Liverpool 2-1 Brighton | Player ratings

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Another interesting game in which we insisted on making it not quite as easy as it could of been. It wouldn't feel authentic though if we weren't all brought within touching distance of heart failure. Let's have a look at how each of our players performed and extra points for anyone who can work out why Mane went full Kung Foo Panda.

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Alisson - (6) Wasn't called into meaningful action till just after the half hour mark where he made a pretty decent save. Shortly after he made his second save of the match, again a good one and all was going pretty well, right up until with us two goals up and fifteen minutes left to play, he came out of his area, handled the ball and was shown a straight red.

Although this incident could have lead to worse than it did, I don't see it as massively reckless but more of a freak occurrence. Alisson was drawn off his line by a well played ball from Brighton that put their attacker in a favourable situation versus our defence. Alisson ended up in no man's land where you could see him rocking back and forth trying to process whether to continue outwards or return to his goal. With fractions of a second to decide he ultimately made the wrong choice which moments later saw him forced to use his hands to stop a goal bound ball aimed over his head.

In hindsight, he'd have been better returning to goal and hoping our defence managed to deal with it or that their player made a mess of things. Worst case they score and we have to see the last ten minutes out with a one goal lead which happened anyway but with Alisson picking up a one match suspension. Not the end of the world and we should't be too harsh on our normally amazing keeper.

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Alexander-Arnold - (9) With two assists and an all round excellent game it's difficult to see much more Trent could have done and indeed had he iced the cake by getting himself on the score sheet I'd have rated him a ten. Superb in both attack and defence, linked up well with our whole team and especially so his cross field counterpart. Like all our defenders it wasn't really his fault we missed out on a clean sheet either. Magic to watch and his two set piece assists were sublime.

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Lovren - (8) Often criticised, often fairly but Lovren has been playing well and I think he had a good game. Isn't as good as Matip and certainly not VVD but that doesn't mean he's terrible, they're just a level above virtually anyone else. In this match Connolly caused all our defenders a few problems, so too did Grob, as well as Montoya and their captain Dunk let two very good scoring chances go to waste. A few times I felt Lovren had gotten away with offsides by a narrow margin but the fact is they were offsides and so he got it right. Lovren also played some nice passes, a long ball or two among them, was well positioned in most instances when Brighton attacked. As far as I could tell didn't do much wrong all game and so credit where it's due.

Van Dijk - (9.5) What can you say, with two superbly taken headed goals scored in quick succession Virgil pretty much put the game to bed within the first twenty five minutes. Salmon have nothing on our colossus and for the rest of the match he was his usual cool, calm and collected self. Pretty much imperious throughout as always and if it weren't for free-kick-gate would have kept a clean sheet. A hat trick sees 10/10.

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Robertson - (8) Perhaps an eight and a half was merited for Robbo as he had a superb game. TAA with his two assists however made the one point difference. If VVD is defined as cool and calm then Robbo's core qualities have to be dogged and determined. That tenacity is not just in effort though, it translates to very effective results. He wins so many battles it's unreal and another of his major strengths is the speed in which he puts us on the front foot. Often by winning the ball around our own area and promptly whisking it the entire length of the pitch and playing it into the oppo's area with pinpoint accuracy. He did all of that the whole game versus Brighton. As in this game too, he also links up with others via speedy one touch give and goes along the way. Robbo and Trent are one heck of a pairing and it's a treat to watch them.

Oxlade-Chamberlain - (8.5) I thought Ox was stupendously good. Right from the start he was an absolute menace to Brighton, popping up all over the pitch, tracking back, winning the ball and driving it forward. If he'd managed to get on the score sheet, I'd have scored him a nine or perhaps more. There's only one reason why that didn't happen and his name is Matthew Ryan. Making four very good saves in the first half alone, Ryan was as much a menace to us as Ox was to them. Three of those saves were within the first thirty minutes and the fourth just before half time where he stopped a decent effort from...... Le Ox. This is why I feel we actually had a much better game than it may appear. The first half finished two nil but if not for Ryan's performance it could easily have been five or six. Oxlade in my view had an outstanding game. It's great to see him back in action and exciting to think of what's to come during the rest of the season.

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Henderson - (8.5) I can feel folks screaming but for me if Hendo had added either a goal or assist then he scores a nine as well. Henderson has been habitually undervalued. At times I've been guilty of this myself. However I'd invite, in fact implore any doubters to go and re-watch this match and really focus on Hendo. If not then just trust me - he was superb.

Due to Fabinho's injury Henderson was forced back into a more defensive role and boy did he play it well. Not only did he cut out danger, time and time again and do so in every conceivable way from intelligent positioning to tackles and interceptions but his passing game is right up there with the best. Don't believe me? go and watch it again! Yes he plays sideways and backwards at times - recycling the ball is important so let's not berate him for doing so but he also plays balls forward, ranging from extremely deft through balls to long range hollywoods. I saw in just the first half at least two times he started an attack with the sort of through balls Coutinho used to be lauded for - curled around opposing players and into narrow channels with zero margin for error.

