Liverpool player ratings with Salah picking up at an 8 and Van Dijk 9

Alex Broun 11/02/2018
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The Reds breezed to a comfortable 2-0 win at Southampton with no less than five ex-Saints taking the pitch in Liverpool colours.

Mohamed Salah and Robert Firmino contributed some moments of class upfront while Virgil van Dijk was dominant at the back.

Here are our ratings:

Liverpool (4-3-3)

Lorus Karius – Good quick distribution led to the first goal, poor punch in first half but made up for it soon after with strong save from Hojbjerg, held Carrillo’s header well, and tipped a header over from Ward-Prowse. A bad throw on 37 minutes but overall a better performance – 7

Andrew Robertson – Outfoxed for an early corner that luckily did not lead to anything; got forward regularly, and whipped a couple of good crosses in the first half, superb play early in second half to set up a good chance for Salah, still pressing up to the 94th minute  – 8

Joel Matip – Good shepherding in first half to win a throw, looked comfortable alongside Van Dijk – their partnership is growing. Mishit a back pass from Alexander-Arnold gave Southampton good field position, clumsy tackle on Tadic in first half saw him booked, got stronger as game went on – 7

Virgil van Dijk – Imperious display at the back, the type Liverpool paid 75 million pounds for. Copped plenty of abuse from the home fans but it didn’t seem to rattle him, strong in the air, sat back a little deeper than Liverpool’s central defenders usually do which give him extra time on the ball. Showed composure and a nice floated ball to pick out Robertson in first half. Worked offside trap well, a great cut-out in particular of a Ward-Prowse ball on 64 minutes and dominated right to the final whistle – 9

Trent Alexander-Arnold – Relieved to see the offside flag go up against Tadic on 15 minutes, got forward when the chance presented. Gave corner up to Tadic in first half but did well to win one from him in second half, though committed a silly foul on Tadic to give Southampton chance on 58 mins – 6

Georginio Wijnaldum – Busy game in attack as usual, made some good challenges in the centre of the park. Put Mane in for a good chance on 32 minutes, a wild shot from outside the box went way over. Kept working to the end – 6

Emre Can – Sat back a little allowing Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wijnaldum to push up. Some good covering at the back, gave up ball to Romeu early in second half but continued to work hard, tracked back well, good strong challenge on Carrillo on 83 minutes – 7

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Back at St Mary’s and seemed eager to perform well. One early shot on target, worked hard in midfield, one wayward cross early in second half and would have liked to be more involved in an attacking sense – 5

Sadio Mane – Struggled to get involved, one long-range shot on 25 minutes that was well wide to the right, mishit clearance soon after almost led to catastrophe. Tracked back well and had a good chance on 32 minutes but failed to capitalise. Made a good chance for Firmino on 70 minutes, shot blocked on 73 minutes, missed with a wild left footer on 75 minutes – 7

Roberto Firmino – Took his goal well, finishing clinically from Salah’s pass; worked hard covering back, beaten by Lemina several times in the first half in 50-50 challenges but struck back with magnificent back heel setting up Salah’s goal, and had one shot on target saved in second half – 8

Mohamed Salah – Set up the first goal with a trademark fast break and neat inside poke to Firmino, kept fairly quiet in first half until a delightful back-heel from Firmino set up his goal. Made a dangerous dribble on the hour mark but lost the ball in penalty area – 8

SUBSTITUTES:

James Milner (on after 59 minutes for Oxlade-Chamberlain) – Strong challenge on Tadic to enter game, busy presence in midfield taking workload off Can – 5

Adam Lallana – (on after 80 minutes for Firmino) – Cleaned up Karius’ punch on 82 minutse when Southampton threatened, ran around and got involved as Klopp would have wanted, set up for a super chance with a one-two by Salah but pushed his left-footed shot wide – 6

Dejan Lovren (on after 88 minutes for Salah) – Brought the ex-Southampton players involved for Liverpool to five, managed not to concede a goal while he was on the fieldl, quite an achievement for Lovren – N/A

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Man United player ratings as Matt Ritchie nets 1-0 upset for Newcastle

Jay Asser 11/02/2018
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Alexis Sanchez tangles with Matt Ritchie in United 1-0 loss.

