Leicester City 2 Liverpool 3: Player Ratings

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The Reds returned to winning ways on Saturday with victory over Leicester City in a hugely entertaining game, with a crucial Simon Mignolet penalty save proving to be the difference between the two sides.

Liverpool, who were keen to gain revenge on the side who had knocked them out of the Carabao Cups days prior, started the game brightly and opened the scoring through a Mohamed Salah header in the 15th minute following a delightful cross from Phil Coutinho.

Coutinho continued to show he was back to his best by scoring a wonderful free-kick moments later, although the lead was halved after Shinji Okazaki bundled in a controversial goal just before half time.

This seemed to change the dynamic of the game considerably and the second half was a much more nervy affair. Liverpool did regain a two goal lead through Jordan Henderson on the counter-attack, but Jamie Vardy replied instantly with a header into an empty net.

Things almost got even worse for the Reds when Mignolet gave away a penalty for a collision with Vardy in the box, yet the Belgian continued his phenomenal penalty saving record to deny the Englishman and made sure that all three points headed back to Merseyside.

It was certainly an anxious last few minutes, but both Klopp and the fans will be pleased to gain a very timely win before the long journey to Moscow on Tuesday.

Simon Mignolet: 7 (out of 10)

If there was one game to sum up Simon Mignolet’s stint at Liverpool, it would be this one. He pulled off a few excellent saves in the first half, but was guilty of giving away possession unnecessarily and was lucky that Leicester didn’t capitalise on his mistakes.

He was admittedly fouled by Shinji Okazaki in the build-up to Leicester’s opener but he arguably should have still been stronger against the much smaller striker.

The Belgian can’t have had many complaints about the penalty as he barely got any of the ball, but he pulled off an outstanding save to prevent Vardy from getting his second from the spot. Mignolet had clearly done his homework as he stayed firm down the middle — saving just under half of his penalties since his arrival at the club is extremely impressive and you would be hard pressed to find another goalkeeper better at saving them than him.

He still fails to fill you with complete confidence and he definitely had some shaky moments but there is no denying exactly how big that save could prove to be.

Joe Gomez: 5.5

This was a rather disappointing performance from Gomez, who didn’t offer much going forwards and was frequently caught out by Albrighton.

He looked uncharacteristically nervous and even though he did put in the occasional good block or interception, he was caught out of position more than once and was guilty of poor marking for Vardy’s goal.

It would be preferable to see him gain more experience in his natural position at the centre of defence as not only does he struggle going forwards, but his crossing seems too aimless to succeed as a full-back in Klopp’s system.

Joel Matip: 6

This was generally a composed display from Matip and he was undeservedly booked after Vardy flung himself into his leg to dive and win the foul.

He did tend to look flustered at times, which seemed to be a trend amongst the back four yesterday, while for a man of his size and stature, he can seem rather weak.

He seems to be the only one assured of his place in the back line at this point and it would be nice to see what he looks like alongside a competent centre-back partner.

Dejan Lovren: 5

Lovren played horribly in the first 10 minutes and failed to calm any early nerves by needlessly shanking the ball out of play under no pressure and playing some really poor balls out from the back.

He did win a few headers and grew into the game somewhat as it went along but he is still far off the quality of what we should expect at Liverpool.

Alberto Moreno: 6.5

Moreno continued his improved form with a solid performance here, offering a nice outlet down the left-hand side, while he certainly embraced linking up with Coutinho again — cleverly winning the free-kick that the Brazilian converted.

He did struggle more after the introduction of Demarai Gray and continues to look susceptible defensively but he is more than deserving of his place in the starting eleven at this point.

Jordan Henderson: 8

The skipper has rightly been criticised for subpar displays so far this season but he finally put in a performance expected from a Liverpool captain yesterday.

He was quick to clean up any loose balls and even won his fair share of tackles in the midfield, with Henderson seeming to possess more grit and determination than he has as of late.

He did very well to find the space and calmly slot his shot past Schmeichel for the third goal, scoring his first goal in over a year. He needs to keep this level of performance up if he wants to be assured of his place in the team.

