Simon Mignolet's errors undoes Danny Ings' impact for Liverpool
It was another frustrating afternoon for Liverpool as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Anfield by newly promoted Norwich City. Daniel Sturridge was back in the starting lineup after a long absence, but it was Danny Ings who provided the spark for the Reds when he opened the scoring almost immediately after coming on as a half-time substitute.
In terms of performance, this was the best Liverpool have looked this season, and they created several good opportunities to add to Ings' strike, but ultimately the improved display counted for little as a howler by goalkeeper Simon Mignolet allowed Russell Martin to equalise.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Simon Mignolet, 5 -- Will be disappointed with Norwich's goal, which came after he spilled a corner. He simply has to deal with that situation better, although he did make a vital save shortly after to prevent Norwich from taking the lead.
DF Emre Can, 6 -- Restored to right-back, the position he excelled in last season, he had a mostly comfortable afternoon. Defended well when called upon and made some foraging runs forward. Can looked slightly less effective after being moved into a defensive midfield role for the final 20 minutes.
DF Martin Skrtel, 6 -- Seemed to enjoy the physical battle with Cameron Jerome and generally came out on top. Much like Liverpool's other defenders, he seems much happier in a back three and with that added security of an extra defender he even took the opportunity to carry the ball forward on occasion.
DF Mamadou Sakho, 7 -- Typically assured performance from the Frenchman who was restored to the side in place of Dejan Lovren. The crowd was happy to see him back in the team and his name was chanted at regular intervals throughout the game whenever he made a challenge or showed assurance on the ball.
MF Nathaniel Clyne, 6 -- Not ideally suited to playing wing-back as he's more of an overlapping type of full-back. It's difficult to overlap when you have nobody in front of you though, and so his impact in attack was predictably limited. Defended stoutly enough, as he always does.
MF Lucas Leiva, 7 -- The Brazilian performed his duties to a good level before he was sacrificed for the more attack-minded Roberto Firmino late on. Lucas' passing was crisp and precise and he pressed the ball well and regularly won back possession. The substitution was in no way a reflection of his performance.
MF James Milner, 6 -- Had a difficult start and was booked inside two minutes after being caught in possession and pulling back his man. Became more and more influential as the first half wore on and his late runs into the box were a feature of Liverpool's play. Perhaps could have done better with a couple of shooting opportunities and his set-pieces left an awful lot to be desired.
MF Alberto Moreno, 8 -- Comfortably the Spaniard's best game for the club. He was outstanding throughout and heavily involved in almost everything good Liverpool did, especially in the first half. As well as creating a goal for Ings, he provided a succession of dangerous crosses, showed great pace and desire to get up and down the left flank and went close to a winner late on when he stung the palms of John Ruddy. Hopefully this game can be a turning point for him in his Anfield career.
MF Philippe Coutinho, 5 -- Struggled to make his usual impact on the game and was guilty of squandering a glorious opportunity to win the match when he led a two against one break but inexplicably failed to square the ball to Ings for a tap in, instead opting to go it alone and producing a weak finish that was saved by Ruddy.
FW Daniel Sturridge, 6 -- Handed a surprise start and performed better than expected given the amount of time he's been out. Failed to take a presentable opportunity in the first half when he opted to shoot first-time rather than take a touch to set himself. With a few more games behind him that's the type of chance he'll expect to convert. Replaced after an hour by Adam Lallana as a precaution, but just having him back on the field is a big boost to Liverpool.
FW Christian Benteke, 6 -- Given a partner for the first time this season but the pairing with Sturridge didn't really click and more work will need to be done on the training ground. Held the ball up well at times but was not given much service and was replaced at the break after complaining of a tight hamstring.
FW Danny Ings, 8 -- Completely transformed Liverpool's attacking play. Showed just what Liverpool have been lacking for 12 months as he continually looked to run in behind and trouble defenders. His tireless movemnet and constant harrying of the opposition have already made him a popular figure with the fans and he may have played himself into a starting role with this display.
MF Adam Lallana, 6 -- Came on for Sturridge and showed some nice touches around the penalty area, but to no avail.
FW Roberto Firmino, NR -- Replaced his Brazilian compatriot Lucas and looked quite lively playing alongside Ings. Brought a save from Ruddy with his first touch and this was the sharpest he's looked so far.
Dave Usher is one of ESPN FC's Liverpool bloggers. Follow him on Twitter: @theliverpoolway.