Bournemouth 0 – 4 Liverpool: Player Ratings and Talking Points

Liverpool Take Top Spot

Liverpool have gone top of the league after defeating Bournemouth 4-0 at the Vitality Stadium, while Manchester City lost 2-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Mo Salah tapped in the only goal of the first half from a marginally offside position after Firmino forced the Bournemouth ‘keeper into an awkward save.

Liverpool ran riot in the second half with another two goals from Salah to complete his hat-trick, as well as an own goal from a tricky Robertson cross.


Player Ratings

Alisson – 8

Our ‘keeper is looking completely unstoppable at the moment. He was slightly busier than he might’ve expected to have been against Bournemouth, but that was no problem for him.

He made a strong save to deny David Brooks (who looks an exciting prospect) early on in the match, and never looked back. Alisson had no case to answer for when Joshua King went down in the box, and the Brazilian made Junior Stanislas look silly when he easily caught the winger’s swerving free-kick.

James Milner – 7

It was slightly surprising to see Milner at right-back, although resting Alexander-Arnold made sense given that the latter had to play most of the Burnley game when he should’ve been resting.

In any case, Milner was as reliable as ever and showed tremendous industry to go along with his attacking thrust. His only real blemish was a dodgy clearance which Alisson was forced to deal with using his head.

Joel Matip – 7.5

Gomez’s long-term injury opened the door for Lovren to try and reclaim his place in the side after an impressive end to last season. However, he too was ruled out of this match, so it was Matip who had to step up.

Matip did well throughout, remaining neat and tidy while showing moments of dominance. It’ll take more than one game to convince the fans that he should remain ahead of Lovren, but one fact that’s indisputable is that Matip is far better on the ball than the Croat.

Virgil van Dijk – 8.5

There’s not much to say about VVD’s performance other than he was typically solid and commanded the line to perfection.

It’s nothing short of incredible that he’s played for Liverpool 30 times in the League and already amassed 17 clean sheets in that time. Where would we be without him?

Andy Robertson – 8

Robbo returned to action after missing the Burnley game. He was resting up and nursing a minor niggle before the important run of fixtures that looms ahead.

Brooks was causing him problems at times, but the tables soon turned. His ‘assist’ for the own goal was a deserving reward after another excellent day for the Scot in both attack and defence.

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Fabinho – 8.5

If TAA wasn’t playing, then you’d expect Fabinho to be the one to shift to right-back, as he’s played there for a significant portion of his career. Trust Klopp to make the right call though, the Brazilian was a wall in the middle of the park.

This is exactly why we bought him. While everyone else is bombing forward, Fab can sit back and be the safety pin to make sure that we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot. He was immense at breaking up play and got the ball moving again quickly.

Gini Wijnaldum – 6.5

Gini wasn’t too bad, and he was far more effective with the ball at his feet than in some recent games. Perhaps he was just a victim of the fact that practically everyone else had a blinder.

In any case, he was a bit too sloppy at times and was far too casual in giving away possession. He did seem to combine well with Fabinho defensively though.

Naby Keita – 7.5

Keita didn’t quite reach the heights of his performance against Burnley, in part due to being shifted out onto the left, but he still did enough to assure fans that his last game was no fluke.

He was probably the Reds’ brightest spark in the first half, especially when he was doing his trademark direct dribbling. He probably would’ve gotten a higher score if he were given the ball more often.

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Xherdan Shaqiri – 7

It’s strange. As the team’s performances have been getting better, Shaq’s been disappearing. That might be slightly harsh, but he was the only attacker with anything about him earlier in the season, maybe I’m just noticing him less now.

He wasn’t bad in this game, or any other for that matter, he just wasn’t as involved in either his attacking or defensive duties as we’ve come to expect. He was better in the first half but completely drifted out of the game in the second.

Bobby Firmino – 7.5

There was a lot of concern from many fans, including myself, who worried that Bobby was going backwards and was miles away from his best this season. Luckily, he scored a goal against Burnley which seemed to reinvigorate him and restore some confidence.

He carried that into the Bournemouth game, and while he still wasn’t the same Bobby as last year, he did show some creativity that had been lacking recently. His role was a bit unusual in the sense that he was much higher than in previous games when he’s played as a 10, but still not as high as Salah. Perhaps Klopp has chosen to adjust in this manner to try and restore Firmino’s dominant performances.

Mo Salah – (Man of the Match) 10

He’s back. Maybe it’s too soon to declare that outright, but it certainly felt that way against Bournemouth. It should be noted that Nathan Ake is no chump, but Salah made him look like an amateur all afternoon.

His second goal was particularly impressive as he stayed on his feet after having his ankle clipped, before finishing under Ake and past Asmir Begovic. The third was as brilliant as it was comical. Salah rounded Begovic twice, and Steve Cook once, before arrogantly slotting the ball past Ake.

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Adam Lallana – (on for Keita 65′) 7

Fair dues to Lallana, he got the assist for Mo’s hat-trick goal and was generally active once he came on.

Sadio Mane – (on for Shaqiri 65′) 7

Mane wasn’t too involved, but he helped pin Bournemouth back. It’s more than likely he was reserving himself for Napoli, especially after his knock.

Jordan Henderson – (on for Firmino 81′) 6

Hendo didn’t have much time to do anything, but he was far more aggressive than Fabinho in getting forward. Of course, he could afford to do that at 4-0.

Unused Subs

Simon Mignolet, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Daniel Sturridge, and Divock Origi.


Jurgen Klopp – 9

Another week, another gamble that paid off in Klopp’s favour. This time it was to do with a few specific decisions. Firstly, he chose to play Milner at right-back instead of Fabinho, both of whom had an excellent game in their designated positions. Secondly, Klopp pushed Keita out onto the left, and Keita did a more than serviceable job, even if he wasn’t as involved as he would’ve liked. Lastly, he restored Bobby to a higher role, which did, and will continue to, pay dividends.

Klopp should be applauded for getting these calls right, and it just goes to show how diverse his squad is in the multiple roles and positions that each player can handle. It was these big calls that led to what’s arguably Liverpool’s best performance of the season.

Salah too benefited from the attack being adjusted, and both he and Klopp were rewarded with a long overdue hat-trick. Likewise, the manager utilised his bench well and ensured that everyone is as well rested as they can possibly be before the Napoli match and then the Manchester United game after that.

AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool FC - Premier League : News Photo

Talking Points

Milner’s 500th

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention James Milner on his 500th League appearance. What a man, and what an achievement!

Milner’s had an incredible career, and I’m sure all of us Reds fans hope that he continues with us for a few more seasons. He’s invaluable to the team whether as a starter or off the bench. Likewise, he’s equally comfortable controlling the game in the middle of the park, shutting down wingers as a fullback, or pinging in inch-perfect crosses as a wide-man.

The high regard that his teammates hold him in was demonstrated when Mo Salah refused to accept the man of the match award, and instead gave it to Milner. A fitting gesture for a true legend of the Premier League era.

Mo’s Revival

Speaking of Mo, he reached an incredible milestone of his own against Bournemouth, he became Liverpool’s 9th highest Premier League goal-scorer of all time, despite only being at the club for a season and a half.

Salah’s now on 42 League goals after only 52 appearances in the competition. To put that in perspective, Phillipe Coutinho (who Salah overtook, alongside Steve McManaman) took 152 games to get to 41 goals. What Salah has managed to achieve during his short time on Merseyside is simply phenomenal.

