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Football News: Liverpool v Barcelona - A Liverpool Perspective

Liverpool v Barcelona - A Liverpool Perspective
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Liverpool v Barcelona A Liverpool Perspective

 


What on earth can you say about a game like that? I mean apart from sorry to anyone living within about 300 miles of me that were not watching, as I have no doubt they were wondering what the hell all the noise was about! I thought I had completely lost my voice on the 3rd goal (and discovered an hitherto undiscovered ability to tap dance, breakdance and jump around like a lunatic all at the same time) but found it was still there for the 4th. In fact it seemed to have got a lot louder. No matter how many times I check, just to be sure it was not a dream, it still finished 4-0 to send Liverpool through. Unbelievable.

I have decided to forget about being critical today, as the defensive lapses just allowed Alisson to play his part in the result and stop it being a completely one-sided game and give him the chance to be a hero as well. Also it is just not possible to be critical of any of the players, they all gave their all and did more than anyone could ever ask. I cannot fault any of them and they all deserve the credit.

The one thing I am going to be critical of is the referee. He was poor, particularly in the first half, as Barca did not get enough of the ball for him to favour them in the second. However, even Ed004 (our Man Utd ed) was cracking jokes at half-time about how the rules do not apply to Barca. Even after treatment their player, Lenglet, was not told to go off the pitch, but every time a Liverpool player was treated he had to go off.

 


Valverde - had no idea what to do. There was no clear tactical plan or idea of how to deal with this game at all. He just allowed it to slip away from them. It is little wonder he is so unpopular despite Barca winning the league, he just is not a good manager at all and his only plan is to put Messi in and cross his fingers that the Argentinian will win the game for him. When Messi does not play well, he has no idea what to do. Rating: 0.

 

ter Stegen - did not play well, but still made a couple of saves to keep the score down. Probably should have done better with at least one of the goals, but that is maybe harsh. Rating: 2.

 

Roberto - a strange choice to start with Roberto, he struggled in the first leg and looked no better in this one. Really out of his depth and overrun for 90 minutes. I almost felt sorry for him. He was just one weak link amongst many in this game though. Rating: 0.

 

Pique - I have never been a fan of him defensively but usually he is very good on the ball, not here though. He was stinking up the place. His usual weak defending was turned up a couple of notches and he really struggled on the ball as well. Rating: 0.

 

Lenglet - hard to believe he was even bought by Barcelona, I have no idea what they saw. His defending is poor, he is not particularly outstanding on the ball, lacks pace, is error-prone and is weak. His performance here was just more evidence he lacks quality. Rating: 0.

 

Alba - awful performance from a usually good player. His performance was littered with errors and he was like a little boy lost at times. Totally overwhelmed by the occasion by the looks of it and he was not the only one. Rating: 0.5.

 

Vidal - put himself about but was a dollar short and a day late most of the time and his touch and passing was poor. He looks like his party lifestyle is catching up with him and he was just physically outmatched, something he is not used to. Rating: 1.

 

Busquets - too slow, too weak, too poor on the ball and simply not the player people believe he is without Iniesta and Xavi to carry him and Vidal unable to protect him. Rating: -1.

 

Rakitic - could not cope with the physical pace and power of the Liverpool midfield and was unable to get any control of the game. Rating: 0.5.

 

Coutinho - was he even there? May as well have had a night off. Rating: 0.

 

Messi - when anyone wonders why his captaincy is questioned, they just have to watch back this game and see how little he did to help his team. Not just the way he strolled around waiting for the ball to come to him when they were under the cosh, but his whole attitude was that of defeat from the moment the first goal went in. Give him the ball and he will run with it causing problems, but that is it. There is no leadership, no effort. Greatest of all time? Not even close. Rating: 1.5.

 

Suarez - did make a couple of good runs but his main contribution was in diving and a sly little kick that injured Robertson. Rating: 0.

 

Subs:

Semedo - replaced Coutinho after 60 minutes. Immediately caused a few problems with his runs forward, something no one else had done. Rating: 5.

Arthur - brought on in place of Vidal after 75 minutes. Did more in his short time on the pitch than Vidal managed. Like all the rest he was struggling to cope with Liverpool's extra man in midfield. Rating: 4.

Malcom - took the place of Rakitic after 80 minutes. Struggled to get into the game at all. When he did get the ball he tended to give it away. Rating: 3.

 


Klopp - played it perfectly, even in the lead up to the game to ensure the players knew they could do it but without putting pressure or expectations on them. Had everyone from the crowd to the team to the Barcelona team believing Liverpool could do it and only needed that early first goal to ensure it happened. He has brought this team so far it is unbelievable. Rating: 10.

 

Alisson - absolutely brilliant. Pulled out saves when needed, collected a cross just when it looked like the pressure would build and never gave Barca hope. When a big game was required he produced it. Rating: 10.

 

Alexander-Arnold - his delivery was, as usual, exceptional. His workrate outstanding and the vision and quick thinking for the winner was out of this world. His defending was also much better. Even when he made a mistake, such as a loose header, he worked to win it back and then put in a cross for Wijnaldum to score. Some of his passing was Xabi Alonso-like. Rating: 10.

 

Matip - gave Barcelona no time to breathe. He pressed up high as always but made sure to win his challenges and bullied the Barca forwards physically. Rating: 10.

 

van Dijk - one of his imperious games which he bestrode like a colossus. Rating: 10.

 

Robertson - did more in one half than the entire Barcelona team managed in 90 minutes. His performances have stepped up a few levels over the last few games. Rating: 10.

 

Milner - it is no wonder he was out on his feet at the end, Klopp almost had to hold him up. Milner was everywhere in the first half and then played a blinder at left back. He has been an integral part of the club's success this season. Rating: 10.

 

Henderson - absolutely superb. Non-stop running, even in the dying moments he was breaking forward. Cajoling more from his team-mates and never gave it up. Rating: 10.

 

Shaqiri - gave his all and his attempt to gee up Sturridge when he came on to replace him was worth watching the game for alone. It was so nice to see him show real desire and commitment to the cause. Rating: 10.

 

Mane - just too good for Barcelona. Was so much better than they could cope with. He was skipping past their defenders at will. Rating: 10.

 

Origi - so alert and composed to score the winner. Another who gave his all, which is why he had to be taken off towards the end with cramp after he ran himself into the ground. Two goals and a superb performance as he showed he has the ability to perform at this level. Rating: 10.

 

Fabinho - absolutely brilliant. Strode the difficult line between being physical and over physical. Rating: 10.

 

Subs:

Wijnaldum - replaced the injured Robertson after 45 minutes. Came on for the second half and showed that the Liverpool midfield can offer goals. His Cruyff turn as he was put under pressure by two Barca players and forced backwards was a thing of beauty. Rating: 10.

Gomez - was brought on for Origi in the 85th minute. Never really had time to do much but he helped close out the game just when the team showed signs of tiring. Rating: 7.

Sturridge - brought on in the 90th minute for Shaqiri. Came on too late to effect the play, sadly for him. 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 May 08 2019 15:47:56

 

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