Liverpool edged out Leicester City to an entertaining 2-1 victory at Anfield on Saturday, and one diminutive Egyptian stood out yet again.
Liverpool 2-1 Leicester City
Premier League, Anfield
December 30, 2017
Goals: Salah 52′, 76′; Vardy 2′
Loris Karius – 6 (out of 10)
He could do nothing about Jamie Vardy’s opener, but he saved from Harry Maguire late in the day and flapped at a late cross.
Handling good, kicking iffy.
Joe Gomez – 7.5
It was yet another mature, dominant showing from Gomez, who defended well and got forward effectively.
One superb effort from range flew wide of Kasper Schmeichel’s goal, and his poise on the ball and linkup play really caught the eye.
Centre-back is still his more natural role moving forward, though.
Joel Matip – 6
Matip doesn’t receive anywhere near the criticism Dejan Lovren does, but he once again showed that he is a far-from-blameless individual in Liverpool’s shaky defence.
The 26-year-old’s misplaced pass failed to find Emre Can, and Vardy swiftly put Leicester 1-0 up because of it, as the Reds conceded yet another sloppy.
A little too ponderous at times, but he improved a lot as the match went.
Dejan Lovren – 7
This was a reliable display from Lovren, who was rarely called into action but did his job when required.
Aerially he was strong, and some of the reckless decision-making we have seen in the past was nowhere to be seen.
He has responded well since his nightmare showing at Tottenham in October.
Andrew Robertson – 6
The Scot once again started with Alberto Moreno still on the sidelines, and it was a slightly frustrating performance.
His energy down the left flank constantly gave Liverpool an extra attacking dimension, but too many of his crosses were hopeful and wayward.
Defensively sound, with one crucial late piece of covering preventing the visitors from equalising.
Emre Can – 6
Can is such an infuriating player to watch: he has all the ingredients to be a genuinely top-class midfielder, but can flatter to deceive.
That was the case against the Foxes, with too many slack touches, rash passes and a lack of positional sense on show.
He is a winner, though, as shown by him trying to grab the ball after Mohamed Salah‘s equaliser, and his effort levels were excellent.
James Milner – 6.5
Like Can, Milner was very frustrating to watch, with some good aspects to his game, but also a number of negatives on show.
He supported the attack well, often linking up effectively with Robertson, but too often he went walkabout in the middle of the park, and the hole in the Reds’ midfield was gaping because of it.
More good than bad, however.
Philippe Coutinho – 7.5
Liverpool’s magnificent Brazilian didn’t have his best day at the office, by his ridiculous standards, but he was still a classy presence who looked likely to unlock Leicester’s miserly defence.
One trademark long-range effort flew into the hands of Schmeichel in the first half, and a beautiful one-two with Roberto Firmino almost saw him get in on goal.
Great attitude being shown at the moment.
Mohamed Salah – 8.5 (Man of the Match)
What an amazing signing, what an amazing footballer.
The 25-year-old was Liverpool’s hero yet again, scoring two clinical goals and taking his tally to an astonishing 23 in 29 games this season.
Salah did miss three great chances, but his ability not to be fazed by those moments is commendable.
A menace to the Leicester defence all afternoon, with his speed and movement something special.
Sadio Mane – 6
It just isn’t happening for Mane at the moment, with the Senegalese speedster a long way from his best.
He failed to get into the game as much as others, with a lack of confidence on show, and a poor shot before half-time summed up his current form.
He did assist Salah’s first of the day with a clever backheel, though, which goes to show he can still have an impact even when he is below par.
Roberto Firmino – 8
Another very impressive performance from Firmino, who did excellently against the combative Leicester duo of Maguire and Wes Morgan.
He did his best to make things happen, with his aforementioned one-two with Coutinho created by a wonderful backheel, and his general vision and intelligence is second to none.
Worked tirelessly from the front.
Starting XI Average Rating: 6.81
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (on for Mane, 72′) – 7
A lively presence once again, working his socks off and looking a threat up against tiring legs.
Gini Wijnaldum (on for Salah, 82′) – 6.5
Not much time to make an impact, but did his job efficiently.
Ragnar Klavan (on for Coutinho, 89′) – N/A
Only the pitch for a few minutes.
Subs not used: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Lallana, Solanke
Jurgen Klopp – 7.5
This was a massive win for Klopp, who got a very good performance out of his players in the middle of a relentless run of fixtures.
It was hard to complain about his team selection in the slightest, with the ‘Fab Four’ all starting, and he is instilling a winning mentality into the side.
These are the victories that get you into the top four. A strong way to end 2017 for the boss.
Player ratings definitions: 10 = Faultless | 9 = Excellent | 8 = Very Good | 7 = Good | 6 = Average | 5 = Below Par | 4 = Bad | 3 = Very Bad | 2 Awful | 1 = Surely Not