Simon Mignolet is hopeless at dealing with set pieces, Divock Origi is emerging as a match-winning option and other things we learned from Liverpool 2 West Brom 2
By Editor Wayne Veysey
Mignolet is Liverpool’s weakest link
Simon Mignolet may have marginally improved during the calendar year from his low point of being axed at Old Trafford a year ago, but he remains an accident waiting to happen. For the best goalkeepers, the blunder is an exception that proves the rule, as it was when David de Gea was beaten by Junior Stanislas’ direct corner on Saturday. For Mignolet, it is so often the other way around. He was at fault for both of West Brom’s goals as Tony Pulis’ well-drilled team predictably preyed upon Liverpool’s weakest link. For the opener, Mignolet flapped helplessly at the free-kick. For the second, he stayed rooted to his line, nervous of being caught out if he came and failed to collect the corner. His confidence is rock bottom and it is time to give Adam Bogdan, who has impressed in his Capital One Cup showings, a chance.
Klopp is rewarded for attacking substitution
When Dejan Lovren was stretchered off after 77 minutes with a serious-looking injury, Jurgen Klopp could have played safe and replaced one centre-back with another in the shape of Kolo Toure. But the manager rolled the dice, threw on a second striker in Divock Origi, pushed Emre Can into defence and was rewarded with the last-gasp equaliser from the Belgian substitute. The animated Klopp was living every second of the match on the touchline in the second half and the players responded to their manager’s enthusiasm and intensity by getting the second goal they deserved. It has not always been that way at Anfield in the last two years.
Can has emerged as Liverpool’s best central midfielder
With Lucas Leiva and Joe Allen paying the price for Liverpool’s impotent display at Newcastle last weekend, Emre Can was restored to the Premier League starting line-up after missing the St James’ Park defeat through suspension.The Germany international was not at his very best but his touch, vision and desire shone through as Liverpool came from behind to snatch a late point. He even did a decent job as an emergency centre-back in the closing stages. Jordan Henderson, who headed in the hosts’ opener, and James Milner provide the work ethic but the real class comes from Can.
Benteke must provide greater penalty box movement
A second-half substitute at Chelsea and unused against City and Southampton, Benteke has not started Liverpool’s three stand-out performances of the season. Selected from the off in the last two league fixtures, the Belgian has been disappointing. His service was poor against Newcastle but the same could not be same for this match. Time after time, decent deliveries came in from the flanks but a combination of poor finishing from the Belgian and solid defending from Jonas Olsson and company demonstrated that Benteke needs to enhance his penalty box movement.
Klopp has the charisma to raise decibels at Anfield
When Anfield is on song, there are few more intimidating venues in football. But, great cathedral as it is, the famous stadium tends to reserve its best atmosphere for the marquee matches. For regulation home matches, the players are expected to rouse the fans rather than the other way around. Klopp has made it clear during the two months of his reign that he wants more from the supporters, as he knows the impact the proverbial 12th man can have. In the final minutes of this thrilling match, Klopp was urging the fans to produce a wall of sound to intimidate the visitors. The Kop responded and there was a fabulous atmosphere in the nine minutes of added time as Liverpool chased firstly an equaliser and then a late, late winner. Kudos to the German for that, but the idea of sending the players over to acknowledge the supporters afterwards with a hand-held chain was a step too far. Save it for when Liverpool win a Champions League semi-final, Jurgen.