Robert Firmino is carrying the Merseysiders’ attack, Simon Mignolet is an accident waiting to happen and other things we learned from Liverpool 2 Sunderland 2
By Editor Wayne Veysey
Firmino is a tour de force
Liverpool do not have a fox in the box in the mould of Jamie Vardy. But with Christian Benteke once again in his familiar position of the substitute’s bench, Roberto Firmino carried the attack manfully. The Brazilian opened the scoring with the type of textbook header that Benteke was bought for, and then laid on the second for Adam Lallana with some excellent play. With five goals in five league games, Firmino is emerging as a consistently impressive performer. He is also carrying the Merseysiders’ attack.
Mignolet is too nervous to be a No1
The Liverpool No1 was given the huge boost of a lucrative new five-and-a-half-year contract last month but there there has subsequently been no tangible improvement in his performance levels. The best goalkeepers exude authority. Simon Mignolet has the permanent air of a man who has left the gas on at home. The Belgian was at fault for both of Sunderland’s goals, getting his positioning hopelessly wrong for the free-kick and was then rooted to the spot for Jermain Defoe’s equaliser. The word is that Liverpool’s plan is to offload the blunder-prone No2 Adam Bogdan and recruit a proven goalkeeper in the summer who can challenge Mignolet for his starting place. To be blunt, the Belgium international is miles off the required standard for a club with trophy ambitions.
Liverpool are sloppy and careless
Two goals up with 10 minutes left, Liverpool’s players lost their concentration as soon as large numbers of fans walked out in a pre-planned protest at rising ticket prices. Both goals were sloppy and careless, and would not have improved the health of the absent Jurgen Klopp, who was in his sick bed.
Lallana responds to call for more end product
The attacking midfielder has been rightly criticised for too many nearly-but-not-quite performances. But Adam Lallana responded to the calls for more end product by scoring his second goal in three league matches. It was a simple finish following excellent play from Firmino but, crucially, the England international was in the right place at the right time.
Lovren falls victim to hamstring curse
Just when it seemed that Klopp and his staff had got a handle on how to keep the squad fit in the midst of a brutal schedule, Dejan Lovren fell victim to the club’s hamstring curse. Again. In the third match of his comeback after already missing three weeks with a hamstring injury sustained against Stoke in early January, the Croatian broke down with what appeared to be his second hamstring strain in little over a month. Questions need to be asked once again of Liverpool’s injury prevention methods under their new manager.