The game plan was clear, but executing it was beyond our capabilities today, with Liverpool running out comfortable 2-0 winners at Anfield tonight.
Here’s my thoughtson each player’s performance and my marks out of 10 for each.
NUFC XI – (3-4-2-1): Dubravka – Lejeune, Lascelles, Dummett – Diame, Merino– Murphy, Atsu, Kenedy – Gayle
Dubravka – 6.5 – Was decisive with the vast majority of balls into the box and quick off his line to help take pressure off the defence, however he did flap and get nowhere near one cross. Aside from that, it was another pretty assured display.
Lascelles – 7 – Put in a few big blocks and was typically no nonsense, keeping us organised at the back, however he was lucky to stay on the pitch in the end with him nudging Salah over as he was through on goal late on.
Lejeune – 7.5 – A composed display. Made some crucial interceptions and looked confident on the ball, getting us out of trouble cleverly on a few occasions. Another assured display following his return to the side.
Dummett – 8* – Played as a left-sided centre-back and did a brilliant job on Mo Salah for the most part, often giving him little room to manoeuvre when Liverpool looked to pick out their top scorer. He was caught out for his goal, however this came from a slightly unfortunate ricochet which threw off the entire NUFC back line. An impressive display from Dummett, showing once again that he is a very solid and switched on defender despite his offensive limitations.
Yedlin – 6 – Did ok at right-wing back considering he had the attack minded Mane and Robertson to contend with down their left-hand side. Could’ve done better going forward, with him sometimes failing to play the right pass or lacking quality in his final ball.
Diame – 6 – Often found himself outnumbered by Liverpool’s high energy midfield, but did press them well and make a few powerful bursts forward from midfield. Also had our best effort of the game, seeing a superb edge of the box strike saved miraculously by Karius.
Merino – 4 – Struggled with the intensity of Liverpool’s midfield and looked quite off the pace. He gave the ball a way too often and appeared to be pretty leggy late on, with him making way for Hayden as a result. He’ll have to get back to his best and quick with Shelvey set to miss Southampton next weekend.
Kenedy – 4 – He looked like a polished player in his first few games for NUFC, but there were signs of his sloppiness and naivety in this one. He did skill in areas he shouldn’t, was erratic at times and gave away the ball sloppily in the build up to Liverpool’s second. He’s a talent, but he wasn’t at it today.
Atsu – 5 – Was the one player trying to offer an out ball alongside Gayle, making runs out wide or in behind Liverpool’s defence, however he didn’t really get into the game. He did get back and protect Yedlin well however, even getting back at one stage to stop Salah in his own box! Good to see his energy levels up after a few lethargic displays. Final ball needs to be better, mind.
Murphy – 4 – We had little of the ball, however he constantly felt on the fringes of the game. He enjoyed the odd decent run but it never really came to much. He’s got pace and the ability to beat a man, but his overall contribution on the game needs to be much more if he’s going to nail down a place in Rafa’s side.
Gayle – 4 – He was isolated for large parts of the game and really struggled to get into it. A willing runner as always, but he had just 16 touches in the game. A stat that says it all really.
Joselu – offered more than Gayle did during his short stint on the pitch, having a venomous goal bound shot well blocked. Won a few flicks ons, but again was quite isolated.
Hayden and Perez also featured but didn’t have any real impact on the game.