A game of two halves if ever there was one. Good on Klopp and Liverpool that they decided there is a game to be played in the second half. On the balance of intent, one could say that Liverpool deserved to win the game. First away win for Liverpool in 2017. How important will this win be if we make Top 4?
This is how the Reds fared.
Simon Mignolet (8) – An outstanding performance from Mignolet. Was confident on any aerial balls in the box. Made 2 huge point-blank saves which were the difference between a win and loss for Liverpool. His Liverpool career started with the win against Stoke where he had a huge role to play, and this performance was no less important.
Nathaniel Clyne (7) – Started on the left side as a wing-back as Liverpool shuffled their team around. The slow tempo and build-up play meant Clyne had minimal impact. He shifted to the right-hand side in the second half and began to have a more effective impact in the game with his penetration. Defended pretty well on both sides.
Dejan Lovren (5) – A poor game for Lovren, both positionally and discipline wise. Failed to move into position and cover Walters once Matip stepped out to cover Shaqiri, and this poor decision led to their open goal. Conceded couple of fouls unnecessarily. Hit the bar at the other end.
Joel Matip (6) – Had an okay game at the centre of the back three. A sequence of mistakes meant that he had to go out of position to prevent the first goal, which did not succeed. Had minimal issues otherwise.
Ragnar Klavan (4) – Second poor game on the trot. Skinned by Shaqiri for their goal, and his lack of pace was exposed multiple times. Could have been sent off on another day. Quite clear that our defensive performance is not proportional to the number of defenders we line up with.
James Milner (5) – Started in the midfield in the re-jigged line up but was pretty invisible in the disastrous first half. Shifted back to his more common left hand side and his performance levels improved marginally. Nothing noteworthy in today’s performance
Emre Can (7) – An outstanding second half performance, as he drove the whole team forward with his intent and will to win. Made some great passes and was quick to close down and stifle the Stoke players. This is a trend seen before where Can looks a totally different player in the second half. Something to ponder about.
Giorginio Wijnaldum (6.5) – Started in the advanced midfield role again, and he was overlapping the attackers in that insipid first half. A bizarre brain fade with his back pass once again, only that this was a header. Luckily Mignolet was alert enough to save Liverpool the blushes. Attacked with intent as Liverpool surged forward in the second half.
Alexander Arnold (5.5) – The line-up seemed to indicate an advanced role for TAA, but he started as the right-sided wing back. Struggled against the directness and physicality of Arnautovic, but was equally good in offense, the only bright spot in the first half. Was subbed at half time, understandable considering the game situation.
Ben Woodburn (6) – Third youngest Liverpool player to start in Premier League and was clearly not up to speed in the first part of the first half as he was easily dispossessed. He grew into the game as time went on, getting involved in two excellent attacking moves. Had a decent shout for a penalty. Subbed at half time.
Divock Origi (5) – Not a great game for Origi as he struggled to create any impact without the Brazilians in the first half. It did not get better even after they came on. Subbed midway through second half.
Phil Coutinho (8) – Outstanding 45 minutes. His form has surely returned as he controlled the whole second half with his performance. Hopefully he is fit to start going forward. Superbly placed finish for the equalizer.
Roberto Firmino (8) – We will be still talking about the finish in May, especially if this is the goal which takes us to Top 4. Outstanding piece of skill to score the winner coupled with a well deserved yellow card.
Daniel Sturridge (7) – Impressive cameo in his first game in two months. Was bright and intent in affecting the game. Tried couple of cheeky back heels which did not come off. Occupied the right spaces in attack. Might have a role to play in the end season.