There were no standout performances from Liverpool tonight, but that doesn’t matter considering we picked up another three points to go level with Manchester United in 6th, five points off fourth.
Here’s how we rated the players:
GK) Simon Mignolet – 7/10
Made a sharp stop off Defoe, Sunderland’s only attacking threat, early on. Solid from corners and another clean-sheet from the Belgian. Needs a slap on the back after recent criticism.
DR) Nathaniel Clyne – 7/10
Clyne smashed an early 40-yard thunderbolt into Mannone’s arms, but if it had been a few yards to either side, we’re looking at a goal of the season contender. Was involved in the goal, playing in Lallana who slipped in the keeper. Solid elsewhere.
DL) Alberto Moreno – 6.5/10
Always an outlet high up on the left flank, Moreno was rarely too creative, but worked incredibly hardly. Booked late on for a stupid lunge on Duncan Watmore.
DC) Dejan Lovren – 7.5/10
Commanding and improving every week. Lovren picked the right moments to make lunging tackles, and was composed rather than reckless. On current form, he’s our best centre-back, something we’d never have type back in September.
DC) Mamadou Sakho – 6.5/10
It wasn’t pretty but it was mainly effective. The Frenchman continued his partnership with Lovren at the back and the pair now have kept five clean-sheets in seven matches starting together. Looked like he’d picked up a horrible injury late on, but thankfully he carried on despite squirming in pain.
MC) Emre Can – 7.5/10
Hustled and bustled his way through, winning tackles and headers but occasionally misplacing passes. When he got himself in the final third he lacked composure, but showed some serious energy in defence. Can’s proving he’s more than capable of performing in a midfield two.
MC) Jordan Henderson – 6.5/10 (Lucas – 60′)
Limped off early and returned, but after the hour mark, he left the field completely, injured, after a typically all-action performance. Let’s just hope it’s not going to keep him out for any matches. We need him. Badly.
AMR) Adam Lallana – 6/10
Got the assist for Benteke’s goal, but we don’t reckon he meant it. Bar this moment, Lallana was quiet and on current form, he’ll do well to keep his spot in the side.
AML) Coutinho – 7/10 (Ibe – 82′)
So tidy when cutting infield from the left. Coutinho ticked us over and was the go-to player for Liverpool in the final third. His moments of magic didn’t lead to chances, but he threatened genius all evening rather than producing it.
AMC) Roberto Firmino – 7/10 (Toure 90′)
Played through on goal in the 9th minute, Firmino kicked it out for a goal-kick, but he was getting in the right positions. He then smashed a 25-yarder against the post and also headed too close to Mannone, in what was an improved but ultimately unrewarded performance.
FC) Christian Benteke – 7.5/10
For the second time in four days, Benteke scored our winner. The giant Belgian was too quiet throughout, but turned it on when it mattered – getting on the end of Lallana’s accidental through-ball and finishing sweetly past Mannone. Still, he missed a one-on-one late on, just as he did on Boxing Day.
Lucas – 7/10 – Shored us up when he came on.
Jordon Ibe – 6/10 – Added pace but missed a sitter.
Kolo Toure – n/a