It was a tough night at the office for Brenda Rodgers’ men in the second leg of their Europa League tie in Turkey. They suffered their first defeat of the calendar year, as Beşiktaş deserved their 1-0 victory on the night and eventually, 5-4 on penalties.
With an all important fixture at home to Manchester City in less than 48 hours, the loss and performance couldn’t have come at a worse time. A majority of first XI players’ endured the rigours of extra time, while the performance itself was indifferent in comparison with previous weeks. Player ratings as follows:
Simon Mignolet - 6: Nothing he could do for the goal, nor the five spot kicks from which he conceded. Was once again commanding throughout.
Dejan Lovren - 4: His missed penalty sums up his Liverpool career, thus far. Showed a willingness to step up in a vital time, but in fairness shouldn’t have been anywhere among the five penalty takers.
Martin Skrtel - 6: Did well in containing Demba Ba throughout, despite the latter’s effort in extra time. Didn’t do a lot wrong on the night.
Kolo Toure - 6: Looked quite comfortable at the back. Struggled to find an outlet when bringing the ball out, however he wasn’t the only one. Some may say he was culpable in not closing down his opponent in the lead up to Beşiktaş’ goal.
Jordan Ibe - 6: Quiet game for the young Englishmen. Limped off during the second half with a slight knock/injury.
Alberto Moreno - 6: From a Liverpool point of view, he looked the liveliest. Provided able coverage for Lovren several times throughout the first half. Still wondering why he wasn’t the fifth penalty taker.
Emre Can - 6: Look comfortable in the midfield. Tired as the game went with cramp and it showed, as he failed to find a teammate with the final pass on several occasions.
Joe Allen - 6: Liverpool’s best player in the first half. Controlled the midfield, however faded as the game progressed. He will be vital for the weekend’s game against City.
Raheem Sterling- 4: Failed to keep hold of the ball in a performance that was among his worst in a Liverpool shirt. Missed two good opportunities to double Liverpool’s advantage in the tie. A night to forget.
Mario Balotelli - 6: Was almost hacked to death by Beşiktaş’ defenders. Detractors may suggest he was to blame in the lead up to Besiktas’ goal, but looked like Liverpool’s best outlet in an attacking sense.
Daniel Sturridge - 4: See Raheem Sterling. Missed a golden chance to put the tie to bed in the first half. Along with Sterling, the surface didn’t help Sturridge’s case, however by his standards, he had a poor game.
Javier Manquillo - 5: Did a steady job at right wing back, despite conceding a needless corner just after his introduction.
Adam Lallana - 6: Tried his best to penetrate in the final third but suffered along with his teammates in producing any attacking fluidity.
Rickie Lambert - 6: Tried his best to provide a spark. His work ethic can never be doubted. Took his penalty well.
Brendan Rodgers - 5: He seemingly left the team’s pressing tactics at Melwood. Liverpool’s European and Premier League tactics couldn’t be more contrasting. This season has been a steep learning curve for the young manager, who will hopefully review some of the tactics he’s employed on the continent this season. The only way is up.
By Simon K.