Player ratings: Liverpool 2-0 Wolves

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The curtain falls on another Premier League season then and our wait for that elusive league title enters its 30th year. This season has been a campaign like no other however. We’ve set a record points tally for the club and only lost one game all season yet amazingly, it still wasn’t enough. We took City to the final day of the season however and it’s great testament to the players, that even after the superhuman effort of overcoming Barca midweek, we still produced a win on our final day, over a very good Wolves side. Let’s see how our record breakers fared on their final Premier League outing of the season.

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Alisson (8.5) - Alisson has really excelled in recent weeks. A string of top saves kept us in the Champions League midweek and once again, he was a match for anything Wolves threw at him. He’s lauded for his distribution skills and rightly so but his basic goalkeeping is absolutely rock solid. His handling is superb and like all elite sports people, he makes the extremely difficult look effortless and his impact on this team cannot be understated. Deservedly won the golden gloves in his first season. More of the same on the 1st June please.

TAA (8.5) - What a player this kid is turning into. Another two assists yesterday, which set a new record of assists for a defender in the Premier League. Imagine holding a record like that and being about to take part in your second Champions League final at the tender age of twenty years old. It really is incredible, much like his delivery. The only weakness now in his game is his defensive solidity and again, it reared its head yesterday as he was caught out of position a few times, as Wolves  had some joy down our right hand side throughout the game. That will definitely improve however and I think there’s a certain Scotsman on his opposite flank who will be able to give him some advice on that if he asks nicely. He’ll have to ask nicely though, seeing as he managed to wrestle the title of assist king from Robbo’s grasp on the final day.

Matip (8) - Another superb display from Matip. He can take it as a compliment that I frequently confuse him and Van Dijk when they’re on the pitch now. I think that’s more than just in performance levels though, Matip has actually started to move like Van Dijk. When backing off from a dribbling attacker now, I’ve noticed the way he moves and his body shape are exactly the same as Van Dijk’s and I would be amazed if it’s something they’ve not been working on together. I love that though, a player who’s ego doesn’t get in the way of his development. There’s a reason why Van Dijk hasn’t been dribbled past all season and it looks like Matip has taken on board some advice. Looks an absolutely top drawer centre half now and has arguably been performing at a higher level than Virgil in the last few games.

Van Dijk (7.5) - Virgil hasn’t quite been at his imperious best the last few games, he even lost an aerial duel with Jiminez yesterday, although he’s still producing what would be an excellent display for any regular centre half. He looks like he’s carrying a couple of knocks to me. He’s been reported to have been carrying a foot injury for a number of games and his rib injury earlier in the season. It’s been a long, bruising season for Van Dijk though, as he’s been pretty much ever present. Deservedly won Premier League player of the year, nobody else has come close to matching his consistent brand of excellence this season. Comfortably the world’s best centre back.

Robertson (8) - I think everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief when it became apparent the injury that forced Robbo off against Barca was nothing serious. Marauded tirelessly again until being subbed late on and stung the keeper's palms with a fiercely struck shot. That’s the third time in the last two games he’s done that, forcing a good save from the keeper every time I might add. I wonder if he’s banging then in in training and has been told to try it more on the pitch. Certainly seems that way and I’ve seen him score a couple of good goals for Scotland in the past. My god, can you imagine if he adds goals to his game as well? He’s so important to this team and how we play, unbelievable to think our two fullback - the most devastating two fullbacks in Europe, were acquired for a combined total of £8 million. Compared to the £100 million City shelled out for Walker and Mendy, neither of whom are fit to lace Trent or Robbo’s boots.

Fabinho (7.5) - Fabinho is improving game by game at the moment and turning into a real midfield general for us. Broke up Wolves attacking play countless times and gives us another solid aerial presence in the box. Looking forward to seeing how he develops next year, having had a full season under his belt.

Henderson (7.5) - Another good display from Hendo as he continues to relish his new (old) role in the team. Leads the press really well and doesn’t allow the tempo of our game to drop. Hendo’s really stepped up in recent weeks. Moving forward, I expect we’ll see a lot more of him in a more advanced role. Deserves to lift the the Champions League trophy, really does leave everything on the pitch.

