Liverpool played Crystal Palace in a game that had all of the markings of the pre-VVD/Alisson era…except for the end result.
In 2016-17 or the first half of 2017-18, Liverpool would’ve frustratingly dropped points in this game. This season’s version of Liverpool though keeps finding ways to grind out victories.
Jurgen Klopp (7) – Tempted to give him an 8, but Klopp failed to find creativity needed to break down the parked bus Palace anchored at the Kop in the first half.
However, whatever message Klopp is delivering at halftime seems to resonate, because Liverpool again started converting all of that first-half possession into second half goals.
Alisson (5) – On one hand, those first two goals were not on him. On the other hand, he’s a goalie, and like a striker is ultimately judged on finding the net, a keeper is rated on preventing balls in it. He gave up 3. He’s gets a 5.
James Milner (3) – Ooof.
Somewhere, Dejan Lovren is drinking a pint and saying to his friends, “See, it ain’t that easy, is it, assholes?”
Wilfriend Zaha had his way all day with Milner, who eventually was sent off with a red. Let’s just pretend today didn’t happen for the usually solid Milner.
Joel Matip (7) –Liked what I saw from Matip, who returned from injury today. Was oddly Liverpool’s most potent attacker in the first half, and delivered some perfectly weighted passes into the attacking third. He was solid on defense as well. Good showing and encouraging for future defensive depth.
Virgil van Dijk (6) – This might’ve been van Dijk’s poorest game of the year. Was fairly meh on defensively and missed some opportunities to deliver with his head on the attack.
Andrew Robertson (8.5) – Another awesome game from the recently extended Robbo. He served as practically a left wing in the first half, constantly on the attack. He even attempted some shots on goal, which has been my only nit on him all season.
Jordan Henderson (6) – He was active and fine. Nothing showy, nothing spectacular. He could’ve slowed down the Palace attack more in the second half.
Fabinho (7) – Passing was on point yet again. Seemed to have the ball at his feet more than any Red in the first half. Went off with an injury towards the end of the match. Would be very missed if he has to miss any time.
Naby Keita (4) – While he gets the assist on Firmino’s goal, he is completely lacking in confidence compared to what he displayed this summer. Liverpool would greatly benefit from another creative midfield option. Sadly, it’s looking like that’s not going to be Keita this season.
Mohamed Salah (8.5) – He’s just a goal scoring predator. While this wasn’t his best overall game, Liverpool needed his goals in a big way today. Salah is now two goals clear of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and an injured Harry Kane for the Golden Boot.
Roberto Firmino (7) – Is there anything more fun than watching the joy of Bobby celebrated a goal? He barely saw the ball in the first half, but when he did, he was creative and confident. His goal delivered Liverpool their first lead of the game.
Sadio Mane (6.5) – The heavy first touch and poorly weighted passes are still there, but he had an overall strong performance and was rewarded with a late goal.
Xherdan Shaqiri (6) – Mercifully came on for Keita at the 71st minute and looked more comfortable and effective.
Adam Lallana (NR) – Came on in the 87th minute for an injured Fabinho. Did nifty Lallana-things in his brief time on the pitch.
Rafael Camacho (NR) – Time wasting stoppage time sub, but it’s good to see the 18 year-old getting some first team minutes.