Match 64
Game Details
Match 63
Game Details

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Football Whispers

Transfer Rater: Marco Asensio to Liverpool

Football Whispers

Transfer Rater: Alex Telles to Liverpool

Football Whispers
 By Steven Kelly

Mignolet penalty stop saves Coutinho-inspired Liverpool at Leicester

Liverpool got the hardest three points they'll earn all season with a thrilling, narrow win at King Power Stadium. Questions will be again asked about how difficult they make things for themselves, but credit needs to be given to Leicester's spirit.


There was magic from Philippe Coutinho and a good contribution off the bench from Daniel Sturridge, both of which should have provided more breathing space for Liverpool.


More panic at the back, though that wasn't helped by questionable decisions near the end of the first half. Even at 2-0 and 3-1 fans can never relax and it's that vulnerability in the air that encourages opponents to persist.

Manager rating out of 10

7 -- Jurgen Klopp got his selection right and even his substitutions gave some impetus. Defensive weakness still haunts him, though, and make everyone else's job harder as a result.

Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Simon Mignolet, 7 -- He almost symbolises this Liverpool, in that he's great at the flashy stuff but poor at the basics. He was unlucky a foul on him wasn't spotted for the first Leicester goal but a baffling decision to kick conceded a penalty and almost threw away two points. Fortunately, he is excellent at saving penalties, his denial of Jamie Vardy was his seventh stop from 15 spot kicks faced as a Liverpool player.

DF Joe Gomez, 6 -- A steady, no-thrills first-half performance but he was identified as a weakness the longer the game went on. Dived into a tackle at 3-1 when containment was needed and Vardy subsequently made it a closer match. On another day such errors can really hurt.

DF Joel Matip, 6 -- Erratic. His moments of strength are mixed with others of fear and nervous clearances that can go anywhere. He was too naïve when being conned by Vardy into conceding the free kick that led to Leicester's first goal.

DF Dejan Lovren, 6 -- Lots of headers won but he was uncomfortable on the ball throughout. He stood strong during a late siege but still exudes panic and a lack of solidity at vital moments. He and Matip got away with this one; they may not in future.

DF Alberto Moreno, 7 -- Continued his improvement and made numerous charges forward that gave Liverpool momentum in the first half. It was much more about his defensive side in the second period but not even one or two scary moments could deflect from his general efficiency.

Simon Mignolet committed the foul that conceded a penalty but his subsequent save atone for the error.

MF Jordan Henderson, 7 -- A little more like the old Henderson, he was busy and mostly disciplined unlike his two central partners. He took his goal excellently and wasn't afraid to get into the referee's face and try to ensure his side weren't bullied.

MF Emre Can, 6 -- Often casual and ill-disciplined with positioning, particularly when his team was under the cosh. He seems to relish going forward and hit the post with a great shot, but his role is supposed to be based on breaking up play and covering his defence. Most of the time he didn't do either and his substitution wasn't a shock.

MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 5 -- Another invisible away performance; while he seems to work hard, he rarely gets to grips with the game. Kept going right to the end -- one of his qualities -- but needs to have more influence during the earlier stages.

FW Philippe Coutinho, 8 -- Made one and scored one with a typically immaculate set piece; this was Coutinho of old. He's still not up to speed physically, hence his substitution, but he nevertheless more than played his part in victory.

FW Mohammed Salah, 7 -- Missed an early sitter but made up for it minutes later with a neat far-post header. Salah kept going to the final whistle, though he could have helped out Gomez a little more. However, as Liverpool's main striker he does his job.

FW Roberto Firmino, 5 -- Not one of his better days. Very little stuck to him and, when a chance to give Liverpool a 3-0 cushion came, he sliced it wide in another indication of the pressure Liverpool's forwards are under because of the defensive issues.


FW Daniel Sturridge, 7 -- An excellent cameo from the England man, who was calm in possession, set up Henderson's goal superbly and almost scored himself. Sturridge can't duplicate Firmino's work rate but does provide an alternate style late in a game.

MF James Milner, NR -- Brought on as a wiser head than that of Can and gave Gomez a little more protection than he'd received before.

MF Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, NR -- This was better from the new arrival, who showed one or two creative moments that might have clinched the game had the chances been taken.

Steven Kelly is one of ESPN FC's Liverpool bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @SteKelly198586.


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