Wijnaldum (7) - Got himself good and dirty in the first half but faded as the game wore on. Swarmed all over Wolves in the opening stages however, denying them the opportunity to get a foothold in the game as we totally dominated the early parts of the game. I’ll be surprised if Gini doesn’t start in the final.

Salah (6) - I actually think I’m being quite generous here. Salah’s selfishness is becoming a problem for me. Every time he gets the ball now, he only looks to shoot or dribble himself, regardless of how well his team mates might be placed. Granted, all goalscorers have a selfish streak but Salah’s is getting out of control and I fear his ego has grown at the same rate as his reputation over the last 12 months. You only get away with never passing when you’re banging in the goals but the last quarter of the season, his record has been poor at which point you need to offer something else for the team and he isn’t right now, just relentlessly losing possession by taking on unlikely shots and dribbles. This needs to change for me or I fear it will lead to fallouts in the dressing room.

Origi (6.5) - Amazing what a bit of confidence can do and Origi is clearly a confidence player. Started like a house on fire with some tricks and nice shots. Faded as the game wore on however and struggled to make an impact. Subbed around the hour mark as we changed formation and went with Mane and Salah up top. Origi has had some big moments at important times for us this season though and his impact should not be understated. Worthy squad player, worth keeping around for me.

Mane (9) - Mane has been simply sensational the second half of this season and I’m delighted he popped up with two goals in the final day for a share of the golden boot. I bet Salah was raging, especially when he found out Mane’s second was offside but Mane deserves it. He’s been nothing short of talismanic these past few months. It’s not just the volume of goals he scores but the importance as well. Scores the all important opener more frequently than any other player in our team and our final game of the season was no different. Scored two goals and was a general nightmare for the Wolves defence all game. Man of the match for me.

Subs:

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Milner (6) - Brought on to help control the latter stages of the game, in a four man midfield and duly obliged.

Gomez (N/A) - Needs a season uninterrupted by major injury next season or I fear for his future.

Ox (N/A) - Good to see him back.

Klopp-watch (9) - Fair play to Klopp for the mentality he’s instilled in these boys. I fully expected us to beat a very good Wolves team and we did, without really getting out of third gear. Nobody deserves that Champions League trophy more than Jurgen. Get that ‘hasn’t won anything’ tag off his back. Has overseen unbelievable progress this season. Only complaint from the Wolves game was I thought he should have had Robbo off quicker, given the injury sustained against Barca.

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Summary:

Mixed feelings then, bitter disappointment and a bit depressing to have yet another of those unwanted records - Highest points tally of any runner up... Great.

On the flip side, I feel immense pride at how our boys have performed throughout the season and the show of support and defiance from the stands in the final day, despite narrowly missing out on the league, was exactly what the team deserved. The points tally they’ve made up from last season is absolutely incredible and back to back Champions League finals is some achievement, especially while maintaining such standards in the league.

A number of players have taken their game up a level this season as well. Trent, Gomez, Matip, Mane to name a few, have all gone to another level and there’s a feeling there’s more to come from a number of the players, which must be a terrifying prospect for our opponents.

On to Madrid then for our second successive Champions League final and we simply have to win it. Not only do we deserve it for the season we’ve had but more importantly, since Jürgen has arrived we’ve lost the final of the League Cup, Europa League, Champions League and now missed out on the league title by a single point on the final day, despite playing an almost perfect season. These boys need that trophy before it becomes a serious mental issue for them. You can’t keep repeatedly just missing out without it starting to affect your belief. Winning it on the other hand will fill the team with confidence and belief and be just the shot in the arm needed to fuel the hunger even more for the league next season.  So please, lads, in the name of all that is holy, give Spurs a damn good spanking and bring number six back to Merseyside.

Anyway, I’ll finish by saying watching our fans, owners, players and their families after the game on Sunday made me proud to be a Liverpool fan. It truly is a special club. On to Madrid, Allez!
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