Sunday, 15 February 2015

Player Ratings - Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool: 1-2

Another win, this time in the FA Cup against Crystal Palace, where we've shaken off yet another demon of the past. Where to now? The quarter finals. Every time Liverpool has reached this stage of the competition, they've gone on to compete in the final. My player ratings as follows:

Simon Mignolet - 8: Man of the Match, for mine. A performance that will be overshadowed by the fact he wasn't required to make too many saves, per se. However, the pressure from set plays was more than he's had to deal with for some time and he did it with aplomb. What a difference two months makes.

Emre Can - 6: Once again, looks like Beckenbauer carrying the ball, however, defensively, he had some indifferent moments throughout. Struggled in the air and was caught out several times in the first half. I can see him moving into the midfield in the coming weeks.

Martin Skrtel - 6: At fault for the first goal and gave away a clumsy free kick at the death. Despite his earlier error, recovered well enough to deal with Crystal Palace's long ball threat. Much improved from earlier in the season where he probably would've wilted under similar circumstances. A testament to his mentality.

Mamadou Sakho - 7: Back to his normal self after two below par performances against Spurs and Everton, respectively. Had Yannick Bolasie in his pocket for the most part and held steadfast along with his two centre half partners during Palace's set plays. Underrated by pundits. Not by the LFC faithful, though, as they chanted his name throughout.

Lazar Markovic - 6: Had plenty of the ball in the first half, but really couldn't do much with it, as Palace parked the proverbial bus. Was substituted at half time for tactical purposes.

Alberto Moreno - 6: Didn't see a lot of the ball throughout the match. Did what he needed to do. His dance moves need improving, but he has the right mentor in Daniel Sturridge to succeed on that front.

Jordan Henderson - 7: Showed good leadership throughout and kept the ball moving, particularly in the first half. His assist for Sturridge's goal was sublime. As always, worked hard off the ball and helped Liverpool keep their shape, as Crystal Palace resorted to long ball tactics.

Joe Allen - 7: Quiet first half an hour, but grew as the game wore on. His composure in the last 15 minutes will go largely unnoticed, but he kept the engine room running to a point where Crystal Palace didn't look like getting a foothold on the game.

Adam Lallana - 7:  His goal was instinctive and demonstrated exactly where his attributes lie. He has wonderful game intelligence and for a guy playing in a foreign position in the wing back role during  the second half, coped brilliantly. Once again, a tireless worker off the ball. A staple in the starting XI for mine.

Philippe Coutinho - 6: Another quiet game from the little maestro. Looks like he may be carrying a slight injury. Crystal Palace's first half tactics negated his potential threat.

Daniel Sturridge - 7: Frustrating first half where most things didn't fall for him, including a solid penalty claim. He looked far more comfortable with a strike partner and took his goal with extremely well. Coming along very nicely.


Mario Balotelli - 7: His introduction opened up space for Daniel Sturridge.
Balotelli was fantastic, though. His ability to win a free kick resulted in the second goal which he was unlucky not to score. With two solid performances in a row, Balotelli can be a crucial element of Liverpool's attacking play from here until the season's end.

Rickie Lambert - NR: Replaced Coutinho and played up top on his own. Had one chance, but other than that, his introduction was perhaps to deal with Palace's set plays.

Dejan Lovren - NR: A late inclusion on to shore up the defence and see the game through. Looks to be slowly building some confidence with a lovely pass to Balotelli late on. Can see him being reintroduced as a part of the back three in the coming weeks, with Emre Can moving into the midfield.

Brendan Rodgers - 8: Once again, a great decision to introduce Balotelli so early in the game. A facet of Brendan Rodger's management where he has received various criticism, it appears that his decision making during matches is improving, along with his team.

By Simon K.