Aug 12, 2017
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How Liverpool’s players rated as they couldn’t hold out against Watford

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Liverpool began life in 2017/18 as they lived it throughout 2016/17, with woeful defending and exciting attacking play. It was hardly even surprising when Stefano Okaka scored from a corner kick within the opening eight minutes.

Sadio Mane pulled things back with a magical run and finish, but once again was let down by shoddy defending allowing Abdoulaye Doucoure to find acres of space in the box as the midfield failed to track back.

The second half saw an improvement, with Mohamed Salah winning a penalty for Roberto Firmino to score before he added another himself after Firmino’s lobbed shot was going wide of the target, giving Liverpool the lead only two minutes after being behind.

A late corner again showed Liverpool up though and Simon Mignolet’s dreadful arm waving routine allowed Miguel Britos to head in from what looked like an offside position to equalise three minutes into injury time.

Here are how the Reds players rated:

Simon Mignolet – 4

Given the number one spot ahead of Loris Karius and Danny Ward, he did little to justify it. Flapping around hopelessly, he almost added an own goal in injury time. Looked unsure, communication was poor and Mignolet didn’t look anything like the goalkeeper who established himself in the second half of last season.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6

The youngster’s inexperience showed at times. He was too often caught out of position having roamed forward to support Mohamed Salah. A little sloppy on the ball, but generally reliable.

Joel Matip – 5

Given his stature, he must do better in the air. He was made to look weak by Watford as they consistently bulldozed the defender out of their way. Should be the leader of this defence but looked anything but that on Saturday lunchtime.

Dejan Lovren – 5

For all his shouting and pointing, he doesn’t add much to Liverpool’s defence. At least much more than a liability. Rash challenges diving in cost his side, and like Matip, was poor in the aerial and physical battles

Alberto Moreno – 4

Failed to win a single tackle in the first half. His pre-season form had suggested that he could have been a surprise presence in the squad this season, and Klopp clearly agreed. In truth, he failed to live up to that tag and is unlikely to feature again.

Jordan Henderson – 5

Uncomfortable as a holding midfielder. He failed to track the runners and didn’t look anywhere near as fit as he should be. As captain, he has to stand up and lead his team. He didn’t do that at Vicarage Road.

Emre Can – 6

Not excellent but the pick in midfield. His creativity and drive forward was a valuable asset as Liverpool looked to ease the pressure on their defence. The German was at fault in the build up to the second goal though with a sloppy and needless back heel.

Georgino Wijnaldum – 6

Struggled with his defensive duties. Looked to get forward well and threatened with shots from distance. At times failed to stamp any kind of influence on the game and was merely a passenger.

Mohamed Salah – 7

Poor in the first half, he stepped up massively in the second period. His pace and skill on the flank was a threat and on another day he could have had more than one goal. Blasted two chances high and wide when he should really have done better.

Roberto Firmino – 7

Far from his best, but the Brazilian took his penalty calmly and confidently and his wayward shot turned to an assist for Mohamed Salah’s goal. Needs to step up in Philippe Coutinho’s absence.

Sadio Mane – 7

A nuisance, particularly in the first half when he was one of very few to emerge with any credit. Tired as the game went on, as is to be expected after a short pre-season, but it was a promising start with a fantastic goal.

Divock Origi (for Firmino, 81) – N/A

Limited time to make an impact but kept the Watford defence busy in the closing stages.

James Milner (for Salah, 86) – N/A

Kept things tight at the back and added much needed leadership and experience.

Joe Gomez (for Alexander-Arnold, 90+1) – N/A

Barely involved.

Article Categories:
Liverpool · Player Ratings

Sam is a Southend United fan and student based in the South-West. He has previously worked for various publications, including FourFourTwo magazine and ITV. Sam also has an extensive knowledge of Spanish football and has previously lived and worked in Spain. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

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