His resurgence couldn’t have come at a better time either, because the next two games could have significant implications on how the rest of the season will play out.

Going Top

Chelsea have done Liverpool a massive favour by defeating City, and not just because it sends us top, or because it leaves us as the only remaining undefeated team, but because the result means that City got 0 points from that same fixture that Liverpool got 1 from. Results like that are what decide titles. Although, in fairness, the result might’ve been different if Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne had’ve played.

For now though, it’s important to not get too far ahead of ourselves as Napoli are on their way. We all know what’s needed at Anfield, but the consequences of failure could prove fatal to our title chase as the Europa League is far more taxing than the Champions League. If we’re relegated, then we should hope that Klopp sends a B team to every Europa League game he can afford to and accept that elimination could stem from that decision.

Either way, the next EPL fixture is against Man Utd, and we can’t afford to let our lead slip so soon. Jose Mourinho has a habit of raining on Liverpool’s parade, and despite us being the better side under Klopp, our record against the Scum isn’t as good as it should be. It’s time to rectify that.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog and Fields of Anfield Road – 09/12/2018

Bournemouth vs Liverpool – Premier League Preview

Liverpool take on Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium in the last stop before the season heads into crunch time.

Bournemouth are no walk in the park, but they’re considerably less daunting than the prospect of facing Napoli in a must-win Champions League tie, as well as Manchester United in the same week.

Nevertheless, Eddie Howe’s men can’t be underestimated as they’re fully deserving of 7th place in the League so far, and are fairly applauded by many fans, pundits, and commentators for their impressive style of play and ability to give the big teams a run for their money.

Bournemouth Predicted Lineup and Team News

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In a disaster for Bournemouth’s season, and potentially England’s future centre-midfield, Lewis Cook Lewis Cook has been ruled out for six to nine months with a ruptured ACL. Even though I’m a Liverpool fan, I’d like to wish Lewis a swift recovery.

Another midfielder, Dan Gosling, is also unavailable this weekend due to a knee problem, so the central midfield pairing of Andrew Surman and Jefferson Lerma picks itself.

Junior Stanislas is an alternative to David Brooks on the right flank if Howe decides to rotate, though the form of Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser will surely see those two players line up for their third league match in eight days. However, Brooks is an outstanding player, so Howe may opt to play both him and Stanislas. Joshua King is also likely to feature, at least off the bench.

Liverpool Predicted Lineup and Team News

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Robertson and Wijnaldum are fit to feature after missing out in midweek, but Mane is unlikely to be ready to play after the Senegalese midfielder only started running on Friday.

Gomez, Lovren, and Clyne have also been ruled out, so Liverpool’s back four almost picks itself given that Robertson will surely oust Alberto Moreno at left-back for the trip to the Vitality Stadium.

Mane’s probable absence may mean that Klopp persists with a 4-3-3, with Roberto Firmino perhaps moving over to the left flank to fill in for the crocked winger. Fabinho and Wijnaldum may return to the team at the expense of Henderson and Milner, who both played 90 minutes on Wednesday, though Keita excelled at Turf Moor and could retain his start.

Pre-Game Analysis

Eddie Howe has favoured a three-man backline in away matches against “big six” sides this season but at the Vitality Stadium the Bournemouth boss has stuck with a 4-4-2 in fixtures against Arsenal and Manchester United, so we may see that second system used again for the visit of Liverpool.

David Brooks could also miss out (as he did against Manchester City) if Howe switches to a 3-4-3, with Tyrone Mings the likeliest candidate to play alongside Steve Cook and Nathan Ake at centre-back.

Liverpool could utilise either a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 in this game, but much will depend on who Klopp wishes to rest.


Similar to last week, it’s difficult to make a prediction for the game when Klopp’s selections are so unclear. In any case, Liverpool should fancy themselves.

Bournemouth will put up a strong fight and won’t make life easy for the Reds, but given that a certain contingent of Liverpool’s players have started to spark into life recently, we should have enough for the win.

Liverpool will go top of the League, at least temporarily, with a resounding 3-1 victory.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 08/11/2018


Burnley 1 – 3 Liverpool: Player Ratings and Talking Points

Weakened Reds Win at Turf Moor

At the risk of sounding like Brendan Rodgers – I thought we showed great character against Burnley. Snatching a win at Turf Moor is never easy, and if you add in the context of a heavily rotated side going down 1-0 to a sloppy goal in the second half, it makes the result even more impressive.

Burnley bundled home the opener from a corner through Jack Cork, but in a manner that’s only started to emerge recently, Liverpool battled back against a defensive side away to win definitively.

Milner got us back into the game with a clever finish beyond Joe Hart before Firmino tapped home a well-worked set-piece routine. The Reds endured some nervy moments towards the end of the game before Shaqiri secured the result from a counter-attack.

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Player Ratings

Alisson – 8

Another week; another outstanding display by our ‘keeper. Alisson struggled early with some uncharacteristically wayward passing, but he more than made up for that with the rest of his performance.

Burnley were unable to trouble him until they scored their goal. The defence weren’t much help as the opposition were able to win the header too easily, and almost latch on to the second ball, before booting it out of Alisson’s grasp. The ‘keeper could’ve been stronger, but he can’t accept too much of the blame. His late save off the crossbar was nothing short of heroic and certainly rescued two points for the team. Money well spent.

Joe Gomez – 6

Gomez had little to do before being worryingly stretchered off after just 23 minutes.

It looked like a serious injury, and Klopp confirmed that Gomez will be getting scans to assess the situation. All fans will be praying that he’s back very soon.

Joel Matip – 6

Matip wasn’t too bad, but he did little to make the fans forget about their concerns for Gomez and the latter’s importance at centre-back.

Matip looked understandably rusty, and he’ll get more minutes during December and early January, but even with some leniency due to rustiness, the Cameroonian didn’t look particularly comfortable. He got better as the game went on though, so hopefully there’s still some life in his Liverpool career yet.

Virgil van Dijk – 8

VVD was back to his best against Burnley and helped the makeshift defence over the line to victory. One or two passes aside, his distribution was typically on point, and as usual, he was utterly dominant in the air.

He had a chance to snatch a goal, but couldn’t direct his header past Hart; he did make up for it with an assist though. VVD acrobatically got on the end of an Alexander-Arnold cross and directed the ball into the path of Firmino. A complete performance from the big man.

Alberto Moreno – 6

Moreno wasn’t too bad. Nobody wanted to see his name on the teamsheet, even if Robbo needed and deserved a rest. The memories of some of the Spaniard’s worst moments is too much to let go of for most supporters.

Regardless, Moreno did okay without getting close to Robbo’s level, but he never let the team down before getting hooked off midway through the second half.

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Jordan Henderson – 6.5

Hendo returned to the starting lineup after missing the Everton game through suspension. However, it was more of the same from our captain, passing backwards and slowing down the play. His most memorable moment was when he slipped over.

He did improve in the second half though, and even played some forward passes. Crucially, he managed to snuff out a dangerous looking Burnley attack late in the game and did well to release Salah, but nothing came from the chance. If Hendo can play every game the way he did the second half, then maybe he’ll get some slack from his critics, even if he can’t fully win them over.

Naby Keita – (Man of the Match) 8.5

What a time to kick-start your Liverpool career. Keita was simply brilliant on the day and deserved to get on the score sheet for his efforts, but he was denied what would’ve been two stunning goals.

