The Realism Menace - A Keepin it Realism Story

Klopp-celebrates-in-front-of-the-Kop
Alisson (6.5) - Made one nice save, but as per usual played a couple of balls that probably made Jock almost choke while attempting to eat a brownie. Lost a half point for trying to choke a resident TLBN writer. Very little to do tonight other then stand in one spot and grow his very manly beard.

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TAA (7) - Seemed to be a little off the pace early on defensively, but settled down as the game went on. Brilliant ball to play Salah in on the 3rd goal. Giving Robertson a run for his money in the fullback assist race, as he now has 10 EPL assists to go with his 2 in the CL.

Lovren (6.5) - Was ok I thought and given his long layoff it’s probably the best we can expect as he gets back up to game speed. Got caught on a play in the second half which nearly setup a Huddersfield goal. At the moment I feel more assured with Matip partnering VVD, but there is nothing wrong with having one of the best defenders in the world ready to go on the bench.

VVD (7.5) - Heart in throat moment when he went down following a stomp on his foot. It wasn’t his best game but he didn’t really need to be at his best tonight. Still an ever calming presence at the back that has to be at 100% if we have any hope of beating Barca. Easily our most important and influential player this season and he'll need to be at his best when we win the double.
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Robertson (8) - Great defensively as always and two more assists for the best damn LB in the EPL world (13 EPL & 2 CL). His over lapping runs of Mane cause havoc game in and game out, but it's his ability to recover defensively from high up the pitch which makes him truly special. Very rarely gets caught out of position, great footballing IQ and unbelievable engine on this kid. (HAPPY JOCK? I'm thinking I praised him enough even for your liking)

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Keita (8.5) - Great anticipation and press which lead to the first goal, and much better in ball retention today, but would still like to see his passing become sharper. Excellent back tracking on more then one occasion, definitely starting to settle and look the player we paid all that money for. Still a little worried about his stature and whether it can hold up in the EPL but that’s a discussion for another day, today we should just salute his MOTM performance.

Hendo (7.5) - Did a nice job in retaining possession, picked up another assist and did a lot of the dare I say dirty work in midfield. Should have done better when he blasted a ball over the net, but all in all a good solid performance from our captain. I'm pretty sure he would have gotten MOTM if he had scored that goal and if Timp came through with the $20 he promised me, but alas neither happened.

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Dirty (7) - Get the Tide, Woolite, Wisk and Snuggle out, because as per usual Gini was dirty. Did a nice job retaining the ball and brings calmness and fluidity to the team. Not one of his best performances but he wasn’t needed to do anything more then what he did.

Salah (7.5) - I just can’t get passed the fact that his touches are horrible this year, and he’s just too greedy with the ball when he has options to play a simple ball to a teammate, it’s becoming way too common with Mo. 1/2 point off for a few greedy moments, but maybe I’m being a bit too harsh. On the bright side he was involved a ton today and he had a spring in his step, terrorized the defenders all game, scored twice and came very close to scoring what would have been a possible goal of the season candidate. Perhaps a weekly flight to New York is just what Mo needs to rediscover his form from last year.

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Sturridge (6) - well he’s alive and didn’t hurt himself. Probably the last time we see him in Red at Anfield, best of luck to him and YNWA. Biggest contribution from him today was not getting a hat trick which saved many people in the Toronto Canada area from becoming permanently blind.

Mane (8) - Well taken goals and full of energy down the left side. He must be a nightmare for defenders especially with Robertson barrelling down the wings overlapping him. Should have played Salah in on a little 2 on 1 break near the end of the 1st half. Was very unlucky not to get a hat trick of headed goals. Overall another what is becoming a typical performance from Mane, strong, direct and always looking dangerous. He’s really elevated his game over the last few months and long may it last.

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SUBS

The OX (7) - I almost jumped through the roof with joy when he just about scored after a brilliant little sequence that he started. Great to see him back and he looked quite good in his limited time, it was also encouraging to see him get stuck into a tackle without any sign of pulling out of it. Lets hope he can put his injury history behind him and get back to the form we saw from him last year.

Shaq (7) - Yup, there was a Shaqiri sighting today and much like the OX, I thought he looked good in his limited time. Should have had an assist on Mane's missed header and generally looked bright.

Gomez (N/A) - More minutes.

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Klopp (8) - Hard to argue with his lineup decisions or tactics even if the opponent was only Huddersfield. Job done and some key player got a little rest before the Barca game. Best after game fist pumps in the business always earn him 1 extra point, no Jay not that type of fist pump. :-)

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