Player ratings: Liverpool 4-0 Red Star Belgrade

Anfield-packed-for-Liverpool-vs-Red-Star
Boom! That was more like it. After a nervy first twenty minutes, we finally found some attacking rhythm last night and put in a very dominant display but let’s take a closer look at how our boys performed individually.

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Alisson (6) - Could have watched the game from the stands. Didn’t have a save to make all night. Distributed well on a couple of occasions but he won’t have a much easier night in his career than this.

TAA (6) - Solid display from young Trent but not tested too much. Unlucky with an attempted lob of the keeper. Bailed out by Gomez when caught upfield in a rare Red Star counter attack.

Gomez (7) - His excellent start to the season continues. Showed brilliant recovery pace to snuff out the above mentioned counter attack. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen that kind of pace in our CB’s. Showed great strength and composure throughout as well although uncharacteristically sloppy with a couple of passes. Another brilliant display from the youngster however.

Van Dijk (7) - Virgil dominated the Red Star forwards without getting out of third gear last night. Troy Deeney recently described Van Dijk as “Too big, too strong, too quick, too good...”
Sums him up nicely.

Robertson (7.5) - Robbo was a thorn in the side of Red Star all night. Got himself another assist and was positive and aggressive all night. He’s a joy to watch when he’s got the bit between his teeth.

Fabinho (7.5) - Really good display from a player we’ve all been desperate to see more of. Grew into the game and started to influence it more and more. Made numerous good tackles but his positivity in moving the ball forward, both in his passing and with the ball at his feet, really impressed me. Hopefully that has been his breakthrough game and we’ll start to see more of him in the coming weeks.

Wijnaldum (7) - Another solid display from one of our most consistent players this season. Coped effortlessly with the change to the system. Kept things simple and did the midfield dirty work that allowed others to flourish. Watching Gini shield the ball from players is a thing of beauty. Hardest player in our team to dispossess.

Shaqiri (8) - Our man of the match last night for me. He’s made such a difference to our attacking play when he’s featured this season and having someone with his technical and passing ability in midfield is what we’ve been so badly lacking this season. Played a big part in the first goal, winning the ball back before playing a perfectly weighted pass to Robbo and his touch to assist for Salah’s goal was absolutely world class. Like Fabinho, I hope to see much more of Shaq in the coming weeks.

Salah (7) - This was much more like the Salah of last season. Still incredibly wasteful at times but it not mattering in the end as he still bagged a couple of goals. Three goals in two games since the international break now though so hopefully that is Salah well and truly up and running now.

Firmino (7) - That’s the Bobby we all know and love. Got himself on the scoresheet and finally he’s found his passing boots. Linked play well and had a couple of brilliant flicks and touches. Good confindence builder for him.

Mane (6.5) - Got his goal in the end but he didn’t half make hard work of it. Won the first penalty of the night after dubiously going down clutching his face. The defenders arm did come across but I hate to see those kind of theatrics from our players. Missed our second penalty of the evening and somehow managed to miss the target with the rebound from six yards out. Thank god he got his goal in the end or that game could have hurt his confidence. Better display than in recent weeks though.

Subs:

Sturridge (7) - Daniel’s good early season form continues and he grabbed himself a nice assist and was unlucky with a long range effort similar to his goal at Chelsea, which brought a laugh from Klopp. So good to have players of his quality to come off the bench.

Lallana (6) - Brought some fresh legs and energy into the second half.

Moreno (6) - Lively cameo for him.

In summary then, while still not at our blistering best, that was a much better display than we’ve seen in recent weeks. I was pleased when I saw the system and midfield, I’ve been saying for a few weeks we should flip our midfield triangle and play with a double pivot and a more recognisable number ten in order to get Shaqiri into the team as well and it worked a treat. We looked far more balanced between defence and attack.

Red Star may be fairly limited opposition but we put them to the sword with an incredibly dominant display and we really needed the confidence boost for our attackers. With a draw in the other group game, we returned to the top of the group and we have a chance to give ourselves a bit of breathing space if we can beat Red star in the return leg.

Not a perfect display last night but a vast improvement from recent weeks. Hopefully the first sign that we’re finally coming into top form and the swashbuckling displays of last season aren’t a thing of the past.
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