Liverpool showed the winning mentality required to compete at the top, by securing three points against Sunderland late on.
Liverpool 2-0 Sunderland
Premier League, November 26, 2016
Goals: Origi (75), Milner (pen, 90+1)
Loris Karius – 6
Produced a decent save early on at the feet of Pienaar. Did manage to somehow put a goal kick-out for a corner… not sure you’ve ever seen that before?!
Nothing major to deal with in second half – a first clean sheet in a winning game for the German who is looking more settled in goal for the Reds.
Can’t get much more than 6 as he didn’t have much to do!
Nathaniel Clyne – 6
A steady but not spectacular game from Clyne, but certainly not at his best. Had a good chance early on in the second half but took a heavy touch – needs to start doing better in such situations.
Joel Matip – 7
Very composed, the leader at the back Liverpool have needed in recent years. Calm on the ball, making interceptions at vital times. Would get a higher mark but had very little to deal with throughout as Sunderland played so defensively.
Dejan Lovren – 6
Headed wide from Henderson’s free-kick late in the first half. Did ok defensively but wasn’t troubled too much. Looks assured alongside Matip, again can’t get too high a mark as had so little to do. 6 isn’t bad by any means!
James Milner – 6.5
Not Milner’s best game, the left-back didn’t seem to get as high up the left side as normal, especially in the first hour.
Put away his penalty with typical assuredness – his fifth of the season. Mr. Reliable.
Jordan Henderson – 6
Not great, not terrible. Certainly did his best but struggled to influence the play ahead of him with a packed and deep defence from Sunderland.
Emre Can – 7
Can and Wijnaldum often seem to be playing the same role and in the same spaces, but it was Can who provided more attacking impetus especially as the game progressed. Came close on several occasions late on.
The Dutchman had a good chance early in the second half but mishit it when he should have hit the target. Was never really able to provide the spark or pass to break down Sunderland‘s defence.
Liverpool’s midfield missed Lallana’s pressing again, with Can and Wijnaldum unable to do the job in his absence.
Sadio Mane – 6.5
Not Mane’s best game for the club and fluffed his lines when in on goal a couple of times. But did show, like the team, the winning mettle required to hold off the defender and win the penalty late on. Kept going throughout and deserves credit for that.
Struggled to get into the game during his half hour on the pitch, being man-marked by Jason Denayer.
Had began to switch sides with Mane in an attempt to lose Denayer, finding space inside the area but then connecting his foot against Didier Ngog with what looks like a serious injury to foot or ankle.
Stretchered off on 34 minutes – you’d expect him to miss at least four weeks at a crucial stage of the season. A huge blow.
Roberto Firmino – 8
Not much action in the first-half, moved to the left when Origi came on for Coutinho.
As the score remained 0-0 he was the man looking to make things happen and pushing to provide the breakthrough. Excellent, especially in second half.
Hobbled off when replaced late on, hopefully not an injury that keeps him out next week at Bournemouth.
Divock Origi – 8
After struggling so far this season in his cameo appearances, Origi took upon the challenge to lead the attack after Coutinho’s injury.
His goal was similar to one of his two goals as sub vs. Stoke at Anfield last season, expertly working the space before hitting a curled effort into the far corner of the Kop goal. Simply superb.
Lucas Leiva – N/A
On for Firmino. 87 mins.
Ben Woodburn – N/A
A nice debut for the 17-year-old, on for Wijnaldum in the 92nd minute.
Jurgen Klopp – 9
The manager had few options available to him after Coutinho’s injury and bringing on Origi meant a slight tweak in attack with Firmino moving to the left.
The second half saw Klopp about as animated as he’s been in his 14 months at Anfield – gesturing to the crowd to get behind the Reds as they sought a goal. He kicked, cheered and roared on the side through every tackle. The boss knew how important a win here was today.
Got into more than one altercation with one of Sunderland coach Paul Bracewell as things got heated.