Liverpool had some nervy moments before eventually beating Stoke City 3-0 to continue their unbeaten run at the Bet365 Stadium on Wednesday
Liverpool were the dominant side in the early stages of the match, although chances came at a premium before the deadlock was finally broken in the 17th minute as Dominic Solanke set up Sadio Mane, who didn’t make any error to score past Lee Grant.
The Reds had the better of the goalscoring chances for the rest of the half, with Solanke having the most clearcut opportunity to double his side’s advantage and score his maiden Premier League goal. On the other end of the pitch, Simon Mignolet was lucky to not be sent off for bringing Mame Biram Diouf down.
Good work, Reds! pic.twitter.com/tSy4iwUimY
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) November 29, 2017
As the game wore on, both sides had enough chances to grab the next goal, with Sadio Mane and Joe Allen guilty of spurning glorious opportunities on either end. The second goal finally arrived an hour after the first, as Mohamed Salah came on to ease the nerves by continuing his fine scoring run.
The in-form Egyptian then rounded the win off just minutes later as capitalised on a mistake by Erik Pieters to net his 17th goal of the season. The win helped Liverpool leapfrog Tottenham into fifth place in the Premier League table, and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Simon Mignolet: 5/10
Another night when a “Simon Mignolet moment” cropped up on the night, as he brought Mame Biram Diouf down on the edge of his box. That was a challenge that should have ended with his sending off, but Martin Atkinson had other ideas – letting Mignolet get away with just a yellow card.
— Top Tackles (@TopTackles) November 29, 2017
Apart from that moment, it was a quiet night for the Belgian goalkeeper, who otherwise did well to deal with the crosses coming his way. But, there was nothing he could have done to outweigh the howler of a moment in the first half that should have sent Liverpool down to 10 men.
Joe Gomez: 7/10
Playing his third game in the last one week, Gomez showed little signs of fatigue as he was barely troubled on the night. He had a role to play in the win as well as he produced a smart run down the right flank before laying in a fine cross to Dominic Solanke, who found Sadio Mane for the goal.
Joel Matip: 6.5/10
The Cameroonian wasn’t called into action much on the night, although Matip must get the credit for neutralising the threat of the Stoke attack well. The player only had one moment of concern all night, when he read a ball badly, but he did well to keep Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting quiet.
Dejan Lovren: 6.5/10
Another player in the defensive unit who acquitted himself well on the night, Lovren was solid on his return to the starting lineup. Comfortable on the ball and untroubled in the air, the Croat was assured throughout the night, although he wasn’t tested a lot either. He needs to show more of such composure for his own good.
Alberto Moreno: 6/10
A tough eight days of football ended with another testing performance. Tasked to keep Xherdan Shaqiri – Mame Biram Diouf in the first half – quiet, Moreno had his hands full on the night against the nippy Swiss winger. But, he was often equal to the task at hand and despite some nervy moments, the Spaniard dealt with his challenges well on the night.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7/10
His performance will be overshadowed by Salah’s 2 goals, but Oxlade-Chamberlain played great tonight. pic.twitter.com/HfEHXqR9Ek
— Matt Thielen (@MelwoodDaily) November 29, 2017
Oxlade-Chamberlain seems to be finally finding his feet as a Liverpool player, and he has definitely repaid his manager’s faith in the last two games. On Wednesday, the Englishman worked hard and gave Erik Pieters a tough time, and a return to goalscoring ways isn’t too far. A consistent performer so far, much to Klopp’s delight.
Emre Can: 6.5/10
Can was deployed in a deeper role once again, and this seems to be a position that he flourishes in. While it wasn’t a spectacular outing by the German midfielder, his tenacity and industrious presence helped keep things tight in the middle, which ultimately helped the defenders out a great deal.
More such performances and he could soon be usurping Jordan Henderson, even though his contract situation remains a major concern as far as the long-term future is concerned.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 6/10
Not a poor performance by any means by the Dutchman, but he wasn’t outstanding either. Wijnaldum does the simple jobs well, and his link up with Sadio Mane is a delight, but he needs to do more to contribute to his team’s cause, and it is not beyond him either.
Sadio Mane: 8/10
1 – Sadio Mane has scored his first goal in six Premier League games for Liverpool, ending his longest PL goal-drought with the Reds. Relief. pic.twitter.com/zDabVmqMBH
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 29, 2017
It was a long, long drought for Mane, having failed to score in each of his last six Premier League games, but the dry run finally came to an end on Wednesday. An excellent touch and a deft chip, and he was off celebrating after the ball slumped past the line.
But, the Senegalese wasn’t done yet, as he produced an exception cross for Salah’s first goal. While he did miss a huge chance earlier on, this was a performance that would do well for his form in front of goal nonetheless.
Dominic Solanke: 7/10
In what was his first Premier League start for Liverpool, the former Chelsea striker was a picture of confidence, showing just why he is so highly rated. Apart from a fine assist for Mane’s goal, Solanke made three more key passes while also being dominant in the air, and his ability to drop deep and create space reminded one of his partner up front.
After not looking out of place at all in a starting role, the youngster definitely looks like he’s here to stay, something which would be a cause for optimism for Klopp.
Roberto Firmino: 6/10
Not one of his better nights of the season, as Firmino looked a little sluggish. While the Brazilian did work hard off the ball, he looked a little out of place in what was a new role for him. Credit to him for remaining goalless on the night because he had a chance to poke Mane’s shot in for the first goal before he chose to refrain in a classy moment.
Mohamed Salah: 9/10
Mo Salah in all competitions for Liverpool:
21 games 🔴
17 goals ⚽️
In the Premier League:
14 games 🔴
12 goals ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/XCPyvqb68j
— LFC Stats (@LFCData) November 29, 2017
This man just can’t stop scoring, can he? The little Egyptian continued to go from strength to strength on Wednesday, notching up his 11th and 12th Premier League goals of the season. The first was a volley that was finished in spectacular fashion, while the second showed the composed side to Salah’s game.
On top of that, he gained some valuable rest, meaning he would have fresh legs to give the Brighton defenders some hard time on Saturday. What a bargain buy.
James Milner: 6/10
Milner replaced Oxlade-Chamberlain for the last 25 minutes or so, and he used all of his experience to see off the match without any incidents. Showcasing impeccable work-rate, the veteran Englishman also contributed to his side’s build up play for the last two goals.
Jordan Henderson: N/A
On for the last few minutes, Henderson had little time to influence the game.