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Football News: Porto v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

Porto v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
Image from: canacopegdl.com

Porto v Liverpool

 

The perfect game for that front 3, an early goal meant Porto could no longer afford to hold back numbers, so they left space at the back to work in. Added to that Porto played further into Liverpool's hands as the game went on, they dropped deeper and tried to launch the ball from further back and so gave the centre backs time to read the balls into the forwards and intercept them. Once that first goal went in, it was really game over as tactically Sergio Conceicao showed a real lack of ideas of how to deal with a press or to get at Liverpool.

It was almost too easy, which is a worry with a second leg to come, as the mental tendency of this team to coast against weaker sides could easily come back to bite it on the backside.

 


Klopp - difficult to pick even a tiny hole in a coach's performance when his team has just gained a dominant 5-0 victory away from home in the Champions League!

 

Karius - good game, kept the ball moving when he had it and looked to launch quick counters. Maybe an error when van Dijk headed it out as he came to catch but I would say that is preferable than both leaving it. He may not have shown any really outstanding features to suggest he is a world class keeper, but he has shown himself to be a massive step forward over Mignolet.

 

Alexander-Arnold - early on he struggled as Brahimi gave him no time on the ball when LFC tried to play it around at the back. However he did much better when the ball was played to him in more advanced positions, where he had options to play the ball to and Brahimi was not able to just shut him down. A really good learning experience for him when we were in possession.

Defensively he is still getting caught ballwatching but he is working hard and, when caught out or after making a challenge, he is recovering extremely quickly. Brahimi even accepted defeat and took to coming inside by the midway point of the first half. Much better by Alexander-Arnold.

 

Lovren - his partnership with van Dijk shows real signs of promise, as they compliment each other well and seem to be beginning to build an understanding. Early days but it was impressive how they grew into the game together. Van Dijk seems to be bringing the best out of Lovren.

 

van Dijk - that was more like it, a couple of times caught on the back foot but mostly he was really good and worked well with Lovren. Right now he is not finding things too easy, he is being forced to work at things and it is benefitting his game as he is unable to coast.

 

Robertson - I love his enthusiasm and energy. I also love his ability to put good balls in when given no time and space to think about what to do. However it is a worry that his decision making is so poor when given that time and space and that his defending is so hit and miss. He has a lot to learn about defending at the top level, it is the weakest feature of his game. He will not always be able to get away with just being quick and chasing back as he did last night a couple of times.

 

There were a couple of times he was caught chasing round in midfield, before the switch to a back 3, trying to press instead of getting back into position, and the ball was put in behind him. His energy is commendable but sometimes it could be better spent by dropping back and getting into position defensively.

 

Wijnaldum - after weeks of barely being there in game after game, suddenly Wijnaldum stood up and made himself known. He had a really good game but that is the level he should be at every week, not just sometimes.

 

Henderson - once again he did what was needed rather than what fans think makes a great player. When Porto were threatening to swamp the backline as they tried to play it between themselves, he slotted in deep to give options and draw out Porto. Then, when Porto backed off the pressure he moved forward again. Kept his team-mates on their toes and played some good balls.

There were a couple of worries though, firstly that he was caught a couple of times not sure whether to gamble defensively or offensively when there was a nearby challenge. He ended up doing neither and so offered no help. Secondly his pace was so lacking that at one point Milner chased past him to make a challenge that he had been unable to get near making. Overall though he performed well.

 

Milner - he was sailing close to the wind in terms of a booking, but somehow managed to avoid picking one up. Other than that, his performance was very good. Actually, I retract that other than that bit, avoiding a booking while managing to commit so many fouls to break up opponent's play is very good play. I am still not convinced he is a central midfielder though last night he did a very good imitation of one.

 

Salah - some of the balls he tried were not coming off but he was a threat all night long plus his goal was just audacious. Juggling it away from the stretching arms of the keeper like that was just incredible. 30 goals in the season already, he could sack it in now and still have had the best season of his career and better than most other players can dream of.

 

Mane - finally it clicked for him last night and that is what comes of it when Sadio gets it right - a hat-trick. What seems crazy is that he is still short of his very best, but that is just because he can be so good, rather than because he played poorly. Mane was excellent last night, he really needed that lucky break first goal.

 

Firmino - what more can you say about Bobby F. than has already been said? A vastly underrated player by the world at large but one of the best players in Europe right now, in outstanding form and performing some brilliance on the ball. Not just is he scoring and creating goals but he is chasing around ensuring other teams cannot score. Excellent once again last night.

 

Subs:

Matip - took Henderson's place in the 75th minute and slotted in on the right of what became a back 3 as Klopp looked to ensure a clean sheet. Hard to judge him really, 15 minutes against a team in disarray, but he did not do anything wrong.

Gomez - replaced Alexander-Arnold at what was now right wing-back in the 79th minute. Barely got into the game but made no errors to cost anything either.

Ings - brought on in the 80th minute to give Firmino a rest. Chased around like Robertson, but never really got a chance to show what he could do. Ings looks in real need of a goal to get his career going again.

Written by Tris Burke February 15 2018 10:01:27