Manchester United were shut-out for a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Newcastle in a Premier League clash on Sunday night.

Matt Ritchie’s strike after Jojo Shelvey’s free kick provided the lone score in the contest, with United’s defence again lacking.

Here, we rate the United players on their effort at St James Park.

RATINGS

David de Gea – Made a sprawling save from Jonjo Shelvey early on, but could do little about the goal. 7

Phil Jones – Typically threw himself around, put his body on the line and made some key interceptions, but lacked in composure at times. 6

Chris Smalling – Was lucky a tackle on the edge of the box on Dwight Gayle didn’t draw a foul as it could have easily resulted in a penalty. His booking for diving also set up the free-kick for Newcastle’s goal. 4

Antonio Valencia – Might have prevented the goal if he had drifted inside on the free-kick. Was later booked for a dangerous high kick. 6

Ashley Young – His delivery from set pieces left a lot to be desired and his defending at the back was far from ideal. 6

Paul Pogba – The midfielder was a ghost throughout, failing to make any sort of impact. Recognising that, Jose Mourinho replaced him immediately after United conceded. 5

Jesse Lingard – Had some decent link-ups with Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku, but nothing to write home about as his form has continued to slide. 6

Nemanja Matic – Sent a fantastic pass to Anthony Martial in the first half that the Frenchman should have scored from, but was overrun in midfield at times. 6

Alexis Sanchez – Appeared to be on the verge of breaking through on multiple occasions with weaving runs, but couldn’t pull a goal out of the bag. 7

Romelu Lukaku – Failed to find the back of the net again, but delivered some clever passes. He wasn’t the reason United drew a blank. 7

Anthony Martial – Wasted a clear opportunity after Matic dropped a sensational pass to him on the run, but credit also goes to Martin Dubravka for sending it away. Later had two chances from point-blank range and nailed the defenders in front of goal both times. 5

SUBSTITUTES

Juan Mata – Had little time to settle in but his passing was slick enough. 6

Michael Carrick – Not the type of player to bring on when you’re chasing and he couldn’t impose himself. 6

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Javier Hernandez hopes partnership with Marko Arnautovic can fire West Ham to Premier League safety

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Javier Hernandez hopes his blossoming partnership with Marko Arnautovic will fire West Ham to Premier League safety.

Hernandez and Arnautovic were both on target as the Hammers gave their survival hopes a major shot in the arm with a 2-0 win over Watford.

Mexico striker Hernandez headed his third goal in four Premier League games before half-time, and Austrian playmaker Arnautovic capped an all-action performance with the second 12 minutes from the end.

“Marko is an unbelievable, all-around player and it gives you a lot of confidence when you play up front with a player like him,” Hernandez told the club website.

“We have a good understanding with each other and both of us scored. That’s a good thing for a striker.

“Not only did we score, but the whole team ran with high intensity and we showed that we wanted the three points.

“Three points are three points whoever they come against, and we need to keep going day-by-day and game-by-game because every game is going to be a final.”

The duo now have seven goals apiece this season, with West Ham’s latest victory moving them up to 30 points, level with Watford.

Meanwhile, Hornets striker Stefano Okaka was not in their squad despite not being injured. Okaka had looked set to leave Vicarage Road before the transfer deadline with Fulham, Malaga and Galatasaray all linked, but a move did not materialise.

Yet he was not involved at the London Stadium despite boss Javi Gracia having only 17 senior players available.

“It’s another situation,” said Gracia. “This week he was out of training, he was out of the team. Maybe next week he will be with us, but at this moment I can’t say anything else.”

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