Manchester City 3 – 2 Liverpool – League Cup Player Ratings
Caoimhin Kelleher – 7.0
The cup keeper was a certain starter for this game, but he was given so little protection in the opening half and could do nothing for the first goal. Made some smart stops after that to keep the reds alive until the break. The Riyad Mahrez goal was unstoppable, as the second half started like a train. Despite his good play, his kicking was sometimes erratic, but his goal tending was good. The Ake goal was again nothing he could stop, with his defenders unable to offer the required protection.
James Milner – 4.0
Having played so well the last time out against City, Milly was an understandable starter. He struggled from the opening bell, and was left chasing blue shirts endlessly. Often caught too high, and he gets a slightly higher rating due to a nice assist for Carvalho. Came off early with an injury.
Subbed – 37 mins
Andy Robertson – 5.0
Straight in after a full Dubai training period, and was harassed endlessly deep in his defensive third. Effort and work rate aside, he struggled to impact that first half. Caught flat footed for the Riyad Mahrez goal, but it was a brilliant piece of skill.
Joel Matip – 5.0
The senior defender was always a guaranteed starter upon our return, but he was unable to organize a shell-shocked backline. A good run and pass to help create Fabio’s goal was his only good first half contribution. Wasn’t able to improve after the break, with affairs evening up as the midfield got better (and more experienced).
Joe Gomez – 3.0
Deputising for Virgil as LCB, though looked completely out of sorts. Aerially he looked lacking, positionally he looked confused and there was a huge lack of aggression in his defending. Looked far happier at fullback, and the Milner injury probably saved him from a half time hook. A solid enough second half, though a horrible first half for Joe can’t be ignored. He’s no longer a 2022 centre back for Liverpool.
Thiago Alcantara – 7.0
A joy to see this man at LCM and once he started to get in the ball, the reds actually managed to settle. Some sublime one touch play and quick passing allowed the pressure to cease briefly, and he was the calm amongst the Liverpool chaos. A misstep for the Riyad Mahrez aside, he was the best midfielder on show through the second half, with his alternative being brought in the replace him solely to protect his Boxing Day availability.
Stefan Bajcetic – 3.0
A reward for some fine moments lately, though looked overwhelmed by a destructive City pressing machine. Couldn’t get into the pace of the game, looking both frustrated and inexperienced in the first half. Had to be withdrawn at the break.
Subbed – 45 mins
Harvey Elliott – 4.0
A regular starter now, Harvey was given that RCM slot for this cup occasion. He was lively but surrounded too often. Caught far too high at times, and this winger really doesn’t look like a CM in certain situations. Continued to struggle into the second half before being withdrawn.
Subbed – 56 mins
Mohamed Salah – 6.0
Straight back into the side, with an urgency to regain his scoring touch. That didn’t come about, as he was largely peripheral in the first half. The second half was an end to battle, and his goal was the end result of a striking counter attack.
Fabio Carvalho – 5.0
The left forward and perhaps a good moment to see how he performed with Darwin ahead of him. The goal was bright and crisp, but everything else was sorely lacking. So lightweight and outmuscled at times, and City knew they could hound him in possession. Rightly taken off at half time.
Subbed – 45 mins
Darwin Nunez – 6.0
The Uruguay striker is so important to this side, and to see him through middle was a great sight when the line ups came out. Some really good first half chances were snatched at and wasted. His physicality was evident, but the first half showed he is still too rash in key moments. The assist for Mo’s goal was all about that physicality, as he strode forward with destructive intent. Had to score on 71 minutes, with indecision being his enemy tonight. Great movement and encouraging signs regardless.
Nat Phillips – 6.0 (on 37)
Came on to add some aerial stability (when Milner got injured), with KDB firing in missiles. Did his best
Alex Oxlade Chamberlain – 6.0 (on 45)
Came in to add some physicality, and showed that with the reds second goal to hold off the challenge and set Darwin free. Tried to make things happen and showed some good offensive moments.
Fabinho – 6.0 (on 45)
Ushered in to help a struggling backline, and at least allowed a better screen to a fragile defence. Showed some needle that was lacking.
Jordan Henderson – 5.0 (on 56)
Came in cold and was at fault in failing to close the short corner for Ake’s goal, but was neat enough on the ball as the reds fought to get back into the game.
Naby Keita – 6.0 (on 69)
The Thiago alternative is back. Was assured on the ball as he tried to progress the play late on.
Jurgen Klopp – 6.0
Went with pretty much the team that was expected, with a clear eye on getting his starting pieces ready for Boxing Day.
The first half should have seen City many goals ahead, and the manager made the changes that added more experience to an overwhelmed Liverpool side.
Difficult to critique Klopp, as he clearly tried to force his way back into the game, and he couldn’t do too much with the lapses of concentration and poor defending. Ibou & Virgil can’t come back soon enough.
Manchester City 3 – 2 Liverpool