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Football News: Fulham v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

Fulham v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
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Fulham v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective

 

One of the most important games in the season for Liverpool is out of the way. It was the kind of game which could easily have been a banana-skin in the path of their championship challenge. While Fulham have not shown any signs of making a fist of their battle for survival up to now, they have a new unknown quantity of a manager and the ability to score goals, as well as leak them. Added to that, Liverpool were on the back of a difficult away trip to Munich, which could have left the team drained or just in the midst of an 'after the Lord Mayor's show' state of mind.

It might not have seemed that way from the outside, but this win was huge, especially in the way it occurred. Though it was not the best of watches, the weather certainly did not help, at this stage of the season all that matters is getting the result, and they got the result. Performances really are irrelevant right now, the worst thing that can happen is that a team plays really well but fails to get the result.

 

Parker - he has clearly worked hard on organising his team and improved them defensively, in the way Ranieri was expected to. Tactically he did nothing new but he at least got his team to put up a fight. Oh and dropping that useless donkey Dennis Odoi was a big forward step for the club as he has been the main issue at the back. Rating: 6.

 

Rico - struggled to catch a ball all game and eventually gave Liverpool a chance to win it after dropping the ball and then grabbing Mane. He does not look confident or comfortable at all. Unsurprising really considering the defence he has been playing behind. Rating: 1.

 

Fosu-Mensah - actually did fairly well against Mane, I was impressed with how close he came to dealing with him. Certainly closer than anyone else has come recently. I mean no one has stopped him scoring, but he gave Mane real problems. Rating: 6.5.

 

Chambers - did fairly well, certainly made Fulham look a lot more solid at the back with him there. Still made a few errors, but nothing really catastrophic and worked hard for the team. Rating: 6.

 

Ream - managed some really good blocks and helped keep Fulham in the running. His ability is limited but he performed pretty much to its fullest extent. Most of his game was spent being the third blocker to any run made by Salah, which helped keep the Egyptian from scoring. Rating: 6.5.

 

Bryan - for some reason one of the commentators was raving about Bryan, like he was some kind of Roberto Carlos in the making and kept on about how well he played. I am not sure why. He showed nothing special, it was not him that kept Salah quiet, it was the cover alongside him backing him up that made the difference. Salah was able to go past him time and time again, all he contributed was to be a bollard for Salah to dribble round. Going forward he offered little more. Rating: 4.5.

 

Cairney - has a lovely left foot on him, but he lacks the intelligence to really get the most out of it. He is wasteful on the ball due to his poor decision making. He offered very little of value in this game at all. Rating: 3.

 

Anguissa - offers them a real physical presence in midfield and gets around the pitch breaking up play well and tries his best to protect the defence. He needs some real help, rather than what he got from Seri. Rating: 6.5.

 

Seri - I am really not sure what he offers. He does not do enough on or off the ball. He seems lacking in technique and ability. It beggars belief that Barcelona were looking at him last season as he seems barely good enough in any aspect of the game for a Championship side, let alone Champions League team. Rating: 3.

 

Ayite - worked hard but did not really do enough to impact on the game. Showed good strength and pace but failed to make the most of his talents. Rating: 5.5.

 

Mitrovic - was incredibly isolated and did his best but needed help. Rating: 5.5.

 

Babel - scored their goal, much to his chagrin as he is a massive Liverpool fan and his 'celebration' showed how gutted he was. Other than that, he did not really do much at all. Rating: 6.

 

Subs:

Sessegnon - replaced Seri in the 65th minute. Offered energy and drive but little else. Never got enough of the ball to be much of a threat. It does seem odd that he did not start as the crowd clearly love him and his arrival on the pitch gave the whole team a lift. Rating: 5.5.

Christie - took the place of Fosu-Mensah in the 73rd minute. I really cannot think what he offered to Fulham at all. Rating: 4.

Kebano - brought on in the 82nd minute to replace Cairney. At least tried to attack and gave it a go. Rating: 5.5.

 


Klopp - his team did enough to dominate and win. It should have been a comfortable win but for a silly error but it will worry him how few clear cut chances were created, even though a lot of that was down to Fulham being well organised and sitting back even though they were losing at home. Rating: 6.

 

Alisson - made a bad error with the goal in his desire to deal with it with his feet as usual, rather than just using his hands as he should have. However he is constantly being put under pressure with pass backs all the time. It is about time the defence stopped taking the easy route out constantly and just used the pass back to him when necessary. Thankfully it never cost the team points but he needs to do better in the future and remember he can catch a header! Rating: 5.

