Liverpool took on Stoke City in their opening game of the 2015/16 season, 77 days after the 6-1 drubbing in the same fixture in the previous season. A game of very few chances and notable moments, until a piece of magic from Coutinho, something the Liverpool fans will soon start to take for granted.
Liverpool FC Player Ratings
Mignolet – Did what he had to do. A day any keeper would love. Had one good save to turn the ball away, otherwise kept more active by his own defence (Read Skrtel). 6/10
Clyne – Troubled by Afellay initially, but stuck to the task and overall was a steady debut. 6/10
Skrtel – Another day, same performance. Great in cleaning up while retreating, a cynical foul on Diouf when closing down the man and couple of heart attack inducing back passes to Mignolet. 5/10
Lovren – Mostly good, one or two poor positioning errors, including moving out of position to close down Diouf when Skrtel was already marking him. Better than the expected level of performance on a personal note. 6/10
Gomez – Solid marking and good pace off the blocks. As the game wore on, struggled to stick to Walters as Walter used all his experience against the 16 year old. This debut will help in calming the nerves and helping him in the days ahead. 6/10
Henderson – The new captain adopted the role of the outgoing captain, sitting at the base of the midfield and trying to control the game from there. One could argue that it took out few of his strengths but provided the usual industrious performance. Could do well to trust his shooting a bit more. 6/10
Milner – Another ‘James Milner’ performance, huge industry, couple of decent chances created. An early yellow card prevented him from going in hard on tackles though. Overall, a solid debut. 6/10
Coutinho – A typically slow start, as we have come to expect from the Brazilian magician, couple of intelligent set piece routines, but often gave the ball away in trying to create something. Highlight till the 80th minute was sending the ball back to Liverpool on its own or even into orbit!
Then THAT HAPPENED. The actual highlight reel. The goal which once again proved he was indeed the magician. 7/10 – Man of the Match
Lallana (62′) – Did not understand his role in the game today. Stuck to infuriating fans by taking more touches than necessary. Substituted in the 62nd minute. 4/10
Ibe (78′) – A typical Ibe performance. Lots of direct runs troubling the opposition full back, but with literally no end product. Ibe needs to add a bit more variety into his game. Maybe getting narrow, with Clyne overlapping would be helpful. 6/10
Benteke – A typical 4-2-3-1 Brendan Rodgers performance meant that Benteke was often not involved in the attacking phase. A performance and setup which more or less reminded me of Balotelli last season. Benteke had 44 touches in the game, but only 5 touches in the box. More good days ahead for the striker hopefully. 5/10
Can (62′) – Few neat passes. Was most often seen indicating to his team mates to raise the tempo of the game. N/A
Firmino (78′) – Most awaited debut for the Liverpool fan base. More minutes would be needed to even rate the latest Brazilian. N/A