The first came from a powerful run followed by a booming shot, but Hart just got a fingertip to the ball to parry it onto the post. He then almost converted an outrageous backheel finish, but the ball was cleared off the line. Despite this, Keita was immense and looked like the player we’d all been hoping for since his debut against West Ham.

James Milner – 8

Milner was one of the best players in the team at the start of the campaign, but for whatever reason, he’d been going through a dip in form in the last run of games. He was one of deciding factors in the victory against Burnley though.

Aside from his clinical finish to get his team back into the game, Milner was running the show with Keita and almost set Sturridge up for a goal. He finished the game at left-back when Moreno went off and incredibly, was still just as involved from the back.

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Xherdan Shaqiri – 7

Shaq would’ve gotten a 6 if he didn’t score, as he was unusually quiet for most of the game, especially in the first half. Part of it was likely down to not having the usual front three ahead of him, but regardless, he wasn’t involved enough.

Like most of the players, he got better as the game went on and he made a good run and classy finish to send the fans home singing. He’s a handy player to have when one or more of Mane, Salah, and Firmino aren’t playing.

Divock Origi – 7

Similar to Shaq, Origi gets a higher score because he registered the assist that got Liverpool back into the contest. Klopp was right to give him a chance, and this is hopefully another step in the right direction.

He worked hard, but he still appears to be suffering from his lengthy spell on the sidelines, meaning he’s not quite on the same wavelength as the rest of the team.

Daniel Sturridge – 6.5

Studge was too wasteful at times against Burnley, which isn’t something that you’d typically associate with such a prolific striker.

He was involved in the buildup to Shaq’s goal, but he got caught in possession far too often and on other occasions couldn’t control the ball when chances presented themselves. He was far better in the second half though and got a good shot off just after the break.

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Trent Alexander-Arnold – (on for Gomez 23′) 6

Trent came on to replace the injured Gomez and had a mixed performance.

He was largely at fault for Burnley’s goal as he was beaten far too easily at the back post, but he produced a beautiful curling cross to VVD for our second goal from an awkward location. It’s rare that you see a goal scored in that manner when the position of the free-kick provides no angle.

Mo Salah – (on for Moreno 65′) 7

Salah was extremely lively when he came on and caused Burnley all sorts of problems. An assist was a fair reward for his solid cameo.

Firmino – (on for Origi 65′) 7

Bobby tapped in the second goal from his first touch and worked hard for the rest of his time on the pitch.

Unused Subs

Simon Mignolet, Rafa Camacho, Fabinho, and Adam Lallana.


Jurgen Klopp – 8

Klopp took a gamble on his heavily rotated side. If it didn’t work, then we all would’ve rightfully slated him for it, so now that it has worked, he deserves a proportionate amount of credit for the decision. He couldn’t have done anything about Gomez getting injured, but apart from that, it’s certain that many of our best players will have benefited from not having to play 90 minutes.

Likewise, this had the added effect of allowing certain rotational players a chance to prove themselves, and in the case of Keita in particular, that also paid off. The result and performance means that Klopp can now rotate when needed, and the players themselves will have the confidence to take their chances with both hands.

The manager should also be applauded for bringing Firmino and Salah on with plenty of time for them to change the game instead of leaving it too late which he’s been guilty of doing at times in the past.

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Talking Points

Concern for Gomez

Gomez copped a hefty challenge from Ben Mee which sent him tumbling over the pitch and he got his leg caught in a nasty position. It was the only significant negative to take away from the game, but one that could have severe consequences for Liverpool’s season.

Klopp was notably upset when discussing the incident saying, “Joe is injured and probably not only a little bit. We have to see tomorrow. It’s [his] ankle, yes. After the first challenge, a sliding tackle from seven or eight yards, I said to the ref: ‘Please tell them you can’t do that’. Someone has to say ‘stop doing that’.” Scans will reveal the extent of the injury.

We’re all hoping that it’s nothing serious, but the signs don’t look good. If he’s going to be out for an extended period of time, then Liverpool face a genuine dilemma. Do we put our faith in Lovren and Matip to step up to the high standards that Gomez has set? Or do we try and bring in a quality replacement in January?

Keita’s Arrival

This was the Keita that we’d thought Liverpool had purchased; the player that we’ve only seen the briefest of glimpses of since his tremendous debut at home against West Ham.

He was Liverpool’s main man against Burnley because he was in control of the majority of the game and was constantly getting the ball moving quickly from the middle to the final third. He did so with both his dribbling and his passing, and his confidence grew with every success.

His ability to launch attacks quickly and link up with those around him with slick passes is something that Liverpool have missed since Ox’s injury, so hopefully Keita can fill that void. If he does, then it could be the spark that allows Liverpool to return to the kind of play that took Europe by storm last season.

Gaining Momentum

This is where a season can unravel quickly if your team isn’t mentally tough, physically fit, and of course, blessed with a bit of luck.

However, Liverpool look a different beast now and are fully capable of winning games when the going gets tough and when our stars aren’t performing or even on the pitch. Wins breed confidence, and Liverpool should have plenty to help carry them through the rest of the month. Likewise, Klopp’s decision to rotate heavily may give certain players an extra 10% in the tank to keep performing to a high level before their next break.

Next up, Liverpool are away again at Bournemouth, before returning to Anfield for that crucial clash with Napoli and the match against Manchester United. Those three games are played over only 9 days, but their importance and difficulty are such that further rotation would appear unlikely. That 9 day period will be the most important in the season for the club so far.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog and Fields of Anfield Road – 06/12/2018

Burnley vs Liverpool – Premier League Preview

Liverpool take on Burnley at Turf Moor in the game that signals the beginning of the grueling Christmas period.

It’s true that Burnley have struggled this season and that they’re not the same tricky opponents as in previous years. However, that’s not to say that they’ll just roll over and gift Liverpool and early Christmas present.

The Reds will have to be at their best to break down and stubborn home defence, particular given the fact that Klopp will almost certainly choose to rotate his side heavily for this game.

Burnley Predicted Lineup and Team News


Nick Pope, Jonathan Walters, Stephen Ward, and Nakhi Wells will all miss the game, while there’s concern for Steven Defour, Robbie Brady, and Ben Gibson.

Defour will be assessed before the match, but it’s unlikely that Sean Dyche would risk one of his best players at this point of the season if he’s not 100% fit. Meanwhile, there’s been no update on Brady’s fitness after he was withdrawn against Crystal Palace with a knock, though he’s expected to start.

Gibson could also make his return, but like Defour, he may not be risked. Given the long list of injuries, Ashley Westwood and Aaron Lennon are legitimate options to come into the starting lineup.

Liverpool Predicted Lineup and Team News

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The only player that will certainly miss the game is Ox, as he’s still got some way to go on his long-term recovery. We could certainly use his talent and drive in midfield now though.

Elsewhere, there’s a number of players who have picked up various knocks, so the likes of Gomez, Lallana, Mane, and Robertson could all be given the game off to recuperate, though none of the injuries are considered to be serious and Gomez in particular is expected to play.

Klopp hinted that he would be rotating this game, so the likes of Keita, Lovren, Matip, Moreno, Sturridge, and Clyne may be given a rare chance to start. Hendo is also likely to return after missing the Everton game through suspension.

Pre-Game Analysis

Given the fact that Liverpool will be resting many of our key players, it’s extremely difficult to predict what team or even formation Klopp will go with, let alone give an analysis on how the game will go.

One thing’s for certain: Burnley will be well up for the game and will recognise Liverpool’s vulnerabilities without some of our stars. That could even mean that we see a more attacking approach from Dyche’s men than we’re used to, as without our regular front three, we’ll be less potent on the counter.

