The Champions League is back!
Liverpool look to reclaim their title with a depleted squad. First up in the Group Stage is the club everyone wished they played for the 2018-19 trophy: Ajax.
Thanks to Everton’s cowardly, reckless challenges on Virgil van Dijk and Thiago, Jurgen Klopp is forced to put together an interesting XI and bench for this one.
The first half started slow for the Reds. However, they’ve grown in confidence throughout the match. They take an OG-aided 1-0 lead to the half.
Klopp uses all of his 5 subs in the second half (smart) and clamps down for a 1-0 win. Impressive if ugly showing from Liverpool. Keeping a clean sheet the first match post-VVD will build confidence.
Liverpool Player Ratings
Jurgen Klopp (8) –
Really like the thought behind his starting XI. Giving Gini and Millner the starting nods helps provide defensive cover. Getting Jones in there will potentially help spark the offense.
The bench is unexpected. Rhys Williams deservedly gets a call up. Klopp going with two back-up goalkeepers is not exactly a vote of confidence for Adrian.
Brings in Hendo for Jones at the half. Subs out THE ENTIRE FRONTLINE in the 60th minute. Interesting. Looks like Klopp is playing to protect the 1-0 lead. Which works. Out-of-the-box managing pays off.
Adrian (8) –
Please no mistakes please no mistakes.
Not a promising start, as he got his wires crossed with Joe Gomez on a potentially dangerous situation. FFS another mental error in the 15th minute. This is shaky. Does come up with a decent save and alertly spring a counter one minute later.
Does make an alert save in the 33rd. But he’s solid making saves. It’s the decision-making that’s the issue.
Comes up with another big save in the 58th minute. Despite some early nerves, has a great match. Should build his confidence.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (6) –
Looking to get on the board with an assist finally. Solid defensively today. Offensively not much of a threat. Still waiting for the real TAA to show up.
Fabinho (10) –
The right choice (not that there were a lot of options) for center-back duties. Makes a great interception in the 11th minute to help spring a counter-attack. Great touch to stifle an attack in the 40th. Saves a goal clearing it off the line in the 44th. He’s having a monster first half.
Keeps it up in the second half. He’s everywhere. Genuinely amazing performance.
Joe Gomez (8) –
His frustration with Adrian is palpable. Regardless, a very mature display. Clearing and intercepting like a boss.
Andy Robertson (7.5) –
Liverpool’s best defender so far this season. The Reds need some output from Robbo today. He’s doing well progressing the ball offensively. Only one making great runs. Looks in mid-season form.
James Milner (7) –
Smart choice for the start. Working hard. Booked for fouling on a counter. Amazing he’s almost 35 given his work-rate. Takes a hard knock from Traore towards the end of regulation. Very strong showing. Subbed off in stoppage.
Curtis Jones (5) –
Tracking back well. Looks like a Klopp midfielder. Not generating anything offensively really. Comes off at the half.
Gini Wijnaldum (7) –
Will be tasked with a heavy workload tonight. Been workmanlike though not spectacular. Doing what’s being asked of him. Finishing the game very strong which is amazing considering how hard he’s worked.
Sadio Mane (7) –
Just feels like he’ll have a big match tonight. Definitely zipping around on a mission early. However (and will make this comment for the entire front 3), off-ball movement is lacking/lazy. Mane struck the shot that led to the opening OG. He’s been very balanced and strong on ball.
Gets subbed out in the 60th with Bobby and Mo.
Roberto Firmino (5) –
Off-ball movement is lacking/lazy in the first half. Where are the creative runs? Just isn’t connecting passes. Needs to keep it simple. Another lacking performance.
Gets subbed out in the 60th.
Mo Salah (6.5) –
Off-ball movement is lacking/lazy in the first half. Where are the creative runs? Effort is there but touch letting him down.
Not happy getting subbed in the 60th.
Jordan Henderson (7) – Comes on at the half for Jones. Lots of ambition. Looks very confident.
Xherdan Shaqiri (5) – Comes in the 60th. Doesn’t do much.
Diogo Jota (7) – Comes in the 60th. Creativity on the ball is really impressive. Gorgeous ball in to Gini at the 90th almost leads to a score.
Takumi Minamino (6) – Comes in the 60th. Solidly struck ball in the 70th had a chance. Works really well with Jota.
Rhys Williams (NR) – Our boy! Big believers in Rhys. Comes on in stoppage for Milner. Couple of strong challenges in limited time.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Fabinho was a man among boys today.