The last cup-tie we had, the player ratings piece here was different. Tonight, Sam McGuire is not on duty, and I am going to leave the novelties to him.
In truth, it was a stunning game at Anfield. The fringe players responded to Jurgen Klopp’s decision to put his faith in them by turning in a complete performance against a Spurs side who had also made similar changes for the game.
Two Daniel Sturridge goals meant that Liverpool now only have one round between them and their 17th League Cup semi-final.
Here’s how each player fared.
Simon Mignolet – 6
His passing was not a surprise. His handling was not a surprise, although he did make a couple of convincing catches. His shot-stopping was nothing new either. All in all, nothing to change Klopp’s mind that Loris Karius is our no. 1 goalkeeper.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7
The young kid showed why he is so highly rated. He was confident on the ball, made some very nice overlapping runs and was eager. The times he made mistakes was when he was over-eager and far too enthusiastic.
Lucas Leiva – 6
Up until his brain fart that led to the Spurs penalty, Lucas had not put a foot wrong. He read the game well, made crucial interceptions and tackled impressively. Also, passed the ball out really well from the back.
Ragnar Klavan – 6
With Moreno playing as full-back on his side, Klavan was always going to have to cover more space down the left. Janssen troubled him a little with his physicality, but Spurs hardly ever gave him the ball in threatening areas.
Alberto Moreno – 6
Nothing has changed. He is still sprightly going forward, but ends up with no end product. Defensively, he still leaves acres of space when he goes forward. To be fair to him, he made two or three excellent tackles to stop Spurs’ counter-attacks.
Kevin Stewart – 7.5
Against his former club, Stewart was brilliant. He shielded the back four really well, tried to get into the space Moreno left behind and his passing was very tidy. Also, very noticeably, his game intelligence is so good. A couple of touches to turn away from tight spaces were fantastic.
Ovie Ejaria – 6.5
This young kid has got a huge future ahead of him. He started off very nervously though, and barely touched the ball with any significance in the first half. But as the game wore on, he became more confident and displayed the kind of skill that got him into the starting XI in the first place.
Gini Wijnaldum – 7
The experienced pro amidst the youngsters in midfield, Wijnaldum marshalled the central area really well. He used his energy to good effect, shackling the space for Harry Winks and Tom Carroll. The timing and weight on the through-ball for Sturridge’s second goal were things of beauty.
Marko Grujic – 8
For a big man, he is uncannily balanced and quick on the ball. What stood out today was his vision and ability to execute a pass after spotting it. Very encouraging performance.
Divock Origi – 9
For quite a while after the start of the second-half, the Kop was exclusively singing his name and that was a testament to his performance. He was quick, powerful and very clever. Easily our best player on the night. Deserved a goal.
Daniel Sturridge – 8.5
For all that has been said about him, there were two classy finishes from Sturridge on the day. The first one with a striker’s typical poaching instinct and the second one all about composure after being put through by Wijnaldum. On another day, he could have scored five.
Danny Ings – 5
Ings looked sharp. He pressed high, after he came on and was a bundle of energy. But when his big chance came, he thrashed the ball, but far too close to Michel Vorm.
Nathaniel Clyne – 6
After coming on to replace Alexander-Arnold, Clyne did what we expect Clyne to do. Very steady, no mistakes and one mindless punt from long-range. This time, however, that shot did have a little more venom and was a little closer to goal than a few others he has attempted.
Emre Can – N/A
Came on for Grujic, with two minutes to play, helping us see out the lead.