Those who do come in for the Reds will have their work cut out for them, as Turf Moor is far from the easiest place in the world to go with a weakened side. We’ll need to be tight at the back, particularly from set-pieces, and take as many of the few chances we’ll get to secure the win.


Again, this is a nearly impossible job considering all of the unknowns surrounding this game, but it will almost certainly be a low-scoring game.

Much will depend on how confident Burnley are feeling on the day and their willingness to attack, as well as Liverpool’s rotational players and how well they grab their opportunity for more regular game time.

Burnley will throw everything they’ve got at us, but we should still have enough to limp away with a narrow 1-0 victory.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 05/11/2018

Liverpool 1 – 0 Everton: Player Ratings and Talking Points

Merry Christmas Everton

Divock Origi’s comical late goal sent Anfield into raptures and meant that for the third time in the space of 12 months, Liverpool have beaten Everton with a late winner.

The game itself was intense, and to Everton’s credit, they put up a far greater fight than in previous years, turning the match into an end-to-end thriller. Ultimately though, the result was a fair one, even if the goal was extremely fortunate. The Reds had numerous chances to put the game to bed, but couldn’t find the back of the net. Everton had opportunities of their own, but all were snuffed out by Alisson.

The win will give the players and supporters a much-needed lift after a difficult week and will serve us well going into the busy Christmas period. Hopefully those positive feelings will translate into goals and points on the board.

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Player Ratings

Alisson – (Man of the Match) 9

For the second game in a week, Alisson given his team the chance to come back and win when things could’ve turned ugly, but also been the man of the match. This is what a top ‘keeper looks like. This is what £60million looks like.

Alisson’s two biggest moments came from chances that he had no right to save. Theo Walcott, who’s lightning on his feet, attempted to round the Brazilian and shoot into an empty net, but Alisson managed to force Walcott into a bobble, and the opportunity was gone. He also made an incredible save to deny Andre Gomes when the latter thumped a header towards goal from close range.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6.5

It was the correct decision by Klopp to restore Trent to the starting lineup, not only for tactical reasons, but also because the influence of a local lad on the Merseyside Derby cannot be underestimated.

His use of the ball was usually effective, except for in dead-ball situations, he was extremely poor by his standards in that department. Reminiscent of Robbo and Mane’s understanding down the left flank, TAA and Shaqiri seemed to click well together in this game. A promising sign.

Joe Gomez – 7.5

Even though he wasn’t at his absolute best, Gomez still showed why he should always be first-choice as VVD’s partner from now on, not sharing the position with Lovren.

After Alisson’s wonder-save to deny Gomes, Joe got a foot in the way of the follow-up shot that would’ve certainly seen the Reds fall behind. It was a heroic moment and one that may have huge implications in this year’s title race.

Virgil van Dijk – 6

After his nightmare in Paris, VVD was better against Everton, but still not nearly as good as we expect of him. He was careless on the ball on occasions and was dragged out of position a couple of times, looking uncomfortable with Everton’s overlapping runs. He also appeared indecisive in some moments where he’d otherwise be swift in his judgement.

Overall though, he was decent, and for the most part, was able to deal with the significant threat that Everton posed, particularly through Richarlison. We’ll need him back at his best soon. Cracking assist for Origi’s goal though…

Andy Robertson – 7.5

It was business as usual for Robbo. Energetic, combative, effective. You always know what you’re getting from the Scot, and in the Derby, that was no different.

His overlapping runs down the left added another dimension to Liverpool’s attack, and he fully delivered on his defensive duties. You couldn’t ask for much more except for maybe some added potency to his final ball.

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Fabinho – 7

Hendo’s suspension opened the door for Fabinho to step up and stake his claim for more regular football. While he wasn’t excellent, he did enough to suggest that he should be afforded more opportunities, particularly in the upcoming schedul, even if he declined as the game went on.

He added a much-needed solidity and nastiness to the Liverpool midfield, which can be invaluable in games as intense as this one. He used his strength to great effect, regularly broke up play, and made some great tackles, but he’s still miles away from the player we hoped we were signing. There’s evidence of improvement though, so things bode well.

Gini Wijnaldum – 6

Many were calling for Klopp to give Naby Keita the chance to replace Gini, as the manager did for Fabinho as Hendo’s replacement. However, Klopp chose to stick with the Dutchman, and I think it’s the right decision, for now.

While Gini still wasn’t as good as he’d been earlier in the season, he had a solid game and played an important role throughout. His combination with Fabinho seemed to work well, and his work-rate was as high as ever. As is often the case with Gini, we just needed to see more.

Bobby Firmino – 3

Bobby’s not just out of form, he’s gradually getting worse. This is a real worry. It’s difficult to say what the cause is, as there are a number of explanations that all make sense singularly and collectively, such as his changed role, but that doesn’t explain his performance against PSG for example.

The cause can be debated, but the symptoms can’t. Poor passing and wayward shooting, and they were certainly on show against Everton. He’s still capable of a nice pass and a stinging shot, but they come far too infrequently, as most of the time he’s simply been gifting possession to the opposition.

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Xherdan Shaqiri – 6

Everybody said in the wake of the PSG game that Shaqiri should’ve started and must play against Everton. Well, Klopp listened to the latter part at least.

However, Shaq wasn’t able to make his Merseyside Derby debut one to remember, as he drifted in and out of the game. He also spurned a clear, and arguably easy, chance to score in the first half, which would’ve changed the direction of the game drastically. His passing most mostly good though, including one cross that nearly led to a goal.

Sadio Mane – 7

Mane’s still the only Reds attacker that even vaguely resembles himself from last season. Like everyone else, his finishing isn’t good enough at the moment, but he’s still creating chances for himself and others to at least a similar level to the last campaign.

He did so on three clear occasions in the match, once with a nice ball that just didn’t reach Salah, and twice for himself. Unfortunately, he didn’t hit the target either time and can look back with some bitterness that it wasn’t his name being chanted by the Liverpool supporters for another Merseyside Derby winning goal or assist.

Mo Salah – 6

Nowhere near as bad as Bobby, but Mo suffered from similar problems with his passing, and in particular, his shooting. Although, even with the disappearance of his bountiful finishing from last season, he still causes problems for the opposition with his pace and movement.

He missed a big chance in the second half and was eventually subbed off for Sturridge in a move that would’ve never happened last season if we still needed a goal.

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Naby Keita – (on for Shaqiri 71′) 5

Had enough time to make an impact, but simply didn’t.

Daniel Sturridge – (on for Salah 74′) 6

Didn’t do much more, but had some sharp touches.

Divock Origi – (on for Firmino 84′) 10

It’s a lovely story that the kid whose development was stunted after a horror tackle against Everton was the one to redeem himself and send them home miserable. He somehow missed from only a yard or two out minutes before, but who’ll remember that? He chased down a nothing ball and was rewarded with the winner. I’m very happy for him, and hopefully this’ll lead to a rejuvenation of the player we saw a couple of seasons ago, although I’m cautiously pessimistic on that notion.

Unused Subs

Simon Mignolet, Joel Matip, Alberto Moreno, and James Milner.


Jurgen Klopp – 7

Klopp got his team selection right regardless of some less than inspiring individual performances. It’s not Klopp’s fault that most of the team didn’t bring their shooting boots, because on another night, we could’ve won by 3 or 4. Having said that, we probably didn’t deserve anything greater than a narrow win.

