Sunday, 1 November 2015

Player Ratings: Chelsea F.C. vs. Liverpool F.C. - 1-3



That's why we love the game of football. For all the dowdy days and indifferent results we endure as supporters, they are worth it just to experience the moments of complete and utter euphoria. Ladies and gentlemen. Without tempting fate, it very much feels like J├╝rgen Klopp has arrived in the Premier League, getting his first league win as manager in emphatic fashion. Yes, Liverpool have finally beaten a "top four" team (I hear the ironic sniggers considering Chelsea's current predicament, but you catch my drift) - a feat as rare as hen's teeth during Brendan Rodgers' tenure. A goal down at Stamford Bridge inside four minutes and you just wondered how on earth Liverpool would get themselves back into it, given the notable lack of goals and the damning statistics of picking up points once going a goal down.

Klopp works fast, though, it seems. If this result is anything to go by, the shift in mentality with this group of players appears to be seismic. The improvement, no doubt largely due to a six day break between games for a lot of the starting eleven. It also helped that most of Chelsea's starting eleven played 120 minutes midweek in the Capital One Cup away to Stoke.

Much will be made of Jose Mourinho and his current position at Chelsea. I won't speculate nor waste your time in any diatribes on the subject. Why? To put it bluntly, I don't like the man, therefore I'll choose not to speak about him. The day was simply about Liverpool. A win that defines a new era in the club's history. That's how much this victory means and, indeed, rates.

Player ratings as follows:

Simon Mignolet - 6: Apart from picking the ball up from the back of the net, it was a surprisingly quiet afternoon for the Belgium. Made a great recovery from Oscar's long range effort in the second half, after being initially caught off the line.

Nathaniel Clyne - 7: Liverpool's creative outlet in the first half, continuously marauding up and down the right hand touchline. Won several fifty-fifty challenges in the second half, too. Ever-present defensively and continues to improve in the final third. A player with a higher ceiling than most in the current squad.

Martin Skrtel - 8: His best performance in a back four formation for as long as I can remember. Commanding in defence with several important blocks. Had Diego Costa in his pocket all afternoon and had he made more of their altercation in the second half, the Spaniard would have been sent off.

Mamadou Sakho - 7: Yet another fine display from the Frenchman. His ability to read the game a real feature of his. Barely lost out in an aerial duel all afternoon and looked solid next to Martin Skrtel. A term not usually associated when the two are mentioned in the same sentence, however their partnership seems to be developing nicely under Klopp.

Alberto Moreno- 5: Not the best game from the young Spaniard, who reverted back to old habits, ball watching for Chelsea's opener. Unlike previous weeks, he also looked quite loose in possession throughout. Almost sealed the match late on with a counter attacking raid, which produced a good save from Asmir Begovic.

Emre Can - 7: A tireless effort from the German who provided able assistance to Lucas in controlling the midfield. Still needs to improve in possession but his work rate can't be questioned.

Lucas - 8: Grew into the game and dominated the midfield in imperious fashion. Had it not been for Countinho's brace, the Man of the Match honours would have been his. In the last fifteen years no other Liverpool player has continuously defied the odds as much as this man. A testament to his character. Despite the shower of plaudits, he probably should have been sent off for a second bookable offence prior to Philippe Coutinho's second goal.

James Milner (C) - 5: Despite the euphoric result, it was the skipper's worst game thus far for the club. Lost Cesar Azpilicueta for the first goal with a poor challenge and looked laboured in possession on numerous occasions. Was rightly substituted just after the hour mark.

Adam Lallana - 7:  Worked tirelessly off the ball, incessantly pressing in the attacking third. Was involved in some bright lead-up moments, none more important than the dummy for Christian Benteke's match sealing goal.

Philippe Coutinho - 8 (Man of the Match): The two goal hero. Rather sloppy in possession at times, but two superbly taken goals, which were both of the highest quality. Ended his goal drought, not to mention his previous lean run of form. A performance many would only dream of in the Premier League, particularly away from home against the reigning champions. The little maestro will hopefully kick on from here.

Roberto Firmino - 7: Despite playing in the unfamiliar role of lone striker, the Brazilian played his part, displaying some clever turns and found space where most wouldn't. Provided a clever pass to find Coutinho for the opening goal. Like his Brazilian teammate, he should garner a lot of confidence from this performance.

Substitutes:

Christian Benteke - 7: Proved to be the outlet Liverpool were crying out for up top. Took his goal like a proper goal scorer and was involved in everything positive for Liverpool in the attacking third. Going about his business in fine fashion and with very little fanfare. Brendan Rodgers' parting gift, it seems.

Jordan Ibe - N/R: A good substitution by Klopp, as the young Englishman provided an outlet on the counter. Heavily involved in the lead-up play for Benteke's goal. Preceding this, could have found himself on the score sheet with an effort which was deflected wide. Seems to have his groove back. 

Dejan Lovren - N/R: Introduced in injury time to run down the clock.


 
By Simon K.