to justifying the calls for a starting berth for Fabinho. Looked Solid when he came on, made a few good challenges and at least looked to get the team moving forward where he could. It’s time he was given his chance in my opinion.

Firmino (5) - If his cameo against PSG was one to remember, this was one to forget as Bobby’s torrid form continues. Hopefully he’ll benefit from the rest yesterday. Not much else positive to say.

So I might sound hyper-critical here given we’re joint top of the league and have made both our best ever start to a Premier League campaign and also our best ever defensive start to a league campaign but I’m sorry, we’re underperforming. I said a few weeks back that we’re ‘getting away with it’ and we still are.

Teams are hitting posts and missing penalties just now but that won’t be the case all season. Milner was lucky not to concede a penalty yesterday, that was almost identical to the one he conceded against Roma I think it was, in last season’s Champions League. If that’s given and the strike that hit the post goes in... Well today could be looking a whole lot different.

Huddersfield dominated for large parts of the game yesterday, a team that couldn’t buy a goal at home. Now I’m all for our new found defensive solidity but not at the expense of looking utterly toothless as an attacking team and being absolutely bereft of quality in midfield. Since when do we go 1-0 up at Huddersfield and then park the bus?

Sorry to put a dampener on things but with every passing performance, my belief that we can overtake City this season is fading. City are an absolute juggernaut who are sweeping aside everyone they face outwith the top six. Their goal difference is already like an extra point and they lost their best player for a sustained period and it didn’t affect them at all.

We are grinding out results and while that is a positive in itself, our performances are starting to be a real cause for concern. We need to seriously improve as our luck will turn eventually and these penalties and long range strikes will start flying in. When they do, if we can’t start scoring with more frequency again, results will start to suffer.
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