It was the perfect performance by Liverpool, as we bounced back from our loss last weekend to beat Tottenham Hotspurs 3-0 at White Hart Lane. Despite some defensive lapses, the return of our fluid attacking style ensured we left with three points. All the focus was on Mario Balotelli who had a promising debut but it was other players that stepped up to the plate. Here are the LFC player ratings from that game.
GK: Simon Mignolet – 7.5/10
Wasn’t called upon too often but bailed out his defenders on one occasion by palming away a shot from Nacer Chadli when it seemed certain that the Tottenham player would score. A solid performance in goal, but will face sterner tests in the future. A clean sheet will do his confidence good.
RB: Javier Manquillo – 7/10
Called up to replace Glen Johnson, Manquillo did well to prove that he deserves to start ahead of Glen Johnson on the basis of current form. While it wasn’t an awe-striking performance Manquillo did what he had to do. He defended solidly and joined in attack occasionally. At only 20, he still has to develop his game a lot, especially on the attacking front, but performances like this show us that he has the potential. After getting a yellow card in the middle of the first half, he showed much more composure and played out the rest of the game without recklessly lunging into tackles.
CB: Dejan Lovren – 7/10
Shifted to the right side of defence Lovren made a few mistakes and was bailed out by Simon Mignolet on one occasion. In another situation a bad first touch put the ball right into Adebayor’s path but he did well to recover with a perfectly timed sliding challenge. There were a few shaky moments but he helped keep a clean sheet which will do his confidence a world of good.
CB: Mamadou Sakho – 7/10
In the first half, Sakho looked a little nervous and his distribution almost got Liverpool into trouble on more than one occasion. But as the game wore on, he settled into his position and his distribution improved. If he continues to hang on to the starting berth, he’ll grow more confident with each game and I believe he can be a solid central defender.
LB: Alberto Moreno – 9/10
If I told you that this was only Moreno’s second game in the BPL, you wouldn’t have believed me. Moreno looked at home on the left side of defence and looked accustomed to the pace of the BPL. He seemed to have put his mistake in the previous game behind him and was a force while going forward. At one time, after Liverpool regained the ball following a Tottenham corner, Moreno was the farthest one up the pitch. In the 2nd half, he robbed Andros Townsend, and took off right into Tottenham’s penalty box, and slotted home from a difficult angle. That solo goal capping off a performance worthy of the Man of the Match award. He was solid in defence as well, with no lapses in concentration coming on his side.
LCM: Joe Allen – 7.5/10
Joe Allen started this game, but you wouldn’t expect him to start too many more now that Adam Lallana is fit and ready to go. This game was a way for Allen to prove that he deserves a starting berth, but he didn’t too much to build his case. Admittedly he did win the penalty from which Liverpool scored their second of the game, but the penalty call was a very soft one (a tug of the shirt in this case). Passed the ball well enough, but you’d expect Lallana to start in his place come next game.
CDM: Steven Gerrard – 8/10
This was the sort of performance we’ve come to expect from Gerrard on a daily basis. He marshalled his troops well, we got to see some of his trademark cross-field diagonal balls, he was disruptive whenever Tottenham looked to counter and he stepped up to convert yet another penalty for Liverpool as he got off the mark for goals in the BPL.
RCM: Jordan Henderson – 8.5/10
Jordan Henderson is the heart off the Liverpool midfield. You wouldn’t have caught me saying that in his first season after his transfer from Sunderland. But now that statement is very true. Henderson epitomizes all that Liverpool stands for. The fluid attacking passing (his pass to Sterling for the opener), his constant pressing, his runs into the box from midfield and so much more. Henderson was one of the standout performers on the pitch for Liverpool and for the second time in three games an inch perfect pass from him has led to a Sterling goal. The only thing missing from his repertoire now, are goals.
CAM: Raheem Sterling – 9/10
Scored the opening goal for Liverpool and was lively all game till he was subbed off with 5 minutes to play. The movement of Sterling, Sturridge and Balotelli caused all sorts off problems for Tottenham and the three of them linked up really well. Sterling meanwhile, gets better and better. Henderson played a perfect ball but it still had to be finished and Sterling looks deadly in front of goal now. If Sterling continues this form, I don’t know what to expect. And to think he’s only 19.
ST: Daniel Sturridge – 7.5/10
Linked up well with Balotelli and Sterling. Almost provided the assist for Balotelli’s first goal in a Liverpool shirt with a perfect cross, but Hugo Lloris saved Balo’s headed effort. Linked up with Henderson in the build up to the first goal. But otherwise not much from the striker. As the season progresses we’ll expect him to get on the scoresheet more often than not.
ST: Mario Balotelli – 8/10
This game was all about him. He almost got the perfect start too, as he headed the ball toward goal in only the second minute. But a save from Lloris ensured that Balotelli would have to wait a little longer to open his account. He had one more headed effort and a corner routine straight from the training ground passed to him but he failed to hit the target on both occasions. He even had a gaping goal to shoot at from 40 yards but he scuffed his shot. But it wasn’t his attacking that impressed the fans. It was the fact that on occasion we’d find Balotelli deep in Liverpool’s own half fighting to regain possession. While it wasn’t the dream start all fans had hoped for, it was a promising one. A sign of far more to come and a sign that Balo was here to play football.