Liverpool put in a convincing performance on Saturday as they dismantled defending champions Leicester City 4-1 at a refurbished Anfield.
It was another impressive attacking performance from Jurgen Klopp’s men as they pumped in four goals past Claudio Ranieri’s title-winning squad. However, it is the defensive frailties which have to be addressed if Liverpool are to mount a serious title challenge this season. TheHardTackle scores the players involved in Saturday’s entertaining game.
Simon Mignolet – 5.5
With Loris Karius back on the bench, Simon Mignolet had to deliver a performance that would convince Klopp to retain the Belgian between the posts for future matches. Even though there weren’t any glaring mistakes made by the former Sunderland man this game, the keeper was rather lucky in not conceding more goals.
He did make one or two fine saves to deny the Foxes, but was fortunate that Robert Huth’s header hit the post. The Belgian also gave a glimpse of his nervy and inconsistent self as he flapped at a long throw in the first half.
Nathaniel Clyne – 7
The right-back continued his impressive run with another solid performance. Clyne seems to have quickly struck a good understanding with Joel Matip on the right side of the defence and the England international’s contributions in attack and defence have seen him shine. The former Southampton defender wants to do it all and manages to do it more often than not as he has the engine and desire to run up and down the pitch relentlessly.
Joel Matip – 7.5
Liverpool made many signings this summer, but it is the free transfer of Joel Matip from Schalke that is starting to look like the best piece of business the Reds have done in the window. The player looked assured in possession and has been up to the task whenever called upon. Klopp just needs to find the right partner for the defender.
Lucas Leiva – 5
The strategy to deploy a defensively stout midfielder at centre-back has become the new rave in football — especially after Pep Guardiola popularised it during his spells at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. However, Lucas Leiva failed miserably in his defensive duties on Saturday. The player was at fault for Leicester’s only goal of the game and struggled to cope with his defensive duties, but did show his passing range as is expected from a midfielder.
James Milner – 6.5
The England international is another midfielder who has been used as a defender, but Milner’s experience has helped him settle into the left-back position. The former Manchester City midfielder set up Roberto Firmino beautifully for the opening goal with a right-footed cross from the left flank. The 30-year-old did not have much to do defensively and looks like a good make-shift left-back at the moment.
Jordan Henderson – 7.5
The player has been given the pivot role by Jurgen Klopp and the England international seems to revel in it, recording the most passes by any player in the English Premier League thus far on aggregate. He played a crucial part in two of the four goals and had several chances himself that he failed to convert. However, Henderson would be very happy to have another solid performance under his belt.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 6.5
Wijnaldum did record an assist, but was inconsistent during the game. The Dutch midfielder lost the ball in the second half on one occasion, almost gifting a goal to Leicester City, only for Mignolet to come to his rescue.
Adam Lallana – 7.5
What a week it has been for Lallana! The attacking midfielder has scored for both club and country within the space of a week and his performance at Anfield against Leicester highlighted his importance to the team. The former Southampton skipper ran the show in the second half and Liverpool could very well have had more than the four goals they ended up scoring.
Sadio Mane – 8
Mane did what Mane does best. He absolutely terrified the Leicester defence with his pace and dribbling and gave a good account of his abilities, notching up an assist and a goal. The Senegal international already looks like one of the best players in the squad for Klopp based on his performances since joining the Reds.
Roberto Firmino – 9
The Brazilian’s performance was close to complete, but Firmino has a much higher ceiling and this is just the tip of the iceberg. The player dazzled with his ball control and scored two goals while being the best player on the pitch.
Daniel Sturridge – 7.5
Sturridge returned to his preferred centre-forward role and showed why he is considered as one of the most dangerous forwards in the Premier League when fit. The former Chelsea forward caused havoc on the pitch with his movement and his ability to bring his teammates into play.
Kevin Stewart – 5.5
Klopp brought the youngster on with 15 minutes to play and he looked decent in his short cameo. However, he was not able to show his abilities in his role in the middle of the park with Leicester pushing for goals.
Coutinho – 6
Coutinho came on at the same time as Stewart but did more with the ball than the youngster. The Brazilian tried a trademark long-range shot but could not hit the target and was lively in the minutes he was given.
Alberto Moreno – N/A
Came on in stoppage time and had nothing to do on the pitch.
Kasper Schmeichel – 4.5
A rare bad performance from the keeper as he was often found rushing outside from his box which led to a few mistakes and ended up costing his team dearly. The keeper let in four goals past him and had a match to forget.
Robert Huth – 5.5
Robert Huth was one of the few players that showed up on the pitch. The veteran was beaten for the first Liverpool goal but came back strongly, throwing himself onto the ground and making crunching tackles and key interceptions for his team. However, he was unable to stop the Reds from putting in three more past his keeper.
Wes Morgan – 5.5
Like Huth, Morgan also did not do much wrong in the game. However, the duo did not do much right either and will have to take part of the blame for the 4-1 battering, being the central defensive unit of the team.
Christian Fuchs – 4
Unable to add to the offensive aspect of the game at Anfield, the player also failed to cope with the pressure from Mane and Clyne on his side of the wing and in general, had a terrible outing.
Danny Simpson – 4.5
The player was at fault for Liverpool’s second goal and saw his game cut short as he suffered a hamstring problem and had to come off just after the half-hour mark.
Marc Albrighton – 5
Did not have much attacking to do but did not really make any mistakes before being brought off for Leonardo Ulloa in the second half.
Daniel Amartey – 4
Tasked with the huge responsibility to counter the creative threat of Liverpool in midfield, the player appeared overwhelmed by the occasion as he was often left struggling to break up the Reds’ buildup while not adding much to the offensive side of the game.
Danny Drinkwater – 5
The Englishman was slightly more industrious than his midfield partner but failed to impress with his passing in the attacking third and was often caught off-guard with Liverpool players making a run past him, which freed up a lot of space.
Jamie Vardy – 7
Converted an easy chance for Leicester’s only goal of the game but has to do more if Leicester are to come even close to their exploits of last season.
Riyad Mahrez – 6.5
Showed glimpses of his ability but did not have as much of an impact on the game as he would like. Mahrez has been a shadow of his destructive self and really has to pull his socks up if he wants to emulate his form from last season.
Shinji Okazaki – 5
Okazaki, like always, tried his best but could not muster up much before being substituted for Ahmed Musa. It looks like it will be the Japanese forward making way for new signing Islam Slimani when Ranieri decides to start the player.
Luis Hernandez – 4
Came on for the injured Danny Simpson and was toyed with by the brilliant Roberto Firmino. The Spaniard was unable to read the Brazilian’s movement and was troubled throughout.
Ahmed Musa – 5.5
Was a bit better than the man he replaced, making a couple of threatening runs and putting in good crosses into the box. However, he did not have much of an impact on the game.
Leonardo Ulloa – 5.5
Like Musa, Ulloa did well after coming on for Albrighton but could not help Leicester as they fell to a damaging 4-1 defeat.