Klopp still has to figure out how to get these players performing to the levels of last season. In the Summer, we were hoping for improvement, but now we’re praying just for signs of life from our midfield and attack. The defence is outstanding, and you can’t help but feel that if our attack was back to their best, we could be the best team in the league, if not, the world.

It was somewhat surprising to see Milner left on the bench and Firmino being the last to be subbed off despite his terrible display, but who am I to question the German when he clearly knew what was going to happen with Origi all along. Neutrals and rivals might see his celebration as being over-the-top and disrespectful, but who can honestly say they wouldn’t want a manager with that amount of passion for his club?

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Talking Points

Alisson’s a Keeper

Alisson’s been generally solid since his arrival in backing up a strong defensive line, but took another step in the fans’ minds this week. The only moments where his skills have come into question so far have been when he’s made some questionable decisions with the ball at his feet.

No one has argued that he’s not good at keeping the ball out of the back of the net though, and he’s even had to save his own skin after some wayward passes. However, these last two games in particular have shown exactly why we spent so much money on him, and how important having a truly world-class goalie is.

He doesn’t only keep us in games such as this one where he’s frequently called into action, often pulling off downright unbelievable saves, but more importantly when he’s had nothing to do. So many times in previous years have Liverpool been undone by a late goal when the opposition slots home out of nowhere. Alisson stays focused however, and his value the team can be measured equally in those sorts of matches to the Everton game.

Kinks in the System

The 4-2-3-1 system works, despite what many are suggesting. The results make that point very clear. What isn’t working is certain individuals within the system.

That’s not to say that it couldn’t be tweaked to better suit the players that are struggling, but to suggest that the poor form of the likes of Firmino is entirely down to the new system and his changed role within it, is simply wrong. Bobby’s played as a deep 10 plenty of times before, both at Liverpool and earlier in his career. He also dropped deep plenty of times last season when he was playing as a 9.

A ‘new’ role doesn’t suddenly effect your passing and shooting. So what can be done? In my opinion, we’re missing playmaker, and Salah should be removed from the striking position. If Nabil Fekir signed in the Summer, I believe that he’d be playing at 10, Salah would still be on the right, and Bobby would be up top. There’s nothing we can do about that now, although the closest we can get to that would be to show more faith in Shaq and play him at 10, or take a big gamble on hoping Keita springs into life if he plays there for a few games in a row.

No Sleep Till Burnley

So it begins. The exciting, but taxing Christmas period. Having played midweek against PSG and Everton yesterday, Liverpool now have only 3 days until the Burnley game.

This is a theme that’ll more or less continue up until the Manchester City clash in January. We as fans love having games every three days, but it’s undoubtedly detrimental to the players, and only City really have the squad depth to rotate their entire XI from game to game without sacrificing too much potency.

There’s not much that can be done about it unfortunately. Next season we’re supposed to be getting a Winter break of sorts, but until then, we’ll have to power through. One thing that Everton’s admirable performance has shown is that there’ll be no easy games during this time, so Klopp will have to rotate with great caution.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog and Fields of Anfield Road – 03/12/2018


Liverpool vs Everton – Premier League Preview

After a depressing night in Paris, the Reds have to bounce back in the Premier League, and what better time to do so than in the Merseyside Derby?

Everton come into the game in great form and it’s commonly speculated that this’ll be the best and most competitive Merseyside Derby in years, especially considering the fact  that Marco Silva has got his side playing attacking football.

Let’s hope the Reds can give the Blues another miserable Christmas by beating them in what is still one of the most important games of the season.

Liverpool Team News and Predicted Lineup


Jordan Henderson misses the game through suspension, although many fans will view that as a blessing in disguise as Fabinho will likely be given the chance to make his mark. Adam Lallana is still unfit, while long-terms injuries to players such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remain the same.

Trent Alexander-Arnold will almost certainly return to the team, which means that Joe Gomez will rightfully shift to centre-back.

The rest of the team will be unchanged, save for the fact that Klopp will most likely switch back to the 4-2-3-1 that had been working so well recently. This’ll mean that Xherdan Shaqiri will come back into the team.

Everton Team News and Predicted Lineup

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Everton on the other hand have a mostly full-strength squad to pick from, and the only problems they face are which players to omit.

Everton’s back five have been as solid as a Blues defence has been in decades, and the same could arguably be said for their midfield. Although it’s questionable as to whether Silva will persevere with Bernard and Theo Walcott as the former is more of a central player, and the latter should arguably be dropped for Ademola Lookman on form.

Cenk Tosun may be one player who’d be unfortunate to miss out on the Derby, along with the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin and Mason Holgate.

Pre-Game Analysis

For once, Everton will certainly look to take the game to Liverpool from the first minute until the last, a draw would be enough, but the Blues will be looking to score and win, not just hang on for dear life.

That’s not to say that they wouldn’t sit back if they were to take the lead, so if the worst happened, it could be very difficult for Liverpool to find space and come back.

The flip side of that is that Everton will be far more open than in previous years in this fixture, so they may be susceptible to being hit on the counter if they try and go toe to toe with Liverpool.


Both sides want the win badly, not just for bragging rights, but to kick off this hectic schedule with a win.

The momentum gained or lost from the fixture could have a significant impact on the direction of both clubs’ seasons, and the overall Premier League landscape, in particular, the title race.

Everton will play admirably, and it’ll be a thrilling game of back and forth, but Liverpool will take the day with a 2-0 victory.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 02/11/2018


PSG 2 – 1 Liverpool: Player Ratings and Talking Points

Another Loss Away in Europe

Liverpool were beaten 2-1 by PSG in Paris to put the Reds’ Champions League progression under serious threat. Liverpool started slowly and PSG took advantage by emulating the Reds of last year in blowing us off the park early. Similarly, the home fans channelled an Anfield-like spirit and roared their team to victory.

Their first goal was slightly fortunate but certainly deserved, as Juan Bernat arrived first to a failed reactionary clearance by van Dijk, and managed to deflect a shot beyond a helpless Alisson. Neymar doubled their lead after our ‘keeper brilliantly denied Edison Cavani, but the Brazilian villain was never going to miss from only a few yards out.

Liverpool slowly kicked on after this but failed to create any clear-cut chances. James Milner slotted home a penalty just before half-time, but it wasn’t enough. Even though the Reds had far more possession in the second half, they were unable to do anything meaningful with it.

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Player Ratings

Alisson – (Man of the Match) 9

The fact that the ‘keeper was Man of the Match in a loss tells the story. Regardless, Alisson was unbelievable and couldn’t do anything about either of PSG’s goals. He was the only reason that the score was kept respectable, as the Reds could’ve easily conceded another three or four if it weren’t for his interventions.

Some superb efforts to deny the likes of Angel Di Maria, Cavani, and Thiago Silva stand out as the best of the bunch. It’s obviously better if our ‘keeper doesn’t have to do so much work, but it’s still good to be sure that even when we’re being overrun, Alisson can keep our heads above water.

Joe Gomez – 4.5

Playing Gomez at right-back was an okay idea in theory. But the game isn’t played in theory, and the experiment didn’t work at all. The logic was to use Gomez as extra protection against Neymar, but that backfired badly as PSG ran through the right side of our defence all night.

A swift return to centre-back is needed for young Joe, and in hindsight, it was foolish to move him out of the role that he’d been playing so well in.

Dejan Lovren – 4

This was Lovren’s first Champions League appearance of the season, and it may well be his last. The Croatian played no worse than any of the other defenders, but it’s clear that VVD’s partner should be Gomez.

