After Liverpool’s miserable 3-0 Anfield loss at the hands of West Ham United on Saturday, Jack Lusby provides his player ratings.
Simon Mignolet – 6 (out of 10)
Though Liverpool conceded three goals, Simon Mignolet did little wrong between the sticks. He was decisive under pressure, although he didn’t always make the best choice in distribution.
The No. 22 will be disappointed to see his fine run of clean sheets end at Anfield.
Nathaniel Clyne – 6
Nathaniel Clyne performed ably on the right defensive flank for Brendan Rodgers’ side, though his contribution to West Ham‘s first two goals could have been more ruthless.
A shifting role offered him little time to find a balance in his full-back duties, but Clyne looked one of the most likely to provide Liverpool with an opening throughout a fraught contest.
Martin Skrtel – 5
At the best of times Martin Skrtel is an effective, no-nonsense brute in the Liverpool defensive line, but when he is challenged by a dynamic forward such as Diafra Sakho he dissolves into an all-round calamity.
For an experienced centre-back, Skrtel is completely bereft of organisational ability, and a misshapen Liverpool back line needed direction.
Dejan Lovren – 4.5
The bubble had to burst eventually, and following Brendan Rodgers’ pre-match backing of Dejan Lovren the Croatian produced a horrorshow of a defensive display.
Too quick to charge out of defence and characteristically sloppy in possession, Lovren gifted West Ham their second goal after failing to clear his lines under pressure.
The 26-year-old was back to the desperate, shaky centre-back supporters came to lament in 2014/15.
Joe Gomez – 5.5
Eighteen-year-old defender Joe Gomez endured a mixed afternoon at Anfield, with Rodgers’ use of him out of position at left-back finally exploited by a well-organised West Ham outfit.
Gomez saw a lot of the ball in the first half, but was well marshalled by an impressive James Tomkins.
Switched to a right-sided centre-back role after half-time, the former Charlton Athletic defender looked more comfortable, but was withdrawn as Liverpool searched for a comeback.
Lucas Leiva – 5.5
Lucas Leiva is not up to scratch in a midfield with top-level aspirations, and a blockish performance as Liverpool’s anchorman served to underline this further.
Too slow to react and pounce on loose balls, and typically heavy-handed in the challenge, Lucas allowed Mark Noble to run the rule over Anfield in the first half.
Though he improved after the break, Lucas is not the dynamic, multi-faceted option Rodgers desperately needs.
Emre Can – 5
Like Gomez, Emre Can was bright in patches but ultimately suffocated by a hardworking Hammers side.
Under constant pressure in possession, Can was incredible wasteful, completing just 73.1 percent of his attempted passes.
Some strong recovery tackles suggested he may be better suited to a deep-lying role from now on.
James Milner – 6.5
Liverpool’s best player on the day.
James Milner was Rodgers’ most inventive and—unsurprisingly—industrious midfielder, looking to manage the game and consolidate the Reds’ position following the dismissal of Philippe Coutinho.
However, for all of his incisive one-touch play and intelligent runs into the box, Liverpool were at odds with the experienced No. 7.
Unfortunately, he can’t do everything himself.
Roberto Firmino – 5.5
On his first start at Anfield, Roberto Firmino produced a decidedly muted display.
He did hit the post as Liverpool searched from an equaliser early in the first half, and did offer the work rate that endeared him to Rodgers prior to his summer move from Hoffenheim, but Firmino failed to muster the spark that the Reds required.
A 52nd-minute red card compounded Coutinho’s afternoon: the Brazilian was full of endeavour, but nothing quite came together.
Mazy dribbles were effectively thwarted, well-weighted through balls easily read, shots ballooned high and wide over the bar.
It was a performance to forget for Coutinho, who will now miss Liverpool’s important trip to Manchester United after the international break.
Christian Benteke – 5.5
It is difficult to criticise Christian Benteke for his performance on Saturday afternoon.
The hulking Belgian likely did everything that was asked of him—offer a physical presence in attack, support buildup play and peel off the shoulder of West Ham‘s defenders—but the ineffective Firmino and Coutinho resulted in a disconnect between midfield and attack.
Let down by a lack of service.
Alberto Moreno (on for Can, 46′) – 5.5 – Brought on as a wing-back, Moreno confused his duties somewhat as Liverpool were pegged back. He tackled well, but lost the ball consistently in attack.
Danny Ings (on for Firmino, 61′) – 6 – One of few bright points from Liverpool’s afternoon, Ings worked tirelessly and offered a dynamic link to Benteke in the final third.
Jordon Ibe (on for Gomez, 78′) – N/A – Was not on the field long enough to make an impact.
Brendan Rodgers – 5.5
Did Liverpool need a holding midfielder against West Ham at home? Was sacrificing Can at half-time the right move as the Reds looked to gain an advantage? Was Benteke serviced effectively?
Rodgers likely set his side up to continue the progress they’d shown in the first three games of the season, but the formation-shifting approach he took to going into half-time 2-0 down offered Liverpool little in terms of structure and stability.
They needed changes, but Rodgers didn’t make the right ones.
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