Henderson started many attacks through the entire match, added to all his defensive work, that was a captain's performance and Henderson should get full credit for it, not just in this match but the fact he does this stuff game in game out. A brilliant player and no coincidence that 13/14, 18/19 and now 19/20 he's been pivotal in putting us on the cusp of league titles.

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Wijnaldum - (7) Bloody awful. Just kidding. What I observed with Gini is that he does indeed do the much touted dirty work and it's all too easy for that to go unnoticed. Nevertheless it's vitally important to our overall team performance. He shares many of Henderson's good qualities and overlaps in the things he does during a match. Against Brighton he performed lots of good defensive work, breaking up play and helping us get attacks under way but I'd like to see just that little bit more from him. Even if he could add a few keeper troubling shots of a match that would do it. An assist or two wouldn't go amiss either. Overall he's consistently very good and we know he can be great. That's what we need to see happen more often.

Mane and Mo - (7.5) Rating as a pair due to much the same to say about both. May surprise some again but the way I saw things was they were pretty good. Salah, as well as Mane tended to stay wide more often than they normally do. There was less cutting inside but rather Ox became the main central point of attack with Mane and Salah feeding him. This was obviously intentional and as such we shouldn't down-rate on that basis. In actual fact both players were very unselfish and I believe Jurgen will have been pleased to see them doing their best to set Oxlade up. If it wasn't for Brighton's pesky keeper the tactic would have worked a treat.

Salah is oft criticised for poor ball control and passing but in this game, I thought he did really well at both. Mane the same and I couldn't help but marvel at how in the first half Sadio managed to defy the laws of gravity by using his Samson like strength to win a challenge, versus a fully planted Brighton player while he himself was off balance, near enough to the point which would qualify someone as having fallen over. Somehow that ended with Sadio triumphant and off on a very promising attack. When all is said and done however you expect both Mane and Mo to either score or create so on that basis they score just the seven and a half ratings.

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Firmino - (7.5) Bobby played okay I felt and for all the reasons we've come to love - like The Ox he was full of endeavour and his harrying of the opposition will have been a nightmare for them to contend with. He seems to be physically in fifteen different places on the pitch all at the same time and regualry wins the ball in all of them. This match was no exception and additionally two good efforts on target in the first half forced two good saves from that man Matty Ryan again. Had either or both gone in then Bobby scores higher and we win the game comfortably.

Subs

Lallana - (7.5) Came on for Salah with twenty minutes to go and we immediately changed to a more defensive shape, clearly with a view to seeing the game out with what was at the time a two goal lead. Unfortunately that wasn't to last but not down to anything Adam did wrong. What he did was largely right in that he brought new energy and used it to nip at the heels of Brighton players up and down the pitch. Didn't do anything spectacular and I was going to rate him a seven but at the end of the day he did the job he was brought on to do and that must be worthy of credit.

Origi - (7) Could also have ranked Origi and Lallana as a pair as coming on for Firmino not long after and still with our two goal lead, I assume he too was tasked with helping us see the game out. Accordingly he made a nuisance of himself chasing the ball down in and around Brighton's area. For me though he did, as noted by DaBandit on our match thread, look a touch on the lackadaisical side. Especially so when play was at our own end. That may be a false impression, I'm not sure but I've knocked off half a point versus Lallana because of it.

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Adrian - (6.5) Being unexpectedly thrust into action for the last ten minutes after Alisson's freak red card, Adrian could perhaps be cut some slack for not being fully in charge of his faculties. Whether or not that contributed to Brighton scoring a free kick moments later I'm not really sure. Having watched the incident multiple times, I feel at least one Liverpool player probably should have been more alert to the developing disaster and perhaps done something to stop it. Who that player should have been and what they should have done, I've absolutely no idea. My overall conclusion on that incident is the referee is a banker.

Afterwards Adrian did okay and thankfully we saw out the game as winners with him making two saves to help. Admittedly on the second one he decided to kid us by pretending to drop it before showing off with a third mini-save to regather it. Liverpool goal keepers hey, you've gotta love 'em.


Klopp - (8.5) Jurgen can't be held responsible for Alisson's red card incident, the goal we concede shortly after it, or the amazing performance from Brighton's keeper that prevented us dishing out a shellacking. As such in my view he got pretty much everything alrite on the night and I was tempted to score him a nine but purely because I'm perplexed by him not fielding either Keita or Shaq, even as subs, rightly or wrongly I've scored him just the eight and a half.

Overall we put in a decent performance which for one reason or another didn't end up being fully reflected in the final scoreline. We should still be very happy with how we performed but then again Brighton at home won't exactly be our sternest test of the season. Who cares though, we got all three points, deservedly and we're gonna win the dog damn league.

Will Alisson's one match suspension effect us much - against Everton at home it shouldn't do. Of more concern is Fabinho's injury which seems to be one that'll keep him out for a few weeks. On a counter positive note we have Keita and Shaq back on the bench, a sharp looking Ox, a superb Capitano Hendonism who once again proved he can play the DM role very nicely, and a massive great lead at the top of the table. City dropped more points, whereas we just keep knocking it out the park - points wise, if not always in performance, which we know can still improve. How frightening is that for the rest of world football. Everton up next and even without Alisson my hunch is, 4-0.

YNWA

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