Thursday, 29 October 2015

Player Ratings - Capital One Cup: Liverpool F.C. vs A.F.C. Bournemouth: 1-0



Relief? Jubilation? A bit of both? Yes, the Capital One Cup was the source of Liverpool’s first victory under J├╝rgen Klopp. Although against somewhat weaker opposition in Bournemouth, Liverpool themselves weren’t at full strength, either, as Klopp looked to blood several younger players such Cameron Brannagan, Connor Randall, and Joao Carlos Teixeira. Not only was it a brave decision, it also proved to be the right one.

Although the Reds struggled to break their current trend by scoring no more than one goal, the positive was at the other end of the pitch, where they managed to keep a clean sheet. Adam Bogdan once again proved an able deputy to incumbent, Simon Mignolet, with several saves, one arguably the match-winner, in many respects.

The improvement of the back four will be a welcoming sight to many Reds supporters. Although it’s very earlier days, the signs are there of a defence that is improving. This is where games will be won, and moving forward tonight was a good springboard for the club in its quest to gain three points on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.

Ratings as follows:

Adam Bogdan - 7: Provided three great saves in the first half. His first kept the Reds in the game. Made an important save late on, too, which further demonstrated his abilities to step into this team and contribute. Although Simon Mignolet is the undoubted first choice at this moment, Bogdan has proven he can do the job, should he be called upon.

Connor Randall - 6: Struggled early on, but like many of his teammates, grew into the game and took up some nice positions in the final third. More performances like this will leave little doubt in the manager’s mind that he is capable to cover for Nathaniel Clyne, should Jon Flanagan struggle to come back from his knee injury.

Kolo Toure (c) - 5: Lasted just twenty-seven minutes before being substituted with a hamstring injury. Made one crucial header from a Bournemouth set-piece.

Dejan Lovren - 6: The much maligned Croatian put in a solid display on his return from injury. Very strong in the tackle and although he was bailed out late in the game by Nathaniel Clyne, he was assured for the most part. A sound comeback.

Nathaniel Clyne – 7 (Man of the Match): Despite playing out of position at left back, Liverpool’s liveliest summer signing was superb and capped off an all-round display with his first goal for the club. Still has more room for improvement, which is an encouraging sign for the England International.  

Joe Allen - 6: An up and down night for the little Welshman. Gave away the ball on numerous occasions, however worked very hard off the ball and helped keep the shape in midfield. Looked far more comfortable with Lucas’ introduction to the game. I feel he is a Klopp type of player, but needs to be more consistently assured on the ball.

Cameron Brannagan - 6: Didn’t appear overawed by the occasion. Struggled to get into the game, but off the ball he pressed well in a midfield that functioned as a unit. Will continue to grow with more game time, most probably in the Europa League.

Joao Carlos Teixeira - 7: It’s hard to believe this was only his second appearance for the club; his first at Anfield. It's also hard to believe he's older than the likes of Emre Can. Unlucky not to score with this back-heel towards goal. Looked a threat from set-pieces, too; a quality that Liverpool have severely lacked all season. Could very well break into the first team. An interesting option for Klopp.  

Jordan Ibe- 7: Looked lively from the outset, beating his man and getting to the by line with consummate ease. Like most wingers these days, his end product needs work, but with age and talent on his side, should improve this facet of his game.

Roberto Firmino - 7: Like Ibe, was very lively, constantly finding pockets of space in the final third. Should have put the game to bed midway through the second half, but other than that, it was a good performance from the Brazilian.

Divock Origi - 6: Once again, struggled to get into the game. His lack of movement in the final third made it difficult for him. Would be more suited with a strike partner. Plenty of time to work on certain aspects of his game.

Substitutes:

Martin Skrtel - 6: Played majority of the match in Toure’s absence. Looked assured and largely untroubled alongside Lovren. 

Lucas – 6: Introduced midway through the second half to shore things up. His presence lifted the intensity in the midfield, where Liverpool overran their opposition as the game wore on.

Adam Lallana – N/R:  A late introduction in place of Firmino. Continued to press in the final third.

By Simon K.