Liverpool 1-0 Crystal Palace: Player Ratings, Premier League 2017-18
After having begun their season on a rather disappointing note with a draw against Watford, Liverpool faced Crystal Palace at home with the hopes of finding their first League win of the season. Jurgen Klopp made numerous changes to his line-up to bring in the likes of Daniel Sturridge and James Milner but his side endured a tough first half, especially with Palace putting in a disciplined performance.
It seemed like the Reds would end the game with their second consecutive draw in the League until the 73rd minute when a lapse in concentration of Palace defence gifted Sadio Mane the opportunity to knock one in the back of the net and the Senegalese superstar gleefully obliged, thus handing the Reds their first league victory of the season.
Here are the player ratings from the game between Liverpool and Crystal Palace.
Simon Mignolet – 6
The Belgian keeper had an easier outing as compared to the game against Watford, especially with the Liverpool back-line keeping the Palace attack at bay for extended durations of the game. On the two occasions that he was called into action, the former Sunderland man did well to deny Palace.
He still needs to improve on his distribution as he was often found guilty of making the wrong passes from the back.
Andrew Robertson – 8
Liverpool have lacked a left-back of real calibre for a while now and if Robertson’s performances on the evening were any indication, he is here to stay. The Scottish international was the stand out performer in Liverpool’s rather poor first half as he provided the required attacking threat from the flanks while also ensuring that the Palace attack did not find space and time to work the ball into.
The debutant constantly probed from the left-flank and provided some delightful crosses which Liverpool were unable to capitalise on to. His evening could have ended better had he found the back of the net with the glorious drive he attempted late in the game.
Ragnar Klavan – 6
The Estonian came into the side at the expense of the erratic Dejan Lovren and struggled in bits and parts. However, he was a calm presence in the back for the Reds and dealt appropriately with any threats in the air as well as on the ground while also showing a good chemistry with Robertson on the left-flank.
While Klavan might not be Liverpool’s first choice centre-back, he will have a huge role to play in the long season ahead and this performance is an indication that he can be relied upon when asked by his manager.
Joel Matip - 7
The likes of Christian Benteke, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Sullay Kaikai thrive in the air and Liverpool’s susceptibility in the air further required them to pull up the socks in that department and they did precisely that with Matip leading by example.
The Cameroonian won 6 of the 8 headed duels that he entered into and also was reassuring on the ground as he frustrated Palace with a mix of tackles and interceptions. Though he seemed to have lost a bit of control during the later stages of the game, in all, it was a very reassuring performance from the man and he will be keen to build on it going forward.
Joe Gomez – 6
The young English defender was deployed as the right-back on the evening by Klopp and it would be fair to say he did not disappoint his manager. He was industrious as he pressed the Palace attack for space while also ensuring that he contributed to his side’s attack from the right flank. He finished the evening with a good cross into the box which Salah failed to capitalise upon.
James Milner – 5
After spending the last season as the side’s makeshift left-back, the Englishman was moved into his preferred position of Central midfield for the game. While he was tidy with his passing and also did well to put in some good crosses from the corners, he was found wanting in the creative department and that might be something that could force Klopp into moving him into a different role.
He failed to create any real goal scoring opportunity through the game and was also guilty of missing a chance early in the game after getting past the Palace defence. To his credit, he did well to cover for Robertson when the Scot defender ventured forward.
Jordan Henderson – 5
While Liverpool might have eked out their first win of the season, there was no denying that several of their players are still underperforming and Jordan Henderson is making a strong case for being dropped. The Liverpool captain had yet another evening where he was hit and miss with his passing and also failed to create any real chance from midfield and given that he fails to exert control over the game, could Klopp look for a replacement in the long term? We definitely think so.
He was industrious as always but then you expect a lot more from the man than just that and he will need to improve considerably to help his side assert their dominance on games.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 5
Liverpool’s midfield troubles were evident in the opening half of the game and Wijanldum was amongst the chief perpetrators for the Reds as he failed to come alive yet again. He was absent for long durations of the game and failed to add anything to the Reds’ attack apart from a few long range efforts. In simple words, he went missing in the game for extended durations and will need to improve considerably going forward.
Sadio Mane – 7
It was a rather quiet afternoon for the Senegalese striker in the first half but he truly came alive in the 2nd half with the Reds going into an overdrive to eke out a positive result. After being guilty of missing a goal scoring opportunity late in the first half as he failed to react to a glorious Robertson cross, Mane finally made amends for his mistake with a brilliant burst through the Palace defence to put the ball into the back of the net in the 73rd minute.
Roberto Firmino – 7
Deployed on the right-hand side of the Liverpool attack, the Brazilian had a rather uneasy first half with his long range effort in the 41st minute that surprised the Palace defence being the only highlight of the opening 45 minutes. However, like the rest of the Liverpool attack, he too came to the party in the 2nd half and constantly teased the Palace with his movement on and off the ball. While he might not be getting on the score sheet as often as is expected from an attacker, he certainly does enough to keep the attack ticking and was vital in Liverpool taking all 3 points from the first home game of the season.
Daniel Sturridge – 6
Sturridge was handed a rare start in a Liverpool shirt and did not fail to deliver. He was surprisingly industrious and constantly threatened to get in behind the Palace back-line. However, what would have pleased the Liverpool fans the most would have been the chemistry he showed operating alongside the likes of Mane and Firmino.
Should Sturridge remain fit, Liverpool will benefit immensely from his expertise in front of the goal in a season which promises to test the strength of the side.
Mohamad Salah – 7
Salah was brought in for Sturridge mid way through the 2nd half and did well to put pressure on a tiring Palace defence. His sublime effort from the left which was denied acrobatically by Hennessey would have made for one of the goals of the season.
Dominic Solanke – 6
The young English forward came on for Wijnaldum in the 71st minute and did precisely what was asked of him by Klopp by putting pressure on the opposition backline. He could have capped off a good cameo with a goal but failed to capitalise on the chance that came his way.