A mixed Liverpool side ground their way to an unconvincing 1-0 win at Huddersfield Town on Saturday, but who shone brightest for the Reds?
Huddersfield Town 0-1 Liverpool
Premier League, John Smith’s Stadium
October 20, 2018
Goals: Salah 23′
Alisson (out of 10) – 6.5
The Brazilian had an early clearance charged down, as memories of that Leicester City error came flooding back, but he otherwise did well.
He was not called upon to make a save of genuine note, but he showed quality with the ball at his feet and cut a largely authoritative figure.
Joe Gomez – 7.5
Retained at right-back, in what was arguably a surprise move by Jurgen Klopp, Gomez again looked one of Liverpool’s best players.
Immaculate defensively, the 21-year-old also showcased his technical quality with an important threaded pass in the lead up to Mohamed Salah‘s opener.
Liverpool’s Player of the Year so far—a footballer of unbelievable potential.
Dejan Lovren – 5.5
Lovren kept his place in the side but it was an evening that again showed why so many are unconvinced by him.
The Croatian almost got robbed in a key area, having dithered in possession, and he was an erratic presence throughout.
It wasn’t all bad by any means, with aerial battles won and a few well-timed tackles, but he was never at ease.
Virgil van Dijk – 7
The towering Dutchman was his usual silky self at the heart of the defence, impressing in all facets of his game.
He will have more noticeable matches in which he is tested more, but it was hard to fault him at the John Smith’s Stadium.
One air-kick late on was poor, however, and almost cost the Reds dearly.
Andy Robertson – 7
Robertson continued his run as an ever-present in the Premier League this season and he was a reliable performer yet again.
Defensively he remained switched on, with Adam Lallana not always helping him out sufficiently, and his usual attacking spark was on show.
Not his most eye-catching performance, but a good one nonetheless.
Jordan Henderson – 6.5
The captain was well-rested after being suspended for England’s win over Spain and he was solid rather than spectacular in the No. 6 role.
His passing was more expansive than some of those around him, with one long-range pass to Salah particularly good, but he was part of a midfield that struggled to get a grip on the game.
Replaced at half-time with a tight hamstring—yet another post-international break injury!
James Milner – 6.5
Milner recovered from a hamstring issue in quick-fire fashion but he looked a little off the pace compared to the standards he has reached this year.
Everything felt a little more ponderous, even though his work rate was typically excellent, and it is hard to think of something telling he produced creatively.
Substituted in the second half.
Adam Lallana – 6
In what was his first Liverpool start since March, Lallana was thrown into the starting lineup by Klopp.
He looked understandably lacking during his time on the pitch, though, taking too long on the ball, not helping out Robertson enough and failing to bring much to the table in an attacking sense.
There were some nice touches, as expected, but not enough substance.
Xherdan Shaqiri – 8 (Man of the Match)
With Sadio Mane ruled out through injury, Shaqiri came into the Reds’ attack and was his side’s most dangerous player by some distance.
Every time he had the ball he looked like making something happen, with his beautiful left foot producing well-crafted passes and dangerous crosses.
A really exciting outing from the Swiss.
Mohamed Salah – 6
There was pressure on Salah to perform with neither of his trusty first-choice front-three colleagues alongside him and he was his team’s hero, albeit in another underwhelming performance.
The 26-year-old’s all-round game was not good enough, and his wastefulness saw attacks break down time and time again.
His inch-perfect finish earned Klopp’s win a massive three points, though, proving that he can be key even when far from his best.
Daniel Sturridge – 6.5
With Roberto Firmino only deemed fit enough for a place on the substitutes’ bench, Sturridge led the line in a Premier League game for the first time since November last year.
There was both good and bad from the striker, with some decent creativity on show but also a tendency to either hold on to the ball for too long or lose it cheaply.
Saw two wayward efforts miss the target but worked hard.
Starting XI Average Rating: 6.63
Gini Wijnaldum (on for Henderson, 46′) – 8 – A really strong half from the Dutchman, who took control of the midfield and displayed quality and leadership.
Fabinho (on for Lallana, 69′) – 6.5 – Solid cameo from Liverpool’s No. 3, with some important tackles made and a crisp use of the ball.
Roberto Firmino (on for Milner, 77′) – 5 – A poor showing, which is such a rarity. End product non-existent.
Subs not used: Mignolet, Origi, Matip, Alexander-Arnold
Jurgen Klopp – 7
Klopp took a risk with some of his personnel, but rotation is essential and it made sense to field some of those who weren’t representing their countries during the international break.
It paid off in the end, with Liverpool going level on points with Man City at the top of the table, but the performance was disappointing and disjointed.
He will be concerned about the lack of end product on show and it is time the Reds up their level, before they drop costly points.