Jurgen Klopp saw his Liverpool side produce a positive display but they were held to a 1-1 draw away to Tottenham Hotspur.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Liverpool
Premier League – White Hart Lane – Saturday 27 August, 2016
Goals: Rose 72′; Milner 42′
Simon Mignolet – 6.5 (out of 10)
Hardly called into action against Burton Albion in midweek, Mignolet was much busier at White Hart Lane, and made a number of vital stops to deny the likes of Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen.
But the Belgian was frustratingly beaten at his near post for Spurs’ equaliser, failing to stop a powerful drive from Danny Rose—and this proved to be his most telling contribution.
Nathaniel Clyne – 7
Much improved on his last league outing away to Burnley, providing defensive stability alongside Joel Matip and a welcome support overlapping Sadio Mane on the right flank.
Arguably at fault for Rose’s equaliser, but this was the result of a catalogue of errors from the Reds, and it is difficult to pin blame on one player—be that Mignolet, Clyne, Adam Lallana or Klopp’s centre-backs.
Joel Matip – 7.5
Strong, powerful, aerially dominant and comfortable stepping out of defence and into the Spurs half, Matip enjoyed a positive league debut after a similarly fruitful outing against Burton Albion in the League Cup in midweek.
Came close to netting Liverpool’s second of the afternoon when his looping header struck the crossbar following a corner from James Milner, showcasing his talent at the other end of the pitch.
Dejan Lovren – 6.5
Struggled to contain the tenacious Harry Kane at times, out-muscled and out-paced for one incident in the first-half, but held his line well and nipped in to win important challenges both on the ground and in the air.
Was more successful up against first-half substitute Vincent Janssen, with the former AZ Alkmaar striker still adjusting to the frenetic pace and physicality of the Premier League.
Booked for needlessly kicking the ball away.
James Milner – 7
Growing in his unorthodox role at left-back, Milner capped a comfortable display with a well-taken penalty as the first half drew to a close, converting coolly beyond the stretching Michel Vorm.
Held his position well when Spurs attacked, and provided a welcome outlet as Liverpool moved forward with the ball—a work in progress. Misjudged the flight of the ball in the build-up to the equaliser though, which is what happens when a centre-midfield is played at left-back.
Jordan Henderson – 7
Backed heavily by Klopp in the buildup to Liverpool’s trip to north London, Henderson was in fine form in his new role at the base of the midfield, showing more defensive discipline and a crisper approach in possession.
Led his side well, though can be faulted as momentum was lost following a disallowed goal for the Reds in the second half, as they failed to regain composure in the buildup.
Adam Lallana – 6.5
Lallana was one of the standout figures as Klopp’s Reds ran Spurs ragged in the German’s first game of his tenure back in October, and produced a similarly high-tempo showing on Saturday.
However, as is often the case with the England international his final pass was lacking, and Lallana was often caught in possession after unnecessary turns.
Guilty of conservatism in his box-to-box role on the left-hand side of Klopp’s midfield, playing simple passes and focussing on keeping shape alongside Henderson and Lallana.
Liverpool fans will expect more from the £25 million summer signing, but there are signs that Wijnaldum is finding his feet in the Liverpool midfield. Another largely anonymous away day for the Dutchman though…
Sadio Mane – 7.5
A typical live-wire display from the 24-year-old; full of pace, energy and intelligent buildup play, but Mane erred on the side of danger throughout as he looked to maintained his discipline.
Though a constant outlet, Mane’s passing became increasingly wayward in the second half, suggesting he is yet to foster an understanding with Divock Origi.
Philippe Coutinho – 6.5
Came in to start the clash after an injury concern and this likely contributed to his lessening output as the game progressed.
Should have scored on two occasions, lacking a level of incision in the final third, and was outshone by his compatriot in attack.
Roberto Firmino – 8.5 (Man of the Match)
A performance that could go under the radar given the Brazilian’s selfless approach, but Firmino was key to Liverpool’s high-intensity pressing play, and drifted into useful areas whenever required as the Reds pushed forward in attack.
His bright surge won Liverpool their first-half penalty, with this burst of flair exactly what was required as the two sides contested an even battle at White Hart Lane.
Divock Origi (on for Coutinho, 67′) – 6 – Introduced to provide a new dynamic in attack, but hardly touched the ball.
Daniel Sturridge (on for Mane, 87′) – N/A – A late roll of the dice from Klopp, but should have been brought on earlier.
Kevin Stewart (on for Lallana, 90+4′) – N/A – Like Sturridge, was not given time to influence the game.
Jurgen Klopp – 7
Opted for a blend of industry and flair in his 4-3-3 at White Hart Lane, and while the Reds took their time to gain control, this largely paid off.
This was the type of clash made for Firmino to operate as No. 9, and Klopp made the correct decision as he left Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge on the substitutes’ bench.
But with momentum shifting in Spurs’ favour in the latter stages of the second half, the German left his changes too late, with a courtesy three-minute cameo for Sturridge a frustrating afterthought.