West Ham 2-1 Liverpool
FA Cup Fourth Round Replay – Upton Park – Tuesday 9th February 2016
Goals: Coutinho (48); Antonio (45), Ogbonna (120)
Simon Mignolet (out of 10) – 6
After so much criticism of late, the Belgian had a slightly better day at the office.
He made an excellent finger-tipped stop from Dimitri Payet’s first-half free-kick, and kept out the rebound – but there were still negatives on the night.
He twice failed to deal with high balls in almost comic fashion, and he was arguably a little flat-footed for Angelo Ogbonna’s last-gasp winner. Kicking awful too.
Jon Flanagan – 7
A strong night for Flanagan, who is nicely easing his way back into the side after almost two years out injured.
He lost the ball cheaply a few times early on, but he was solid defensively and typically spirited from start to finish. Improved in terms of quality as the match went on too.
It is good to have him back. [td_ad_box spot_id=”custom_ad_1″]
Tiago Ilori – 7.5
Ilori is definitely worth persevering with and he produced a highly impressive display against tricky opponents on Tuesday.
The Portuguese youngster was guilty of being a little sloppy on the ball at the start, but he read the game very well and was strong in the air throughout.
There were obvious glimpses of why the club signed him for a hefty £7 million back in 2013.
Lucas Leiva – 8.5
This was a colossal performance from Lucas, who captained Liverpool at centre-back at Upton Park.
The Brazilian was a true leader from start to finish, and his tackling, passing, awareness and general leadership were magnificent.
Anyone who even thinks about having a go at him for conceding the late free-kick clearly has deep-lying issues with Lucas. One of his finest performances in a Reds shirt.
Brad Smith – 6.5
The Australian once again showed his qualities going forward, with his electric pace and good final ball a constant outlet down the left flank.
Unfortunately, Smith’s defensive flaws were exposed for West Ham‘s first goal, with Michail Antonio ghosting in behind him to score.
Like Alberto Moreno, he feels more like a winger than a full-back, but is progressing nicely.
Pedro Chirivella – 7.5
Chirivella was given his full debut by Jurgen Klopp, and he didn’t look remotely out of place in tough surroundings.
The teenage Spaniard was eye-catching in possession and solid when it came to his defensive work, and he should feel extremely proud of his first ever Reds start.
Kevin Stewart – 8
Not many knew much about Stewart a few months ago, but he has been a surprise success story since featuring at Exeter City in the FA Cup third round.
The youngster got through an admirable amount of work all evening, but he was also a strong physical presence and looked composed on the ball. [td_ad_box spot_id=”custom_ad_2″]
Needs a chance now in the league or Europa League to assess where his future can be.
Joao Teixeira – 6.5
Teixeira was probably one of the more disappointing of the youngsters against West Ham, but he still did well for chunks of the game.
The Portuguese linked up beautifully with Philippe Coutinho on a few occasions, and oozed class, but his effort levels weren’t as impressive as many around him.
It would be very harsh to say that his attitude needs working on, but he just frustrated a little when he is experienced enough to do better.
It’s great to have Coutinho back, isn’t it?
The 23-year-old has been a great loss through injury in the last month or so, and his creative brilliance was there for all to see at times.
He scored a brilliantly cheeky free-kick to level the scores shortly after half-time, before being replaced soon after. A huge player for Liverpool.
Jordon Ibe – 5
A disappointing evening for Ibe, who failed to perform while many did themselves proud, and saw himself partly at fault for Antonio’s goal.
The Englishman’s decision-making was poor on a number of occasions – a couple of needlessly risky flicks were particularly infuriating – and too often he ran down blind allies.
There are doubts over just how good Ibe is, although it is vital to stress that he is still very young.
Christian Benteke – 5
Every time we think Benteke might be about to prove us all wrong, he gets even worse.
The Belgian was ultimately the difference between Liverpool progressing and going out, and this was surely the night that Jurgen Klopp decided the striker has no future on Merseyside. [td_ad_box spot_id=”custom_ad_3″]
He missed a number of good chances, most notably a one-on-one in extra-time, although his link up play was better when he had Sturridge up there with him.
It’s now over 600 minutes without a goal for Benteke, during which time he’s played every minute of the four FA Cup games.
Divock Origi (on for Teixeira 59′) – 6
Origi looked a threat when he came on, although his decision to shoot instead of cross in extra-time was a poor one.
Daniel Sturridge (on for Coutinho 59′) – 8
At times, the 26-year-old looked on another level to anyone on the pitch, with his touch, awareness and all-round quality a massive threat in the final third.
He is a sensational footballer who will transform Liverpool if he can stay fit.
James Milner (on for Chirivella 101′) – n/a
Not really enough time to make an impact, although one jinking run caught the eye.
Jurgen Klopp – 7
Klopp returned to the dugout after his bout of appendicitis, and took a bold gamble with his team selection.
The performance of Liverpool proves that the German got his side pretty much spot on, although there will forever be lingering doubts over whether the starting eleven could have just been that little bit stronger.
It may have been a night that ended in misery for Klopp, but he should feel pleased that so many youngsters repaid the faith he showed in them.
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