He couldn’t handle the speed and quick thinking of PSG’s attacking trio and was regularly caught out of position, including in the buildup to the second goal when he was woefully left in the dust.

Virgil van Dijk – 4

We’ve come to expect so much more from the Dutchman, and while the result doesn’t rest on his shoulders, we needed him to step up again and lead the defence to an assured performance, but he didn’t.

Like Lovren, he failed to keep up with PSG’s slick attack, and it was his failed, albeit difficult, clearance that led to the opening goal. Although, Gomez might’ve reacted quicker to either get ahead of Bernat, or close down the eventual shot.

Andy Robertson – 6.5

Robbo was the only defender who can take any pride out of that game, and even then, his reactions towards the end of the match showed that he’s just as furious about the result as many of the fans.

Kylian Mbappe was kept quiet for most of the game, and that was largely due to Robbo’s interceptions and covering runs. He was also able to threaten PSG’s flank with some nice overlapping runs, but unfortunately, his end product wasn’t up to scratch.

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Jordan Henderson – 3

Hendo needed to redeem himself in the eyes of many fans after needlessly getting himself sent off against Watford, but he’s only fanned the flames with this performance.

Unsurprisingly, his biggest sin was repeatedly passing backwards when the opportunity to break was on. We desperately needed some sort of drive or spark from midfield, or at the very least, for the midfielders not to slow the game down. Hendo was more of a hindrance than a help in that regard.

Gini Wijnaldum – 3

In fairness to Hendo, the rest of the midfield wasn’t much better. It’s so frustrating to see Gini absolutely dominate some games, and then go missing for 30-minute spells in others. The first time I saw him anywhere near the play, he was getting booked.

We needed our midfield to give the rest of the team a hand, but they neither provided the attackers with any meaningful ammunition nor gave the defence the support they so desperately needed.

James Milner – 5

Milner gets a better rating simply because he scored. To be fair, he was also the best of the worst when it came to getting attacking moves started, but that’s really not saying much at all.

He was just as guilty as anyone of allowing PSG’s players acres of space in the midfield and did little to turn the tables even once momentum had begun to shift. His penalty was our only shot on target. A damning statistic.

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Mo Salah – 4

Sometimes it feels like ‘one step forward, two steps back’ with Salah. This game showed all of the things that have worried Liverpool fans about Mo’s performances this season.

His decision making in the final third was frankly, abysmal. He’d shoot when the pass was on, and pass when the shot was on. To make matters worse, regardless of his decision, he’d execute the final ball terribly. It’s also a mystery as to why he’s on corner duty when he’s decent in the air, but more importantly, horribly inconsistent with his crosses.

Sadio Mane – 7

Mane didn’t manage to score or rescue the result, but he looked by far the most likely and won the penalty that could’ve changed the game for us.

He created chances all on his own when his fellow attackers weren’t showing any intelligent movement, and created space for himself with his pace and trickery when the midfield failed to give him a decent pass. Like Alisson and Robbo, he was let down by those around him.

Bobby Firmino – 3

Firmino did next to nothing all game, apart from one decent header that went high and wide. Being restored to a more familiar role could’ve meant a return to his form of last season, but we just got more of the same, minus the effective pressing and passing.

Bobby would’ve gotten a 4 as Mo did, but I’ve taken an extra point off for that disgusting thing on his upper lip. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the worst thing I saw during the game, but God did it come close.

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Naby Keita – (on for Wijnaldum 66′) 5

Naby tried hard and did give our midfield some much needed forward drive, but ultimately he couldn’t provide anything significant on the night.

Daniel Sturridge – (on for Firmino 71′) 4

His only contribution of note was to hold back a breaking PSG player late on. He got booked, but he needed to take one for the team to keep the deficit to only one goal.

Xherdan Shaqiri – (on for Milner 77′) 4

His only opportunities to make an impact came from set-pieces, and he didn’t take any of them particularly well. Although, his cross to Lovren was well-weighted.

Unused Subs

Simon Mignolet, Joel Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Fabinho.


Jurgen Klopp – 3

Klopp made some big decisions for this game, and they all backfired. He needs to take responsibility for that. Yes, most of the players were individually poor, and that’s not something Klopp can control, but the warning signs have been there, and have seemingly been ignored.

The decision to revert to a 4-3-3 was predictable given that Klopp had previously hinted that the new 4-2-3-1 system would be played depending on the opposition for now, but it’s questionable as to why he’d so carelessly change what had been a winning formula. We hadn’t been back to our absolute best with the new system, but there were positive signs including a more productive midfield and more varied attack.

To his credit, he made three good, positive substitutions. However, some will argue that they all could’ve come on even sooner, in particular, Shaqiri, who was bizarrely the last to be brought on.

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Talking Points

What the Result Means

The reaction to the result and performance mightn’t have been so severe if it weren’t for the context that surrounded it. Here’s what Liverpool need to do to qualify for the knockout rounds of the Champions League:

Beat Napoli 1-0
Winning the game 1-0 would put Liverpool level on points and head-to-head results with Napoli, but clear of them on goals scored, which is the next criteria.

OR Beat Napoli by a Two-Goal Margin
If Napoli score, then the Reds will have to win by two or more to advance. This would leave us level on points, but leading on head-to-head results.

OR Beat Napoli and Have PSG Drop Points to Red Star
Any win would be good enough if PSG were to do the unthinkable and lose or draw to Red Star. Here’s hoping the Serbians are as up for that one as they were against us. Funnily enough, If PSG drop points and Liverpool win, then the Reds would finish top of the group on head-to-head results.

Ultimately though, we can only count on ourselves and will have to put in a heroic effort to progress. A draw won’t cut it, we’d be relegated to the Europa League in that case, and a loss could mean missing out on Europe altogether if Red Star win against PSG.

Embarrassing UEFA

It’s important to note that Liverpool are responsible for their own rubbish performance and painful result, however, there were a few things that didn’t help matters.

I generally don’t go after referees as it’s a difficult job, and for the most part, referees do a good job. One mistake in a game, even a big mistake, can be forgiven by more sympathetic fans, but this bloke was dreadful. Every second foul was given the wrong way, he showed yellow cards far too easily except in the case of Marco Verratti who should’ve been sent off a handful of times, and he had to be told by his assistant that a clear foul had been committed in the box. How UEFA could allow someone so incompetent to officiate over such an important game is beyond me.

PSG can be proud of the way they played but should be ashamed of their pathetic theatrics. Neymar was, of course, the worst offender, but Di Maria, Silva, Marquinhos, and many more were doing it too. You have to wonder what goes through their minds when they watch games back and see themselves rolling around like morons. I understand gamesmanship, and in this case it worked as the Reds lost their heads, but that doesn’t make it any less despicable. It’s one of the last blights on the beautiful game.

Problems to Address

Klopp’s got his work cut out for him now. Of course, few teams will be able to run through us as PSG did, but that doesn’t make the signs any less ominous. The result means Liverpool have lost all three of our European away games this season, a far cry from last year’s dizzying highs travelling abroad.

You’d like to think that this will be a kick up the backside in the vein of Tottenham away last season, but that’s perhaps too optimistic in the context of how we’ve been performing in general. Our attack is still a major concern, but not nearly as much as the midfield. The middle of the park holds the key for both ends of the pitch.

