A disappointing defeat after taking the lead in the early stages, but we didn’t disgrace ourselves today against a Champions League winning Liverpool side.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with my marks out of 10:
NUFC XI: (5-4-1): Dubravka – Krafth, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Willems – Almiron, Hayden, Shelvey, Atsu – Joelinton – SUBS: Muto, Manquillo, Fernandez.
Dubravka – 6 – He could do nothing about Mane’s first goal, but had an absolute shocker for their second, taking his eyes off the ball and failing to gather a ball in behind, allowing Mane to tap into an empty net as a result. He did redeem himself in the second half, however, making a few key saves to deny Alexander-Arnold and Robertson before Salah made it 3-1.
Krafth – 4 – A bit of a shocker from the Swede today, with him struggling at both ends. He made an error for their equaliser, over-committing in a 50/50 with Robertson, allowing the full-back to cut inside tee up Mane to score. From then on in he got nowhere near Robertson or Mane, but it got worse in the second half as he missed huge chance, blazing over from close range. I don’t want to hammer him too much as he was up against Robertson and Mane, but he was very poor today.
Schar – 6 – Played a good ball up to Atsu in the build up to Willems’ early goal and was steady at the back. Made a few rash challenges which could’ve got him in trouble on another day, but made one brilliant last ditch header to deny Firmino in the second half. Limped off late on, so we’ll have to hope he’s ok for next weeks’ big game vs Brighton.
Lascelles – 6 – The skipper made a few crucial blocks and interceptions, but took a few unnecessary risk on the ball in the second half for a player who isn’t too comfortable with the ball at his feet. Got a vital touch on a dangerous Alexander-Arnold cross to take the ball off Origi’s head early on and made one crucial block in the second half, but was very lucky not to given away a penalty after pull on Matip at 0-1.
Dummett – 7 – A typically solid display. Was no nonsense all afternoon and helped support Willems to keep Salah quiet early on. Made one outstanding block to cut out a dangerous Alexander-Arnold cut back and didn’t do much wrong all game.
Willems – 7.5* – Scored a stunning goal early on to give us a shock 0-1 lead, showing impressive footwork and proving how good his ‘weak’ right foot is, smashing a brilliant strike into the top corner. He also used the ball well and showed an impressive range of passing, swinging in a very dangerous cross and playing a few cutting balls into attacking areas. Defended well in the first half but did seem to tire a little in the second.
Hayden – 7 – Made several strong and well timed tackles early on and got around Liverpool’s midfield immediately. A few loose touches, but he put his body on the line, covered a lot of ground and tracked back well.
Shelvey – 6 – I feared for him against a high-energy Liverpool side, but he worked hard and stood up to the test pretty well against a three-man Liverpool midfield. I thought he played a few too many hopeful punts up the pitch at times, but he put in a decent shift.
Almiron – 6 – His pace gave us a decent attacking outlet early on, but he spent a lot of time running the other way in a bid to protect Krafth against Robertson and Mane. He worked hard, carried the ball well and had plenty neat touches, but failed to make any real impact in the final third.
Atsu – 7 – Once again, the Ghanaian was a real threat in attack and caused Liverpool problems. He made a good run and controlled brilliantly before setting up Willems’ opener, and would’ve bagged another assist if Krafth could finish, with him picking the Swede out with a brilliant cross after a good run down our left. He looked sharp on the ball and linked up well with Joelinton, but did lose the ball in a dangerous area just moments before Mane’s second.
Joelinton – 7 – The big Brazilian put in another quietly impressive display. He was a handful and held off Matip on more than one occasion, holding up the ball well and linking up nicely to give us a platform to build on in attack. He didn’t get many sightings of goal, but he worked hard, looked strong and showed good movement.
Manquillo – 6 – Did OK and helped steady the ship down our right-hand side, replacing Emil Krafth in the second half.
Muto – 5 – A few nice touches and plenty of running, but needs to learn how to keep himself onside!
Fernandez – N/A – Wasn’t on long enough to earn a rating, with him coming on for Schar late on.