Monday, 23 February 2015

Player Ratings - Southampton vs. Liverpool: 0-2


The juggernaut continues. This time with one of the best wins of the season, away to Southampton. It was a complete and utter grind and a victory not too dissimilar to the corresponding fixture last season. The officials were kind on the whole, however, as they say; these things tend to even themselves out. It’s the first time since the mid 1980s under Joe Fagan, that Liverpool has kept five consecutive clean sheets away from home in the league. Some feat, considering the defensive issues at the beginning of the season. My Liverpool FC player ratings as follows:

Simon Mignolet - 8: A shadow of his former self and for all the right reasons. Made a crucial save moments after Philippe Coutinho’s opener. Depending on which set of fans you ask, he was perhaps lucky to stay on the pitch after appearing to handle the ball outside the area. The treacherous weather conditions may have forced the officials to give the Belgium benefit of the doubt. Looking like a totally new goalkeeper.

Dejan Lovren - 6: An inclusion due to Mamadou Sakho’s injury, Lovren had an up and down afternoon in his role as the pantomime villain amongst the Southampton faithful. Was caught ball watching preceding Mignolet’s alleged hand ball incident and could’ve conceded a penalty moments after for a hand ball of his own. Like Skrtel, made several timely interventions and looked solid enough for the most part. Will draw confidence from being a part of a back three which achieved a clean sheet.

Martin Skrtel - 8: Man of the Match. His name wasn’t called much throughout the broadcast, but to me that typifies a good centre half. He made several crucial interceptions and was a towering aerial presence. Graziano Pelle barely had a sniff all day. It was perhaps Skrtel’s best performance of the season. Commanding.

Emre Can - 7: Back to his assured self with an unyielding display. The precocious German demonstrated his silky skills both in attack and defence. His organisational skills are yet another string to his bow. No doubt a future leader.

Jordan Ibe - 7: Did a lot of defensive work due to Southampton dominating possession throughout. Made several mazy runs, but it was another facet of Ibe’s game that impressed and that was his capabilities behind the ball.

Lazar Markovic - 5: Played out of position and it showed. Nathaniel Clyne had the better of him throughout the first half. Has competition to keep his place in the starting XI with Ibe’s rise, however will be utilised with games coming thick and fast over the next month. Was rightly substituted at half time.

Jordan Henderson - 7: Marshalled his troops well in a key area of the pitch which inevitably went a long way to decide the match. Along with Joe Allen, he provided fantastic protection to the back three.   

Joe Allen - 8: Arguably his best game in Liverpool shirt since the early stages of his career at Anfield. Tracked back brilliantly and although gave away a cast iron penalty in the first half, from there he didn’t miss a beat. His presence is crucial in Lucas’ absence. His partnership in midfield with Jordan Henderson continues to blossom.

Adam Lallana - 6:  Again, not really his night. In a game where Liverpool’s chances in the attacking third were scarce, the former Southampton man spent most of his time behind the ball. Crucial that he remains injury free for the run in.  

Philippe Coutinho - 8: A goal of world class proportions and one which he most likely won’t better for the remainder of his Liverpool career. Like Lallana, he suffered somewhat, however was dogged in closing down space off the ball.

Raheem Sterling- 7: His first start after returning from injury and one where he put in a shift. Not much fell for the young Englishmen but when it did, he took it with aplomb. A well taken goal on his return to the starting XI.

Substitutes:

Alberto Moreno - 6: Shored things up on the left hand side in the second half. Was involved in the lead up play to Liverpool’s second in what can be described as a solid display from the little Spaniard. As it stands, the left wing back position should be his own.

Daniel Sturridge - 6: Came on and caused the Southampton defence enough problems to carve out several chances. Unlucky not to score. With the number of games in such a short space of time, squad management kept him from starting the match

Glen Johnson – N/R: A substitution with squad management in mind, Johnson did what was required. Injuries permitting, this will most likely be Johnson’s levels of contribution for remainder of the season.

 
By Simon K.