This is what Klopp needs to sort out as the highest priority because if our midfield is playing well, then our defence has to do less and our attackers will have more chances than they know what to do with. 4-2-3-1 has to be utilised from now on with Shaqiri as a starter. As for who will play as the double pivots? The jury’s still out on that one. What do you think?

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog and Fields of Anfield Road – 29/11/2018

PSG vs Liverpool – Champions League Preview

It goes without saying for any Champions League game, but this one in particular, neither side will be satisfied with anything other than a win.

For Liverpool, it’s a golden opportunity to amend for past mistakes in the competition, especially the shocking loss to Red Star. A win here would guarantee qualification to the knockout rounds, while a draw or loss would leave them relying on other results and having to beat Napoli.

PSG face a similarly perilous position, but theirs is slightly more complex. They also face the prospect of relegation to the Europa League, but for them, that’d represent the ultimate failure of the ‘Neymar Experiment’, and could spell the end for the manager, and many players.

PSG Team News and Predicted Lineup


Thomas Tuchel had the unenviable prospect of taking on a near-full strength without his star duo of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Fortunately, for him, both were declared fit and are expected to play tonight, which is a shame for Liverpool as their absence would’ve made winning far easier. As things stand, Reds fans will have to hope that our defence is up to the challenge, as they were at Anfield in the previous encounter.

Other than that, PSG’s lineup should offer little in the way of surprises, the only other significant possibilities are the inclusion of Julian Draxler and Juan Bernat.

Liverpool Team News and Predicted Lineup

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Liverpool will almost certainly select their strongest lineup, but there are a few players to be considered, particularly in the midfield.

Jordan Henderson is likely to start because he’s ineligible to play against Everton on the weekend. However, Fabinho’s deep knowledge of PSG’s players may come in handy if he’s preferred. Naby Keita is also a contender in what would be his long-awaited return.

Many fans will be hoping to see Xherdan Shaqiri play, but its doubtful that Klopp will try his relatively new 4-2-3-1 system in what will be a highly taxing game.

Pre-Game Analysis

PSG will still be hurting from the loss they suffered at Anfield, as many expected them to have too much firepower for the Merseysiders.

Mbappe, Neymar, and Edison Cavani in particular will be fired up and ready to try and make it up to their fans on home soil. It’ll be another major test for Liverpool’s defence, but one that they have already shown to be capable of overcoming.

Liverpool will be looking to exploit PSG’s likely intentions to attack from the off, meaning our midfield and attack will have to take advantage of the counter-attacking opportunities that the defence can provide.


Both sides possess immense strengths and few weaknesses, so much will depend on which side takes their chances on the day, as they will surely come in droves.

Both sides tactical approach to the match should be almost as interesting as the game itself, as both teams prefer to hit teams on the counter. Someone will have to take the initiative in this game.

It’ll be a tough night, particularly for the defenders, but Liverpool will emerge victorious in a thrilling 3-2 encounter.


You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 28/11/2018

Watford 0 – 3 Liverpool: Player Ratings and Talking Points

Records Fall as Liverpool Rise

Liverpool’s current tally of 33 points is their highest ever total at this stage of a Premier League season, and likewise, only five goals conceded is the Reds’ best defensive record in the EPL. However, Watford didn’t make life easy on the day, particularly in the first half.

Gerard Deulofeu had a goal ruled out for offside after only a few minutes. Troy Deeney set up the chance with a wonderful flick-on, but aside from that, the first 30 minutes or so were rather dull. The game suddenly came to life though when Firmino had a shot saved before Watford went the length of the pitch and almost scored themselves.

Salah broke the deadlock with a deflected shot from an excellent team move after an anxious 67-minute wait. Alexander-Arnold then sealed the win with a beautiful free-kick that left Ben Foster in the dust, and Firmino’s headed goal just further emphasised what was already a decided result. Henderson was rightly sent off with a second yellow card, providing the only tangible negative from the game.

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Player Ratings

Alisson – 6

Watford only had one shot on target, and in fairness, Alisson produced a stunning save to deny them of that big chance, but for the rest of the match, our ‘keeper made things harder than they needed to be.

He played a couple of dangerous passes, and one to Firmino almost led to an embarrassing goal. Ultimately, nothing came from these mad moments, and no one wants to see the Brazilian make too many changes to his game, but surely he has to start being a little more composed in these situations if he wants to continue playing out from the back so frequently. His accuracy with long balls is superb, and we have the pace to chase balls down, so why not utilise them more?

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7

Trent scored his first goal for England during the break and then doubled up with a curling free-kick to secure an important result for his club.

TAA was guilty of being a bit too casual in the first half, as some of his touches and passes were wasteful at times when the team needed him to be precise. However, he improved as the game went on and assisted the defence in obtaining another clean sheet.

Dejan Lovren – 8

Lovren came in for Gomez as the latter suffered a minor knock in training. Lovren didn’t look out of place though, and in fact, excelled in the game, particularly after the first twenty minutes or so.

The Croatian snuffed out Deulofeu after the Watford flyer had shown signs that he was ready for a big game. Overall, he defended extremely well throughout, including numerous important headers and interceptions when the Hornets began to threaten. Lovren’s an easy, and sometimes warranted, target for criticism, but it’s important to give credit when it’s due.

Virgil van Dijk – (Man of the Match) 8.5

VVD was incredible again. He just slightly edged ahead of his centre-back partner in terms of involvement, and his organisation was also of a typically high standard throughout.

Lovren handled Deulofeu, and Virgil took control of the Deeney situation after the awkward striker threatened to snatch a result with some impressive touches and passes.

Andy Robertson – 7

Robbo wasn’t at his best, particularly with the ball, but he never looked troubled defensively apart from an incident with Will Hughes that initially looked like a certain penalty, but replays showed that the Scot intelligently pulled out of the tackle in time.

Like most of the team, Robbo improved in the second half, and once the first goal went in, he was able to find a lot more space to run into and his pinpoint cross led to the third goal after Mane saw his initial shot saved.

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Jordan Henderson – 5

I’ll give my thoughts on Hendo getting sent off in the ‘Talking Points’ section, but for now, I’ll only be reviewing his performance for the 82 minutes he was on the pitch.

Until he got sent off, he had a strong game, and if he kept his cool, he might’ve gotten a 7. In the first half, he was guilty of not being as proactive with the ball as he could’ve been, but he played a big role in Liverpool gaining a foothold in the game and securing enough possession so that chances could begin to come in droves.

Gini Wijnaldum – 6.5

Gini faced the same problems as Hendo in the first half and couldn’t impose himself on the game, however, it should be noted that Watford’s midfielders desperately outnumbered the midfield duo.

Unlike Hendo though, Gini didn’t bounce back as definitively and only started to become more adventurous once the result was already secured. Having said that, he didn’t put a foot wrong all game and one perfectly weighted pass to Robbo sparked the third goal; we just needed to see more of that assertiveness.

Bobby Firmino – 7

Bobby was virtually absent before the break, in part due to the fact that he’s clearly still adjusting to his new role in the system, as his starting position is much further from goal.

He picked it up in the second half though, and his passing was on point including one sublime ball to Mane that took three players out before Salah’s opener. His late goal wasn’t quite as pretty to look at, but it’ll still do his confidence a world of good after going quite some time without scoring.

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Xherdan Shaqiri – 7

Shaq had a strange game in the sense that he was the only Liverpool player who looked fired up and creative in the first half, but unlike everybody else, he declined in the second half.

Klopp was right to replace him as he looked to secure the result, but while he was on, he created a few chances including one for Mane that could’ve made the game far easier.

