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Football News: Liverpool v Porto - A Liverpool Perspective

Liverpool v Porto - A Liverpool Perspective
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Liverpool v Porto A Liverpool Perspective

 


An exciting almost completely end-to-end clash as Porto tried to go toe-to-toe with Liverpool but just got found to lack the quality in the final third to match the Reds. Conceicao certainly cannot be accused of lacking bottle, considering Porto lost 5-0 on aggregate to Liverpool last season. His bravery was not enough though as his team are just not quite good enough at this level of the game to take teams on.

It was a case of the cream rising to the top, as Porto's chances all fell to Marega, who is far from clinical in his play. If they had a decent goalscorer, it might, might, have been a different result. However, I think if Marega was a deadly finisher, I am sure Liverpool would have never have given him the space to run into. The tactics were based on assessing the risks and feeling they had more chance of scoring than conceding, and it paid off.

 


Conceicao - he certainly was brave to try and go at Liverpool, after the way Porto folded last season against them, but it never worked for him. There were chances for his team, but they lack genuine quality up top. However it was clear he had done his homework and had spotted the huge gap that is left behind Alexander-Arnold when he goes forward, as that was the space his team constantly exploited to get in on goal. However his odd decisions on player positions cost his team. Rating: 5.

 

Casillas - while I am not a big fan of him, he was massively overrated in the past, he did have a decent game, despite fumbling the one shot he actually did get to save. Oddly never really had much to do, as the defence in front of him blocked most shots. Rating: 6.

 

Pereira - struggled badly in an unfamiliar role. Never really figured out the position he should take up and needed Corona to get back and cover for him multiple times. Rating: 2.

 

Felipe - seemed the best of the centre backs for Porto. It was a difficult night for him having to cover and not leave a gap in behind him. He can take a lot of credit from last night though as he did well positionally and made it difficult for Liverpool to work clear cut openings. Rating: 6.5.

 

Militao - I know Real Madrid just splashed out big money to sign him for the summer, but this performance was not one to fill them with confidence they signed the right player. He struggled to cope with the movement and his positioning was extremely suspect, as was his ability to deal with players running at him. Rating: 4.

 

Corona - was woefully unsuited to the role he was asked to play but he kept on going, giving it everything he had. Provided decent defensive cover when pulled back deeper, but, by then they were 2-0 down. Rating: 6.5.

 

Danilo - found himself badly outnumbered in the centre of midfield and struggled, playing more like a firefighter rushing here and there trying to close out attacks. Only to find he was bypassed a lot of the time. Gave it his all but was just overrun at times. Rating: 6.

 

Torres - kept straying too far forward and left Danilo trying to deal with the whole Liverpool midfield pretty much on his own at times. Not a bad player, played some decent balls, but needed to help Danilo out more. Rating: 5.5.

 

Telles - had a few moments of good defensive work, but mostly was bypassed too easily as he seemed unsure of his positioning. He did work hard but it was a difficult role. Rating: 4.

 

Otavio - showed some nice touches but was unable to really show his ability. It was the type of game he was suited for. Rating: 5.5.

 

Soares - worked hard but was often caught too deep to support Marega and give him an option. Rating: 6.

 

Marega - he could have racked up a really high rating, with his power and pace he made full use of the gap behind Alexander-Arnold and gave Lovren a torrid night. Lacks quality, and his finishing was awful. Rating: 7.

 

Subs:

Brahimi - replaced Soares in the 62nd minute. Never really got into the game and his skills never got a chance to shine. Rating: 5.

Costa - took the place of Torres in the 73rd minute. Another who failed to really impose himself on the match. Rating: 5.

Andrade - brought on in the 77th minute to replace Pereira. Did get a few chances to cause problems and offered good movement, but never got enough of the ball. Rating: 5.5.

 


Klopp - made bold calls on team selection, bringing in Lovren and Milner for the suspended Robertson and not even putting Moreno on the bench. The Milner call certainly paid off, though it is arguable whether the Lovren one did. Neither centre back entirely fill me with confidence, though Lovren on his day is excellent, you never know if it will be his day or not! A clean sheet and a win suggests it was the right selection though it was never entirely a comfortable lead with Marega getting far too much space. The risk taken paid off this time, but he will need to rethink it for the return leg. Rating: 6.

 

Alisson - there were a few shaky moments, a mix up with van Dijk, a ball he could have caught but palmed onto Alexander-Arnold and a couple of fluffed kicks. The mix up with van Dijk was as much the defender's fault for not just dealing with it and trying to be clever, but he should have been telling van Dijk that and not come out. Importantly though, when it mattered he made the saves and kept the ball out of the net. Rating: 6.

