It was a hit-and-miss performance from Liverpool as they draw 1-1 with Rubin Kazan in the Europa League. Here are our player ratings.
Liverpool 1-1 Rubin Kazan
Europa League – Anfield – Thursday 22nd October 2015
Simon Mignolet – 6 (out of 10)
After some shot-stopping heroics against Tottenham Hotspur in Jurgen Klopp‘s first outing as Liverpool manager, Simon Mignolet was given a reprieve between the sticks against Rubin, with the Belgian forced into just two saves.
Mignolet could do little to stop Marko Devic’s well-taken opener, and looked much more assured in possession than at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
Nathaniel Clyne – 5.5
If any one player embodied Klopp’s misfiring Reds side on Thursday night, it was Nathaniel Clyne.
At fault for Devic’s goal and consistently failing to provide competent service in the final third, Clyne looked at odds with the German’s demands in his right-back role; the 24-year-old was getting in the right positions in attack, but couldn’t pull the trigger when required.
Martin Skrtel – 6
Clyne can shoulder the majority of the blame for Devic’s strike, but Martin Skrtel should be criticised for putting the right-back under pressure by stepping out of defence, leaving the Ukrainian free to charge into the penalty area.
However, after a slipshod first half compounded by that major error, Skrtel did grow into the game.
His passing was assured and his defensive work helped keep Rubin quiet on the break.
Mamadou Sakho – 7.5 (Man of the Match)
Mamadou Sakho once again stood out as Liverpool’s best player on a night where he was required to showcase his all-round game.
The Frenchman was solid in defence and progressive in his use of the ball in possession.
Chants of “Sakho! Sakho! Sakho!” rang around Anfield throughout the night, and it is encouraging that the 25-year-old’s performances are finally being widely recognised. A key player for Klopp.
Alberto Moreno – 7
Like Sakho, Alberto Moreno has taken to Klopp’s high-intensity football with ease, and his front-footed defensive work at left-back proved crucial in quelling the rampaging Oleg Kuzmin—before the Rubin right-back’s dismissal on 36 minutes.
Moreno made more interceptions (five) than any other player, and supported attacks consistently, with his pinpoint crosses providing Christian Benteke with some promising openings in the second half.
Joe Allen – 5
Replacing Lucas Leiva in the starting lineup for Klopp’s only change from Saturday afternoon, Joe Allen produced a performance of little note before being withdrawn at half-time.
The Welshman will take time to get to grips with Liverpool’s change in system, following his return from injury.
Emre Can – 7
Tasked once again with a demanding role on the left side of Liverpool’s midfield three, Emre Can produced an exemplary, all-round display as Klopp’s box-to-box midfielder.
Can pressed with intensity, supported attacks with strong driving runs—prompting Kuzmin’s red card—and added the finishing touch with a sweeping effort to equalise on 37 minutes.
The 21-year-old can develop into a truly outstanding midfielder under Klopp.
James Milner – 6
Much like against Spurs, James Milner‘s role was indecipherable at Anfield on Thursday night.
The stand-in captain was ostensibly tasked with supporting the engine room in terms of pressing and buildup play, covering Clyne at right-back and surging forward on the wing.
This led to a confused performance from the former Manchester City midfielder, though he did provide some useful balls from deep to prompt attacking moves from Clyne and Adam Lallana.
Philippe Coutinho‘s troubling run of poor form continued against Rubin, with his 63rd-minute withdrawal underlining another weak display in Liverpool’s midfield.
The Brazilian began well, tackling with tenacity and looking to spearhead attacking moves, but soon drifted into the periphery.
This is a major cause for concern for Klopp, whose man-management skills will be required to coax top form out of the priceless No. 10.
Adam Lallana – 7
An enigma under Brendan Rodgers, Lallana has produced two eye-catching performances in his first two outings under Klopp—clearly determined to impress his new manager.
Heavy on tricks and flicks, Lallana stationed himself on the edge of the Rubin penalty area, looking to drift between the lines and, in Coutinho’s absence of form, craft chances for lone centre-forward Divock Origi.
Pairing this with a hardworking pressing game, Lallana will have endeared himself to Klopp.
Divock Origi – 5.5
Origi has been given something of a thankless task in the absence of Benteke, Danny Ings and Daniel Sturridge, and the 20-year-old is very much learning on the job as Liverpool’s centre-forward.
Though he produced some nice touches in the buildup, gifting opportunities for Coutinho and Lallana, he was unable to spearhead the attack with any conviction.
Lucas Leiva (on for Allen, 46′) – 6.5 – A much better option than Allen as Liverpool’s deep-lying midfielder. Came on to provide composure and steel to the midfield.
Christian Benteke (on for Coutinho, 63′) – 6 – Decidedly rusty after a long spell on the sidelines with injury, Benteke came close to giving Liverpool a winner with a well-placed effort on 79 minutes.
Roberto Firmino (on for Origi, 74′) – 6 – Like Benteke, Firmino took time to get to grips with the tempo of the game, but showed promise in his 16-minute cameo. Will blossom in time.
Jurgen Klopp – 7
Who could criticise Klopp on his Anfield bow?
The German signalled his intent by naming his strongest side possible for Thursday night’s clash, and took the initiative by introducing Lucas, Benteke and Firmino—his decision to replace Coutinho after just 63 minutes showed his fortitude.
Klopp will be disappointed that his side could not find victory against 10-man Rubin, but there were signs of promise in this Anfield display.
The German must now turn to the visit of Southampton on Sunday.
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