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Football News: Napoli v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

Napoli v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
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Napoli v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective#

 

First off, the pitch, it was dreadful. It affected the game badly. However it is not an excuse for some of the appalling things I saw on that pitch from a Liverpool team that, almost to a man, were dreadful. The defence were all over the place, the midfield were abysmal and the attack barely got near the ball. I am struggling to remember a worse performance since Klopp took over, it was shockingly bad. To a degree loose passes and touches could be put down to the pitch making things difficult, but it was not those that particularly made the performance so poor from a Liverpool point of view.

For me it is telling, despite the people that disagree with me, that Napoli only managed one late goal despite Liverpool's best efforts to help them. Napoli were only marginally less poor on the night. Sarri's Napoli of last season would have ripped LFC to shreds last night and the result could have been an embarrassing landslide. Instead Napoli under Ancelotti were just as disjointed and struggling to get going as Liverpool, they were better organised defensively though, which was the main difference, as they were able to keep a clean sheet, with no gaps down the sides to be exploited.

It must be said Allan was the outstanding player on the pitch in terms of breaking up play and stopping Liverpool from getting going, but he was no better on the ball than anyone else. Nobody excelled in that respect which is a worry at Champions League level! The worst thing about this game was having to sit through it twice. It did not make for a better viewing the second time. The performance looked even worse as you can see how little option the man on the ball was getting as there was so little movement from either side. It looked like two teams afraid to open themselves up to counter so not really going at the other and just hoping to catch a lucky break.

 

Klopp - it was a bad night for Klopp. Not only did his team lose, but they lost because he did not make adjustments to deal with the threat down the flanks. Trent was being destroyed time after time, Klopp should have made changes to deal with that. Robertson was struggling on the other flank, but he did nothing to fix that either. His substitutions were a bit different as losing Keita did completely remove most of the options he had, but they did not have the effect he hoped for. Rating: 2.5.

 

Alisson - it is worrying that he has had enough to do to have played well in recent weeks, and that he seems to be getting called into action more and more each game. Hopefully he will have a quiet time of it for the rest of the season! Rating: 8

 

Alexander-Arnold - had a mare. He had no idea what to do with himself positionally and ended up getting caught in no man's land constantly. He was constantly charging forward without spotting that this was a game for him to hold back and wait before going forward. It was like watching Moreno at his most inept and that is a worry as Trent is so much better. I hope this is just a learning experience for him, because the team can ill afford him to have many more nights like that. Rating: 1.5.

 

Gomez - thankfully one outfield player turned up and played. Gomez was the outstanding player for Liverpool, defending well, working hard, bringing the ball out from the back and generally carrying the other three members of the back four. It was not made easy for him by the rest of the team, when he was in possession he was not given many options or movement to pick out. Luckily he was able to hold on under pressure and even run the ball into midfield when the opportunity arose. Rating: 8.5.

 

van Dijk - it has been a good season for Virgil until last night. Last night he was woeful. It was like he was sleepwalking through the game as he was regularly caught completely unawares by a run and having to react. It was all the worst aspects of his game on display last night. Why that appeared then is anyone's guess, but I do wonder if he was fully fit or not. Possibly he was just playing because not having him is such a big boost to the opposition that even a half-fit van Dijk is better than not having him? Rating: 3.

 

Robertson - he really struggled. His clearances were often slashed wildly to no one and his touch was not there. However he was not put under as much scrutiny as Alexander-Arnold and so was not nearly so bad. He does need to do better next game. Rating: 3.5.

 

Wijnaldum - the midfield as a whole were awful though he was not particularly bad in comparison to the others, he was just as bad. Dithered on the ball, took too many touches, hid on his forward runs, it was like all the worst aspects of his game reared their head once more. After having a number of good games this season it is disappointing that he chose tonight to have an off game just when everyone else did as well! Rating: 3.

 

Keita - started off dreadfully and had just started to find his game when he sat down complaining of back pain and then was feeling faint and had to be taken to hospital for tests. The stoppage for his treatment did seem to kill the first half just as both teams were starting to get going and the game never seemed to recover. Rating: 4.

 

Milner - after the immense performances he has put in so far, Milner can be excused an off night. And he was really off. Looked tired, surprisingly. Rating: 5.

 

Salah - struggled to do anything with a lack of service to be fair, but he was poor. However you cannot expect much when most of the passes were up in the air and he was up against a guy who was a fair few inches taller. There were a few times he tried to do his thing, running with the ball but it was just not running right and he kept losing it. Those things really need to start breaking his way again like they did last season. Rating: 4.

 

Mane - terrible game for Mane, kept hanging on to the ball for far too long. Though he was not helped by the rest of the team at all it must be said. Rating: 3.5.

 

Firmino - even his game was a little subdued and he did not press with his usual intensity. Very disappointing for Firmino, he barely got into the game at all. Rating: 4.

 

Subs:

Henderson - came on for Keita in the 19th minute and started off by making a great tackle and playing an excellent throughball, then descended into the same mediocrity as the rest of the team. Rating: 3.5.

Fabinho - replaced a tiring Milner in the 76th minute and showed desire and willingness, but struggled to do much else. At least he looked like he wanted to get involved, which was something sorely lacking from most of the team! Rating: 4.5.

Sturridge - only needs a second to score but he also needs to be given the ball somewhere within shooting range of the goal! Only got a few minutes after replacing Mane in the 89th minute and barely saw the ball. Rating: 5.

Written by Tris Burke October 04 2018 21:13:15

 

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