Player ratings: Brighton 0-1 Liverpool

Salah-celebrates-his-goal
After back to back defeats in the league and cup, it was vital we got back to winning ways with a victory at Brighton and we duly obliged, although it didn’t always make for easy watching. Let’s see how the lads got on.

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Alisson (7) - Difficult to score a keeper when he had so little to do. Distribution was good and dealt comfortably with everything he needed to. Overall, a quiet afternoon for Alisson.

TAA (7) - Looked to be struggling with an injury for the first twenty minutes, reported to have happened in the warm up. Seemed to run it off as the first half wore on however and grew into the game with some very intelligent passing while also offering an attacking outlet down the right. Hopefully the injury was nothing and playing the game hasn’t aggravated it.

Fabinho (8.5) - What an intelligent player Fabinho is. Having never played CB before the midweek defeat to Wolves, you’d think he’d been playing there all his life watching yesterday’s display. Made one potentially goal saving block and passed out from the back really well, as you’d expect from a midfielder playing CB. Dealt really well with the aerial threat of Murray as well, who targeted him all game but got no change out the Brazilian. A player with Fabinho’s mix of skill, intelligence and versatility is a really important member of any squad. 40 million is starting to look like a steal.

Van Dijk (8) - Delivered his usual brand of excellence. Absolutely imperious in the air as he won every header he went for, clearing countless high balls. Distributed well from the back and constantly organising everyone around him. Arguably our most important player.

Robertson (8.5) - Continues to be consistently excellent. Robbo was the only one in the first half to try and make something happen and was unlucky not to get an assist when he laid a great chance on for Bobby, with one of his trademark crosses and Firmino really should have scored. Was an attacking threat all afternoon, repeatedly driving at the Brighton defence but was also rock solid defensively when called upon. Watching Robbo compared with Moreno’s display midweek, is like night and day. What a player he’s turned into.

Henderson (7.5) - Had a bit of a ropey start in what was a very frustrating first half of us having all the ball but doing nothing with it. Grew into the game however and was like a different player in the second half as he absolutely bossed the midfield. Won countless tackles and drove the team on in the second half. If he could deliver yesterday’s second half display more consistently, he would have a lot less detractors.

Wijnaldum (7.5) - Gini is so consistent in both what he’s good at and his shortcomings that I could basically write the same thing about him after every game. Quietly goes about his business in the centre of the pitch, breaking up play, shielding the ball, rotating posession and doing lots of the unsung work that every team needs a player to do. His selflessness though, while one of his attributes is also what stops him showcasing more of the skills he undoubtedly possesses, more often than he does. Unlucky with a shot that hit the post but I really do think he has so much more in his locker in an attacking sense if he just believed in himself a bit more.

Firmino (7) - Bobby’s found his form in recent weeks and is starting to look more like last season’s player, although playing a slightly different role. More involved in the second half and forced their keeper into a good save. Showed his usual tidy footwork, good link up play and work ethic.

Shaqiri (6) - Another fairly disappointing display from Shaq. Unlucky with a glancing header in the first half but other than that, struggled to get involved and not too much came off for him. Understandably subbed.

Salah (7.5) - This game was Salah in a nutshell. Looked totally isolated in the first half and struggled to get involved and when he did get the ball he was his usual frustrating self with a dodgy first touch and misplaced passes and then suddenly, out of nothing he picks up the ball, turns the Brighton defender inside out and wins a penalty, which he subsequently converted. He can be so frustrating to watch at times but he’s a game changer, of that there can be no doubt and 61 goals in 82 Liverpool appearances speaks for itself.

Mane (7) - Mane made his 100th appearance for the club yesterday and was busy and caused Brighton problems, particularly in the second half when he moved to the right and started making driving runs at their defence from deep. Started a number of counter attacks with his pace. Could do with getting on the scoresheet with a little more regularity though.

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Subs:

Milner (6) - Brought his usual brand of huff and puff to proceedings, made some strong tackles and kept things tight in midfield.

Keita (3) - Normally I don’t score a player who comes on so late but I was so annoyed at Keita  yesterday that he’s not getting away with it. He comes on in the 89th minute, just keep it simple and don’t do anything stupid. Instead, he picks up the ball, attempts a dribble and then simply stops, looking for a foul after an absolute nothing challenge from the Brighton player. By stopping, he surrendered possession, leading to a Brighton counter attack and them creating a decent chance. Can you imagine they’d scored? He really needs to buck his ideas up. Had he not been watching the rest of the game? Some of the challenges that the ref had let slide? He was never getting a free kick there. He needs to realise he’s playing in the Premier League now and basically, he needs to grow a pair. Hopefully he got both barrels from his team mates in the dressing room after. Vast improvement required.

Origi (N/A) - Time wasting substitution.

Klopp-watch (8) - Given the injuries recently, the team pretty much picked itself and got the result . Watching how well drilled our players are really is a pleasure and that comes from the manager and the coaches. Deserves credit for not allowing the last two losses to affect the players. Long may the good work continue.

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Summary:

At risk of sounding a bit like a broken record, I think yesterday’s display once again showed our need for a more progressive passer from centre midfield. We had over 70% possession in the first half and didn’t manage a shot on target. If you’re not creating any chances, it’s just possession for the sake of it. Both Hendo and Gini were guilty of constantly taking the safe option in the first half, leading to our centre backs resorting to playing long balls to our forwards which Brighton’s defence dealt with comfortably. Our forwards were isolated and the only player in the first half to take any responsibility to make things happen in an attacking sense was Robbo.

There was a big improvement in the second half, particularly from Hendo, we got our forwards more involved and started causing them problems. We still couldn’t score from open play though and didn’t create enough clear cut chances for my liking.

I am however, perhaps being a little overly critical. Champions need to grind out results sometimes and we’ve shown our new found capacity to do just that on a number of occasions this season and yesterday was no exception. It was absolutely imperative we got back to winning ways after defeat to Man City and that’s exactly what we did, against a well organised, physical Brighton team who don’t lose too many games at home. A more relaxed fixture list in the coming weeks should give some of our injured players a chance to recover and having a full strength squad heading into the second half of the season would be massive.

The pressure is back on City now as they face a Wolves team who have already taken points off the champions this season so let’s hope history can repeat itself and they do us a favour on Monday night. In fact, Wolves are the gift that keeps on giving. They did us a solid (in my opinion) by knocking us out the FA cup the other night, they’ve taken points off all the top six apart from ourselves this season and if they could get a result against City tomorrow night, then we should all raise a bottle of Innis and Gunn to their efforts :-)

Anyway, another clean sheet and another three points in the bag. Onwards and Kloppwards. YNWA
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