Sadio Mane – 7.5

Mane did everything but score, and a goal would’ve been fitting after he signed a new deal midweek. He hit an incredible, yet unorthodox, shot in the first half after a great ball by Shaq, but unfortunately, it went straight at Foster.

Mane was unlucky not to score a couple of other chances as well, hitting the post (albeit from an offside position), and seeing a scorching shot denied by Foster again until Firmino pounced on the rebound.

Mo Salah – 7.5

Watford were able to frustrate Salah in the first half as he found time and space very difficult to come by. His only chance came from a clever set-piece routine where Mo drifted from the edge of the box to the back post and would’ve scored were it not for another tremendous save by Foster.

His movement in the second half caused the Hornets more issues, and on another day he could’ve easily scored more than just the one that bundled home. It’s easy to forget that Salah’s scored nine goals already this season, which is still impressive especially considering his new role.

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James Milner – (on for Shaqiri 74′) 6

Didn’t have much to do when he came on, but he certainly helped steady the ship.

Fabinho – (on for Salah 86′) N/A

No time to make an impact.

Joel Matip – (on for Firmino 92′) N/A

No time to make an impact.

Unused Subs

Simon Mignolet, Nathaniel Clyne, Naby Keita, and Daniel Sturridge.


Jurgen Klopp – 7.5

Klopp did the best he could in a situation that was far from ideal. He had very little time to prepare his team for a well-drilled, and well-rested, Watford side, and had the added hindrance of an expected, but thankfully minor, injury to Joe Gomez.

In my opinion, as much as I like the new 4-3-2-1 system, our old 4-3-3 might’ve worked better in this game as Watford tend to overload the middle of the park with strong, and tricky, midfield players. However, Klopp showed faith and patience in his players and tactics, and it clearly paid off in the end.

There have been times in the past where fans and pundits have grown frustrated with Klopp’s perceived unwillingness to change and learn from past mistakes, but it would appear that Klopp is making appropriate adjustments this season. It was another solid result, and the German has to take a high degree of credit for the record start to this campaign.

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Talking Points

Hendo Sees Red

Hendo’s taken a lot of criticism online after needlessly getting sent off at a time where in previous seasons, when we weren’t so solid at the back, it could’ve cost us points. The referee had already spoken to him and warned him that he needed to watch his step, and while the final tackle wasn’t that bad, it came after a string of fouls and Hendo had given the linesman a spray only seconds earlier, which drew the ref’s attention.

There’s no defending any professional, let alone the captain, behaving so naively and allowing their emotions to get the better of them, especially in a game where the win was more or less already sealed. However, some of the abuse that’s come his way is entirely over the top and uncalled for.

Hendo is a divisive figure, and there’s many who believe that he either doesn’t fit well with Klopp’s style, of simply isn’t good enough for Liverpool. Others defend him and acknowledge his importance to the team. Either way, you don’t have to like a player, but we all, as Liverpool fans, should treat our players with some respect. Fair criticism and personal abuse are two very different things, no one’s expected to praise Hendo if you think he’s played badly, but that doesn’t mean that hateful words are welcome.

A New Klopp

One interesting aspect to note about this season is the emergence of a new kind of Jurgen Klopp. Gone are the days of gung-ho attacking set-ups. Instead, this Klopp has moulded his team and shaped his system around the result, rather than simply goals and finesse. It’s substance over style, and hopefully it’ll give the team a greater chance of winning trophies in the long run.

Klopp himself noted this after the game when he said, “I know you always expect perfection, but we had exactly one session to prepare [for Watford]. We needed to focus on the specific quality of the opponent. We had to stay stubborn. It wasn’t a brilliant first half, but it was still good.”

“It was a really mature performance. I know a few people miss one or two situations from last season, but in similar games last season we were not that convincing – it wasn’t clear that we controlled the game.”

Another Tough Run Ahead

Our next league game comes against Everton in what will probably be the most competitive Merseyside Derby in some time, but for now, the focus shifts back to the Champions League and a crucial fixture away to PSG.

The Parisians are looking unstoppable in their own league right now, winning 14 from 14 games, but we all know that the UCL is a different kettle of fish to Ligue 1. PSG also face the prospect of taking on the only team to defeat them this season without Neymar or Kylian Mbappe, as both are in doubt with minor injuries.

After PSG and Everton, there’s little time to breath with away games against Burnley and Bournemouth, before two crunch ties between the Reds and Napoli in the UCL and Manchester United in the league. Games against Arsenal and Manchester City follow soon after that, so the Reds will need to keep up their form to stay in touch with City.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog and Fields of Anfield Road – 25/11/2018

Watford vs Liverpool – Premier League Preview

After the monotony of the international break, it’s time to get back to watching Liverpool every week.

In our first game back, the Reds take on a Watford side that have largely struggled for points since their impressive four wins from four games at the start of the season.

Regardless, some of Liverpool’s toughest games in this campaign have been away fixtures against smaller clubs such as Crystal Palace and Huddersfield Town, so there’s no reason to think the Hornets will make life easy at Vicerage Road.

Watford Team News and Predicted Lineup


Javi Gracia benefited from the international break as very few of his players were called away, and many of those who remained at the club have now either returned from injury or suspension during the elapsed time.

Etienne Capoue has served his ban, and the likes of Tom Cleverley, Will Hughes, and Sebastian Prodl have recovered well from their respective injuries.

Nathaniel Chalobah could be retained ahead of Capoue however given the former’s excellent recent performances. Isacc Success and Roberto Pereyra arrived back late from their international games and could be rested for the likes of Troy Deeney and Andre Gray.

Liverpool Team News and Predicted Lineup

lineup (1).png

Jurgen Klopp didn’t have the luxury of getting to train with the majority of his squad for two, uninterrupted weeks. Quite the opposite was true for the German, but despite this, Liverpool have a nearly full squad to choose from.

Jordan Henderson has returned from a hamstring injury and could possibly start ahead of Fabinho. Naby Keita has also recovered from injury, but unlike Hendo, he was forced to travel with his national side, which could see his Liverpool return delayed.

Xherdan Shaqiri is always an option now as well, but further changes would likely happen at the back, if Klopp elects to rotate at all. Alberto Moreno could come in for Andy Robertson after he played two full games for Scotland. Dejan Lovren could come back into the side as well.

Pre-Game Analysis

One of the great unknowns in this game will be whether Klopp decides to utilise a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3. In the past few weeks, I’ve been very vocal in my assertion that Klopp should use the former far more often than he currently is because it allows Shaq to play and the results have been telling.

However, in this game Klopp should, and probably will, stick with the 4-3-3 simply because Watford play very narrow and overload the midfield. Pereyra in particular is a threat on the right, although he often drifts inside and occupies the half-spaces created by Deulofeu.

Mo Salah has a tremendous goal-scoring record against Watford, and all fans will be hoping to see that trend continue. All of the attackers need to step up though so that the defence doesn’t have to work as hard to secure the result, as we’ve seen in previous away games.


Watford’s form isn’t brilliant, but the fact that they sit in seventh place ahead of the likes of Manchester United, Everton, and Leicester, is telling. They won’t roll over, and any result will have to be well and truly earned.

Liverpool’s form this season at both ends of the pitch is exemplary though, and the back-line in particular have been impressive. Another clean sheet and a couple of goals should be very achievable.

A win is needed and will come after Liverpool maintain a first-half lead. The Reds will head home as 2-0 winners.

You’ll Never Walk Alone


Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 24/11/2018