Liverpool stopped their bad run of form by holding top of the table Chelsea to a draw, in a game the Reds dominated for long spells.
Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea
Premier League, Anfield
January 31, 2017
Goals: Wijnaldum; Luiz
Simon Mignolet (out of 10) – 7
The goalkeeper has been in good form of late, and he turned from zero to hero on Merseyside.
The Belgian made a superb save to deny Diego Costa from the penalty spot, though – how crucial might that be in May!
Nathaniel Clyne – 6
The 25-year-old has been out with a rib injury, and he wasn’t himself on a soaking wet night at Anfield.
Too often, Clyne chose the easy option rather than trying to hit the byline, and he appears to be playing with a lack of confidence.
That said, he was defensively as sound as ever, and improved after the break.
It was always going to take time for Matip to get back into his groove, and he never looked entirely comfortable up against the pesky Costa.
A few shaky touches on the ball put Liverpool in precarious situations, and he generally didn’t lack the authority he did prior to injury.
He gave away the spot kick, having been adjudged to have brought down Costa.
Dejan Lovren – 5
Some of his decision-making was reckless, and it was his losing of possession that led to Chelsea winning the penalty.
Some of the criticism that comes his way is unfair, but Liverpool must buy a better centre-back to partner Joel Matip in the summer.
James Milner – 5.5
Like so many at the moment, Milner is a player who looks out of form.
He appeared to be running in treacle at times against Chelsea, and the attacking thrust than shone through in the early months of the season was lacking.
Like so many, however, he produced a more spirited showing after the break, and played a key role in Wijnaldum’s equaliser, heading the ball across goal.
Jordan Henderson – 7.5
Arguably Liverpool’s man of the match.
Henderson was the only Reds player who was bordering on faultless all evening – he may have ducked a little for Luiz’s free-kick – with his work-rate, use of the ball and leadership all increasingly impressive as the match went on.
The skipper hasn’t been himself of late, but this performance showed what character and underrated quality he has. He sent in a superb, deft cross in the lead-up to the goal.
Emre Can – 6.5
Like so many Can performances this season, this was an inconsistent showing, but one where the good outweighed the bad.
There was some admirable defensive work and typical bloods-and-guts running, but he was also wasteful in possession and failed to create much.
The midfielder has been the fall guy of late, but this was an encouraging 90 minutes.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 7
The Liverpool midfield has been limp of late, and Wijnaldum has been as guilty as anyone in that respect.
His preference to play the safe pass became a little infuriating in the first-half, although he did test Thibaut Courtois with a good early shot.
The former Newcastle man came alive after the break, though, scoring the equaliser with a good header, and playing with so much more purpose. Strong as an ox.
Adam Lallana – 5.5
The 28-year-old was so brilliant earlier in the campaign that we may be expecting too much now, but he was very quiet against the Blues.
Jurgen Klopp‘s decision to deploy him in the front-three once again didn’t work, and he must return to a deeper role now that Sadio Mane is back.
It wasn’t all bad, with his work ethic as good as ever, but the quality just wasn’t quite there.
Philippe Coutinho – 5.5
If any Liverpool looked like doing something in the opening 45 minutes, it was Coutinho, with his trickery and inventiveness at least threatening to breach Chelsea’s stubborn rearguard.
The Brazilian’s end product was still a little disappointing, though, and he faded as the much went on. Substituted with 15 minutes remaining.
Roberto Firmino – 5
After his goalscoring heroics against Swansea City in his last Premier League outing, Firmino was off the boil on Tuesday.
His touch let him down a number of times, and although the usual class was on show sporadically, he was kept very quiet.
Missed glorious chances at either end of the second-half, perhaps showing he is not a truly top class finisher.
Sadio Mane (on for Coutinho ’75) – 6
Given a great reception when he came on, but barring his late cross for Firmino’s chance, didn’t make a huge impact.
Divock Origi (on for Lallana ’89) – n/a
No time to do anything.
Jurgen Klopp – 7
The manager has been under real pressure of late, but he got a much improved performance out of his team.
He cannot be blamed for the unprofessionalism of Luiz’s goal, and up until that point, Liverpool had easily been the better team.
Klopp arguably made an error starting Lallana in a front-three again, but with Mane not ready, and Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi out of form, it was understandable.
This should be seen as a positive step in the right direction, and hopefully the overly-harsh criticism of the boss will die down.