Player ratings: Napoli 1-0 Liverpool

Well that was bloody awful! Easily our worst performance of the season but I’m not overly surprised, we’ve been heading towards that kind of performance in recent weeks. Let’s take a look at how our boys fared after such a disappointing result and display.

Alisson (7) -  One of the few players to be able to walk off with his head held high. Made some good saves, he really does look to be an expert in dealing with one on ones. Blameless for the goal.

TAA (5.5) -  One brilliant, potentially goal saving tackle aside, this was a poor display from Trent. Napoli got in down our right hand side all game, Trent had a fairly torrid time of things and like most of his team mates, passing and first touch was sloppy and wasteful for most of the night.

Gomez (8.5) - Comfortably our best player on the night. Showed great strength, pace and positional play throughout. A much steadier presence than Lovren or Matip, even at his tender years. The scoreline could have been a lot worse without Joe. Brought the ball out well from the back too. Maturing into a top class centre back.

Van Dijk (7) -  A decent display from Virgil but was uncharacteristically hesitant on occasion and sloppy with some of his passing. Imperious in the air though and like Gomez, helped to keep the score down.

Robertson (5.5) - Like Trent, struggled this evening. Had very little opportunity to attack and lost his man in the build up to their goal. Passing, like so many others, not good either.

Keita (5) - Went off with a worrying looking injury but was poor in the 20 odd minutes he did get. Looks worryingly short of confidence. A spell out might not do him any harm. Give him a chance to settle in a bit more, out of the spotlight.

Wijnaldum (5)- Didn’t do any of the stuff he normally does so well. Gave up possession too easily and his sloppy passing was a familiar tale throughout the team. Arguably still our best midfielder on the night but that would not be setting the bar high at all.

Milner (5)- Huffed and puffed but couldn’t make a mark on the game. Not particularly helped by his teammates..

Salah (4) Passing - awful. Dribbling - awful. Shooting - awful. Hold up play - awful. Lucky to score as highly as a 4.

Firmino (5) - Another fairly anonymous display from Bobby although I feel the rancid form of Salah and Mane is contributing a lot to Bobby’s current struggle to make an impact in games.

Mane(4) - Held on to the ball far too long almost every time he received it. Dribbled past a player or two and then just kept going and going until he lost possession. Multiple times I was screaming at the TV for him to pass. He slowed our counter attacks to a standstill numerous times and I don’t remember him even getting close to being in a goalscoring position.

Subs:

Henderson (5) - Replaced the stricken Keita after 20 mins but did nothing to justify his tantrum at being subbed in the last game. Way too much sideways and backwards passing and every diagonal ball he tried didn’t come off. Needed to get a grip of the game as his team mates struggled but never came close.

Fabinho (6) - I actually thought we improved a bit when Fabinho came on. A decent cameo for the lad in a difficult game and some more valuable minutes.

Sturridge (N/A) -Not on long enough to have an impact. Should have been on earlier in my opinion.

Any way you want to dress it up, that was a god awful display. I think it’s time Shaqiri got a start for either Mane or Salah as they are proving more of a liability on the pitch at this point in time than an attacking threat. At the moment, if the opposition want possession, they just need to let Mane or Salah receive a pass and they’ll surrender possession in immediate fashion.

I’m disappointed in all aspects of tonight. We seemed to be playing for a draw, I don’t know why we were so cautious. We should just play our natural game, every game regardless of opposition or venue. We showed last season that teams that go toe to toe with us generally get turned over and Napoli are far from a great side. If we’d won tonight we’d have had one foot in the knockout stages but we never managed to create a single clear chance and didn’t have a single shot on target. All we managed to do was give them 3 points and plenty confidence for their trip to Anfield, as well as blowing the group wide open again.

To be quite honest, our results this season have papered over the cracks, I don’t think we’ve had any particularly good performances with the exception of West Ham on the opening day of the season and if not for an absolute wonder strike from Sturridge against Chelsea, we’d have now lost 3 on the bounce and none of our first choice eleven have scored in those games. Our form is becoming a worry and with City coming to Anfield on Sunday, there’s a fair few players that need to seriously step up their game or a season that started with such promise and positivity, can easily fall into a tailspin of negativity that it’s difficult to get out of.

Vast improvement needed, starting with the champions on Sunday.
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