Player ratings: Liverpool 0-0 Man City

A gruelling run of fixtures came to an end with a 0-0 draw at Anfield on Saturday evening so ahead of the tedium of the international break over the next fortnight, let’s see how our boys fared against the current reigning champions.

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Alisson (6) - A testament to our growing strength defensively, Alisson was a virtual spectator for most of the match. Made a decent save at his near post second half but I don’t remember him being involved too much. Frustratingly held on to the ball too long on one occasion and ended up having to just kick it out for a throw in the end but another steady performance. Brings so much more confidence and composure to our back line than either of his predecessors last season.

Gomez (6.5) - Switched to right back and produced another solid display. I’m always impressed by the strength of Gomez, bigger men just seem to bounce off him. He’s quicker than I initially gave him credit for as well. He’s going to be a star but his future is definitely at CB.

Lovren (6.5) - His all round display was good, couple of great challenges and he would have scored higher, if not for the fact that on another day, he could have easily conceded two penalties. Part of me likes Lovren, he has raw passion that sometimes leads to amazing performances but his inability not to make rash challenges has plagued him all his career and at his age now, it’s just something we’re going to have to accept about him.

Van Dijk (6) - Like Lovren, he would have scored higher on all round performance but for the fact he gave away what could have been a crucial penalty, with an uncharacteristically rash challenge. Got out of jail due to the fact Mahrez missed the subsequent spot kick. All round play however, was very good as always.

Robertson (7) - Robertson was back to somewhere near his best after struggling a bit in the last couple of games. Was a danger to City on that left hand side, was aggressive and tried to make things happen throughout. Robbo’s game, much like our midfielders, is also being affected by our misfiring front three in my opinion.

Henderson (6.5) - Better game from Hendo I thought. Pressed well and was unlucky with a couple of his long, forward passes. A bit more like it from our skipper.

Wijnaldum (6) - Another steady game from Gini, doing what he does best in winning back, shielding the ball and retaining possession. Just wish he had a little more belief in himself in forward positions as he’s by far our most technically proficient midfielder, I feel he has a lot more in his locker but he’s been one of our most consistent performers this season.

Milner (6) - Not really enough time to influence the game before going off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. At 32 he probably should have been rotated more than he has been in this recent, hectic run of games. Here’s hoping it’s not too serious as losing Milner for an extended period would be a big blow.

Salah (6) - Salah is getting a six, not because he did anything at all particularly well but he was getting in good positions and not hiding. Looked most likely of our front three to do something but his finishing at the moment would be comical if he wasn’t playing for my team. Passing was absolutely horrendous again too. One in particular springs to mind, where he tried to find Gini who was literally three yards ahead of him and he couldn’t even manage that. Glimmer of improvement overall.

Mane (5) - Did some good work defensively but at the other end was poor again. Mane is just a walking wrong decision at the moment. Never seems to make the right pass just now and I’ve stopped getting excited when he and Salah receive the ball as I just assume they’ll instantly lose it. Which they do. More woeful passing and decision making. Did look a little livelier than midweek but that wouldn’t be hard.

Firmino (5) -Bobby tried hard as he always does and as always, did some good work defensively but is really struggling to make a mark in games in an attacking sense at the moment. All the verve and swagger of last season is painfully absent at the moment and nothing is coming off for him. Also guilty of poor passing

Subs:

Keita (5) - Keita is badly struggling just now for me. He looked lost at times yesterday, like he didn’t know what positions he should be taking up or what the correct pass was. Clearly not quite up to speed with the system yet but looks worryingly low on confidence. Looks a million miles from the firecracker of a midfielder he was at Leipzig. Showed flashes of what he can do but I expected a lot more from him and I think Klopp did too.

Sturridge (5.5) - Very little time to do anything (again) and struggled to get involved. Ran around a bit and tried to make an impact but it was too little, too late.

For the first fifteen minutes yesterday I thought BOOM here we go, this is last season’s Liverpool that we all adored so much. We were snapping into tackles, rampaging forward and City were all over the place but worryingly, we seemed to run out of legs and for the rest of the game, City were comfortably the better team but without really threatening Alisson’s goal too much.

First fifteen minutes aside, we look so blunt as an attacking force right now. That’s now four games without a goal for any of our front three and in truth, Salah aside, the other two don’t even look like scoring. Salah is at least getting in scoring positions, just finishing terribly. We’ve had a significant drop off in both chances created and goals scored this season however and it’s becoming a real worry. Shaqiri must be wondering just how bad Salah and Mane have to get before he gets a game. Or any game time at all for that matter. I’ll be amazed if we don’t target a creative midfielder in January as well.

Ultimately, on paper, our results over our recent run of difficult fixtures don’t look too bad but we’ve been getting away with it and it’s papering over the cracks. If not for a missed penalty and a miracle goal from Sturridge, we’d have just lost four in a row and things would be taking on a very different complexion.

Anyway, bit of a long winded player ratings this week but seeing as there won’t be one for a couple of weeks I thought I’d put the effort in ;-)

Finally, it has struck me this week how the old saying ‘football is a funny old game’ still rings true. After all, twelve months ago, who on earth would have thought we’d be saying ‘Thank god for our defence!’
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