Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool were in great form as they sealed a 2-1 victory at home to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday evening.
Liverpool 2-1 West Brom
Premier League, Anfield
October 22, 2016
Goals: Mane 20′, Coutinho 35′; McAuley 81′
Loris Karius – 6.5 (out of 10)
Karius has come under considerable scrutiny in recent weeks, but having received the backing of his manager, the 23-year-old looked more comfortable between the sticks against the Baggies.
His distribution was particularly impressive, and while he struggled with high balls into the box late on, Karius looks to be adjusting to the role of No. 1.
Nathaniel Clyne – 7.5
The right-back provided an excellent outlet driving forward into attack, spending the majority of the game stationed alongside West Brom left-back Allan Nyom.
Clyne also defended solidly, stymieing any threat from James McClean, who made little impact in his 65 minutes on the field.
Joel Matip – 8
A formidable defensive presence, Matip was once again in great form as he marshalled the Liverpool back line, showcasing his authority and organisational skills.
Matip was also strong when it came to dealing with the physical threat of West Brom striker Salomon Rondon, and Klopp looks to have picked up an excellently all-rounder in the free-agent market.
Dejan Lovren – 7.5
Marked slightly lower than his centre-back partner having made less of a tangible impact, but Lovren was once again solid as part of Klopp’s first-choice back four.
Most notably, Lovren acknowledged when to play the ball out of defence and when to launch it towards row Z, relieving any pressure as West Brom pushed forward.
James Milner – 7.5
As useful as Clyne in defence, Milner was arguably more influential in attack, with one inch-perfect through ball in the second half setting Philippe Coutinho onto a dangerous counter-attack.
Milner conceded some sloppy fouls late on, but overall looked to be continuing his progression into a more-than-serviceable left-back under Klopp’s watchful eye.
Jordan Henderson – 7.5
Took time to find a balance alongside Emre Can in midfield, but kept up the good work in both breaking up play with tenacity and forcing his side up the field, and ensuring they stay there.
Received his fifth yellow card of the season late on, ensuring he misses Tuesday night’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup.
Emre Can – 7.5
Can kept his place in the starting lineup as Georginio Wijnaldum works his way back from injury, and after settling into his role alongside Henderson and Adam Lallana, the German impressed.
His contribution to Sadio Mane‘s opener was crucial, drawing the West Brom defence out before playing a precise pass for Roberto Firmino on the wing.
While Can tired late on, his passing throughout was crisp and incisive, and his off-ball work was highly intelligent.
Adam Lallana – 8
Making his 100th appearance for Liverpool, Lallana was restored to the starting lineup after injury, and provided his customary industry and attacking drive in Klopp’s midfield three.
He served as the Reds’ metronome in the forward areas, instigating quick, one-touch moves and leading the press when West Brom won the ball back; a reminder of his quality within Klopp’s system.
Sadio Mane – 8
The Senegalese looked to be threatening another quiet performance, after a muted showing against Manchester United on Monday night, but kicked into gear on the 20-minute mark, converting Firmino’s great cross to make it 1-0.
His pace provided a constant outlet, particularly when West Brom threatened to level the score late on, and Mane will be disappointed to have netted just the once.
Philippe Coutinho – 9 (Man of the Match)
A magical performance from Liverpool’s creative inspiration, Coutinho was in fine form throughout, instigation the Reds’ attacks with flair on the ball and great pressing when out of possession.
Navigated West Brom‘s low block through guile and sheer quality, skipping past challenges with ease and dictating play with majestic passing.
Like Mane, can be frustrated to not score more.
Roberto Firmino – 9
Coutinho will receive the plaudits for his role in the Reds’ goals at Anfield, but Firmino was just as influential, adding further fuel to the argument against starting Daniel Sturridge up front.
Played the perfect cross for Mane’s opener, and should have scored himself with a number of opportunities in the second half—but he came up against an inspired Ben Foster in goal.
Georginio Wijnaldum (on for Lallana, 79′) – 7 – Capably replaced Lallana in the more advanced midfield role, and will be content as he continues his recovery from injury.
Lucas Leiva (on for Coutinho, 88′) – N/A – Given little time to make an impact.
Divock Origi (on for Mane, 90+1′) – N/A – As with Lucas, could not affect the game.
Subs not used: Mignolet, Klavan, Moreno, Sturridge
Jurgen Klopp – 8.5
Klopp showed intelligence in his starting lineup, opting against reverting to his regular three-man midfield as he nurtures Lallana and Wijnaldum back to full fitness.
Instead, the German put his faith in his compatriot, Can, and will have been impressed by his contribution as Liverpool’s free-flowing football tore Tony Pulis’ side apart at will.
However, Klopp could have made his substitutions earlier in the game, but his decision to introduce Lucas for Coutinho late on highlighted his ability to read the situation intelligently.
Rather than pushing for another goal with abandon, Klopp took a measured approach, sealing victory over Pulis at the third time of asking.