Friday, 20 February 2015

Player Ratings - Liverpool vs. Beşiktaş 1-0 - Europa League First Leg



Another game, another win. This time in the group stages of the Europa League against Turkish side, Beşiktaş. An impressive defensive display from the Turkish domestic league leaders in Beşiktaş, however Liverpool FC did just about enough to deserve their victory in the first leg at Anfield. My player ratings as follows:

Simon Mignolet - 7: Not a lot to do, but his one on one save from Demba Ba may just go a long way to winning this tie. The Belgium’s concentration levels and confidence continue to rise.

Emre Can - 6: An indifferent night for the German, who at times made some rash decisions both on and off the ball. Looked far more comfortable when he shifted into the midfield.  

Martin Skrtel - 6: Made several important blocks and apart from Demba Ba’s one on one chance, dealt with the Beşiktaş frontman quite well. Will no doubt have a busier night during the second leg in Istanbul next week.

Mamadou Sakho - 7: Unflappable throughout. He found his bread and butter pass to Coutinho with ease throughout the first half and made some timely interceptions in defence, too. Any initial doubts Brendan Rodger had must surely be dispelled. A mainstay at the back.

Jordan Ibe - 8: Man of the Match: From the opening whistle, he beat his opponent with consummate ease. He’s quickly making the wing back position his own with yet another  poignant display. Won the penalty which led to the match winning goal, as his development moves at rapid pace.

Alberto Moreno - 6: Did what he needed to do defensively without being troubled. His runs down the left hand channel will continue to improve over time. His rasping 30 yard shot was the highlight of his night.

Jordan Henderson - 6: Much will be said about the penalty moment between Mario Balotelli and himself, but a part from that, Henderson kept the midfield ticking and almost scored late in the first half with a good free kick. Continues to be an important component in the midfield, however will need to improve in the final third.

Joe Allen - 6: A no-nonsense performance by the little Welshman, who fits into this system in Lucas Leiva’s absence. His performance won’t grab the headlines, but he moved the ball around nicely and along with Henderson, won the battle in midfield.

Adam Lallana - 6:  Not really his night, as the Beşiktaş defence copped extremely well in dealing with Liverpool’s front three. Squandered a golden chance to put the Reds in front. He’ll experience better nights in a Liverpool shirt.

Philippe Coutinho - 6: See above. The little Brazilian maestro failed to find a consistent pass, as a result of Beşiktaş’ defence and their incessant tactics to remain deep. Will relish the away tie where more space in behind his opponent’s defence will be available.

Daniel Sturridge - 6: Carved out a chance within three minutes, however after that, the Beşiktaş defence did a tremendous job in handling Liverpool’s main man. Not really his night, as his quest for full fitness looks just about complete.

Substitutes:

Dejan Lovren - 6: Very little to do and was untroubled when called upon. In a bid to regain his starting place, game time remains imperative for the Croatian.

Mario Balotelli - 7: His introduction changed the game, where he put himself about at will, winning free kicks and ending up with the match winning goal from the penalty spot. Much will be made of the fact he took the ball from Captain Jordan Henderson’s clutches. All told, Balotelli is Liverpool’s best penalty taker after Steven Gerrard. His penalty added further weight to the notion. Super Mario is proving to be an important piece of the puzzle, as the Reds enter a crucial part of the season.

Raheem Sterling- N/R: A late introduction to regain some match fitness before the weekend’s trip to Southampton. As always, proved a handful for the opposition with the few touches he had.

Brendan Rodgers - 7: Once again, his substitutions proved to be the right ones, as he continues to develop his management skills in the realm of European cup ties.

 
By Simon K.