 

Alexander-Arnold - a constant menace going forward but Marega exploited the space he left behind. His defensive contribution is worrying, he gets back but offers little reading of the game and regularly gets caught by a man running off him while he is ball watching. While his contribution to the play with the ball is excellent and pretty much makes up for his weakness defending, it is something he needs to look to learn from. Rating: 6.5.

 

Lovren - looked rusty and a bit out of tune with van Dijk. Marega gave him a torrid time, but he kept on going, he will be wanting a lot more help from van Dijk in a similar situation in the future. There was no one dropping in behind him to provide cover while he was up against Marega and that was always going to be a problem when Marega has such an edge in terms of pace and power. Rating: 2.5.

 

van Dijk - some good long range passes but his defending was shaky at best. He was constantly looking to get on the front foot and make an interception, when it was clear the ball was always going to be dropped in behind Lovren where the space was. Whenever Porto got the ball at the feet of a midfielder, he should have been looking to drop off and cover Lovren, instead of just leaving him to deal with the Porto forward alone.

There has been a number of times now this season that he has failed to take responsibility for a ball going in behind him and tried to get Alisson to come out for. He should just deal with them if they are not 100% going to the keeper. He is trying to be calm and composed when sometimes you just have to put it out and argue about it later.

He takes a lot of risks with his positioning, relying on his pace and power to get him out of difficulty, and it works for him because he has the ability to do it. However, it is a partnership at centre half, he needs to adjust his game to suit his partner in defence and the opponent at hand. Marega was cutting in from the left, he needed to read that better and set himself to deal with that.

It was interesting how much less joy Marega had when he switched central and was right up against the defensive pair, rather than being able to isolate Lovren. Hopefully the coaches will be going over that with them as it is about the only real weakness van Dijk has is his partner at the back! Rating: 5.

 

Milner - was less attacking than Alexander-Arnold and Keita and Mane ahead of him had the Porto right side pushed right back, so he was never really stretched defensively and able to play with much more freedom and control. He was able to contribute heavily on the attack because of that. Rating: 7.5.

 

Henderson - another excellent game, he was providing the pressing, the passing and the quality in midfield. Little more to be said of a captain's performance. Rating: 8.5.

 

Fabinho - not one of his better performances as he was missed out defensively, with Porto always looking to go wide and long, he was never able to really impose himself on the game defensively. On the ball he was better, as he saw a fair bit of the ball and he was his usual tidy self, though not as incisive as he is at his absolute best. Rating: 6.5.

 

Keita - scored and was a threat all the time. Was always busy, pressing and buzzing around the Porto players when they had the ball and made some good forward runs. Really starting to look like the player that he was expected to be. Rating: 7.5.

 

Mane - may not have scored himself, but he gave the right side of their team a horrible night and ran them ragged. He is such a nightmare for defenders as he never gives them a moment's peace. Rating: 8.

 

Salah - was very lucky not to get a card and once more it just was not quite running for him in front of goal. Overall, like Mane, he was causing them real problems and Eder spent more time dealing with him than he would have liked because Salah had the beating of his man. Rating: 8.

 

Firmino - you can rely on Firmino to press, harry and win the ball back high. He offers skill and vision, though his passing can often be a little loose, and, when he scores as well, you just have to be thankful he is a Liverpool player. He is so much more than a mere 'false 9', he is the fulcrum of the attack and the first line of the defence. Rating: 8.5.

 

Subs:

Origi - replaced Mane in the 73rd minute. Showed some good direct running and gave their tiring backline more problems. Rating: 6.

Sturridge - was brought on instead of Firmino in the 82nd minute. I just struggle to look past the moment when he bottled a challenge that was in his favour, but he pulled out. Rating: 3.5.

Shaqiri - Jumped around on the sidelines waiting to get on but the ball never went out. I just had to include him for the look on his face when the whistle went for full-time. I felt so sorry for him then! Rating: 5.

 

Just to explain my ratings. I have gone for what I believe is more simple than the usual of totting up points. I have decided to go with 5 as having no effect on the game other than being a body on the pitch. Anything below 5 is a player who had a negative effect on his team and anything above 5 as a positive effect. So a goal scored would be a positive effect and add to the rating, whereas giving away a penalty with a needless challenge would take away from it.

Written by Tris Burke April 10 2019 21:39:11

 

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