Emre Can: 6.5

Considering what we know he’s capable of, this was yet another underwhelming game from Can, who should have done much better with some of the chances he was presented with.

However, his energy was very good in the opening ten minutes and he was extremely unlucky to have his shot rebound off the post.

He did work hard and is instrumental to the team’s tempo but after how good he was against Hoffenheim and Arsenal, it’s not unreasonable to expect more.

Gini Wijnaldum: 5.5

The bizarre trend of Gini being anonymous continued against Leicester as he put in yet another average, uninfluential display.

On the rare occasions when he was on the ball, he lost out on challenges and generally seemed weak in the midfield, especially when trying to contain the significantly stronger Ndidi.

He should have at least tested the keeper when given the ball by Oxlade-Chamberlain late on and he needs to figure out what he can do to control games away from home and not purely at Anfield.

Mohamed Salah: 7.5

Just when you get frustrated at Salah inevitably missing a sitter, he somehow always manages to get himself on the score sheet — it was no different against Leicester.

He missed an open net from about five yards out after Can’s shot cannoned off the post in front of him but while we were still all begrudging the miss, he converted a well-placed header moments later to open the scoring.

He was also a constant challenge for young Ben Chilwell all game, while the control he possesses from long balls is often a sight to behold.

If Salah gets criticised for his shooting but still has 6 goals in 9 games for the Reds, there’s no telling how many goals he’s capable of scoring this season.

Roberto Firmino: 5

Firmino was rarely involved against the Foxes and he failed to have much influence on the overall team performance.

He worked hard and tracked back in typical Firmino fashion, but his shooting was wayward and he dragged a number of shots over the bar which he really should have done better with.

His value to this Liverpool side cannot be understated, although it is imperative he gets back to his best as soon as possible.

Phil Coutinho: 8.5 (Man of the Match)

If there was still any doubt that Coutinho wasn’t back to his best yet, the Little Magician dispelled that doubt with a fantastic display at the King Power.

Not only did he whip in an inch-perfect cross for Salah for the first goal, but the technique and precision he has to score the free-kick is remarkable.

His dribbling was outstanding, while he created a handful of chances and showed he can be the difference maker for Liverpool.

Fans will be salivating about the prospect of him linking up with Mane, Firmino and Salah and if he continues this vein of form, the antics over the summer will soon be forgotten.

Substitutes:

Daniel Sturridge: 7.5

This was a very positive cameo from Sturridge and his hold-up play and positioning to get the assist for Henderson’s goal was fantastic.

He was unlucky not to score his 100th club goal which he seemed so determined to get and if he can retain fitness and sharpness this season, he can easily be the difference maker for Klopp.

James Milner: 6

Milner didn’t do too much when he came on yet still managed to put in a decent shift in the midfield.

He does help to shore up the midfield though and is a useful option to have in the squad.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 6.5

Oxlade-Chamberlain deservedly received a lot of stick after his abysmal performance midweek and he responded by showing some glimpses of his ability on Saturday.

He made some good passes and runs and was unlucky not to claim an assist after setting up Wijnaldum near the end of the game.

It’s hard to really gauge much from a 12 minute cameo but Oxlade-Chamberlain looked better here. He needs to do a lot to prove he was worth the £40m paid for him.

Manager:

Jurgen Klopp: 7

Klopp knew he needed a response from the team after a run of four games without a win and despite it being far from straight forward, he did manage to pick up three crucial points.

There weren’t many surprises in terms of the team selection, although it was a slight surprise to see a system that more resembled a 4-2-3-1, which managed to effectively catch Craig Shakespeare and Leicester off guard in the first half.

The manager isn’t culpable for individual defensive errors but set-piece routines still look far from convincing and this should be evaluated on the training ground. Bringing on all three substitutions earlier than usual was also a welcome surprise.

A win was a necessity today to keep up with the rest of the top six but it is clear Liverpool have a real battle on their hands this season.

 

 

 

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