Here’s how we rated the players from today’s FA Cup tie with West Ham.
The Reds drew 0-0, but the youngsters largely impressed.
GK) Simon Mignolet – 7/10
Starting ahead of Danny Ward, Mignolet had virtually nothing to do in the first, but caught (almost) everything today. A decent display following his penalty heroics, but did flap again late on.
DR) Nathaniel Clyne – 6/10
Deemed fit to start ahead of Jon Flanagan, Clyne struggled to get up the flank, but did have a rasping shot narrowly over the bar in the second. Great news that he’s fit again.
DL) Brad Smith – 6.5/10
Confident as ever, Smith saw plenty of the ball but couldn’t produce the kind of telling left-footed cross we’ve so far become accustomed to.
DC) Steven Caulker – 7/10
Making his first start for the Reds, Caulker looked comfortable at the back and definitely provided a strong aerial presence. This performance will do his chances of getting Premier League minutes some good. Lucky not to give a penalty away following a hand-ball in the second, however.
DC) Dejan Lovren – 7/10
Back from injury, it’s a testament to Lovren’s improvement how much we’ve missed him during his hamstring absence. The Croat looked good alongside Caulker and did what he had to do with minimal fuss. We’d never thought we’d say this previously, but with all centre-backs fit, Lovren is currently the first choice.
DMC) Kevin Stewart – 7.5/10
Another start for the 22-year-old. Stewart was feisty in holding midfield and got stuck in, providing a base for Allen and Brannagan to drive forward. Composed in general. Provides little in attack, but what does that matter when he’s an anchorman? Promising.
MC) Joe Allen – 7/10
Skippering the side for the first time, Allen was always happy to play an ambitious pass, but this sometimes meant he gave the ball away too. His passing ability carved chances though – and he could’ve added to his goal tally had he not blasted over from a second-half cut-back.
MC) Cameron Brannagan – 8/10 (Sinclair – 86′)
Whipped in a few nice deliveries and had a 25 yard left-foot strike tipped wide. Brannagan looked confident and like he’s ready to feature more at this level. Barely gave the ball away, but most importantly – wanted to take responsibility.
AMR) Jordon Ibe – 6/10 (Ojo ’80’)
Ibe had the job of being Liverpool’s primary creative threat, but many of his chances sadly ended in West Ham possession. Did play a lovely through-ball for Benteke in the second. (When he plays on the left – he does that Coutinho thing of endlessly cutting in and shooting from distance… Why?)
AML) Joao Teixeira – 6/10 (Enrique – 89′)
Poor in possession early on, Teixeira eventually provided a real influence on the game – but missed his two opportunities in the second. A very talented footballer, but we’re not sure he’ll make it at Anfield. We need attacking midfielders capable of scoring and assisting straight away.
FC) Christian Benteke – 6/10
Too static. Decent hold-up play, but £32.5m forwards need to bust a gut to get on the end of crosses. He hovers far too deep. Missed his one-on-one. Again.
Ojo – n/a
Sinclair – n/a
Enrique – n/a