 

Alexander-Arnold - same old, same old. Brilliant on the attack (though his corners were poor in large part due to the difficulty getting a run up on that really steep slope) but weak defensively. He makes it far too easy for the opposition to attack him by standing off them and giving them space to work. When he does get tight, he shuts them down well, so it is not a lack of ability. His delivery and passing range is incredible at times and it seems almost a waste to have him at full back, he could be more. So much more. Rating: 7.5.

 

Matip - was again more aggressive and took Mitrovic on head on, which did lead to some silly fouls but it is the best way to deal with him. On the ball his passing was off again, I nearly lost my voice screaming "don't pass it to Matip" every time van Dijk got the ball, as he almost always wasted it or just took the easy route by passing it to Alisson and putting him under pressure. And he really needs to stop missing when he gets the chance to score. Rating: 6.

 

van Dijk - made a terrible error for the goal, not just the weak header but in not just dealing with the ball initially. Lately he has done that a few times, looked for someone else to take over, when he should have just dealt with a problem. Last time out he was calling for someone to get out on the left and deal with something that he should just have gone and sorted. This time he was calling for Alisson to come out even though the ball had been holding up in the wind all game and ended up then making a weak header back. While Alisson should have just dealt with it, the ball should never have been in a position for him to have to deal with. Rating: 7.

 

Robertson - raided forward really well but his crosses were terrible, then he would get into good positions and play the ball inside instead of crossing it. He does some great things but is just lacking that final touch on his attacking play. Defensively there are times when he gets exposed but then he will use his energy to win back a ball he should never have got to. It is so frustrating to watch him, he is on the verge of being a really good full back, but he just needs his game polishing up. Rating: 6.5.

 

Wijnaldum - he has turned into Mr Reliable, always there breaking up play, getting forward to support attacks and constantly involved. He is particularly reliable in the final third, where he can be always relied upon to fail to score! Rating: 7.5.

 

Fabinho - played some delicious passes, despite the weather, but also gave away some loose passes as Fulham did their best to give him no time and space. He was very much targeted as the Cottagers tried to stop Liverpool from playing out from the back, but he dealt with it fairly well. Rating: 7.

 

Lallana - I find Lallana extremely frustrating to watch, off the ball he is exceptional, he does everything at high speed, leading the press, tracking back, making forward runs, it is all done quickly, unsettling the opposition. Then he gets the ball and, while his touch and control are beautiful, he slows everything down with that extra four or five unneeded touches that he always takes. If he would just stick to playing high tempo with the ball, and move it more quickly, he would be perfect for a Klopp team. He did play well overall though, his pressing ensured Fulham really struggled to get on the ball until he went off. Rating: 8.5.

 

Mane - it is not just his goals that have been key lately, it is also his movement and workrate. He pops up all over the place and is one of the best wingers in terms of protecting the full back behind him. Rating: 8.5.

 

Salah - chased back to kill a Fulham break from a Liverpool corner, to show he is more than just an attacker. That defensive work stopped an almost certain goal. His workrate and desire are excellent, but he needs a goal as it is clearly affecting his play. While he has been getting criticism for trying too hard to score and not passing, most of those runs he is being swarmed and has little chance of playing a pass. In fact it is often when he tries to poke a pass through a gap that he loses it. He really needs Mane to keep scoring so that opposing teams move a player away from covering him and onto Mane instead. Rating: 7.5.

 

Firmino - there was little space for him to operate and, while he always works hard, he was not able to get on the ball like he would want to or create much when he did. However, his effectiveness in harrying the Fulham team on the ball often led to rushed passes which ended up with the press winning the ball back, so he does always contribute. Rating: 7.

 

Subs:

Milner - replaced Lallana in the 72nd minute. Made a terrible sliced attempt at a clearance which ended up in the mix-up between van Dijk and Alisson which saw Fulham score, but he had just come on and the wind was difficult. You could see that in the way the Fulham keeper's kicks were ending up going backwards as they dropped. He held his nerve to score the penalty, which must have put him under so much pressure after his mistake. Rating: 6.

Origi - was brought on instead of Firmino in the 72nd minute. Some nice work but he did not see enough of the ball to really go at Christie, who he clearly had the beating of very easily. Rating: 5.5.

Sturridge - chosen to replace Salah in the 90th+2 minute. More of an attempt to time waste than make any difference to the game. Rating: 5.

 

Just to explain my ratings. I have gone for what I believe is more simple than the usual of totting up points. I have decided to go with 5 as having no effect on the game other than being a body on the pitch. Anything below 5 is a player who had a negative effect on his team and anything above 5 as a positive effect. So a goal scored would be a positive effect and add to the rating, whereas giving away a penalty with a needless challenge would take away from it.

Written by Tris Burke March 19 2019 07:39:19

 

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