Wow, what a game of two halves. Originally, this post was going to be written for just the Best 5 and Worst 5 players from both halves, but that game has forced my hand. Below are the Best 5 Players of the 1st Half, Best 5 Players of the 2nd Half, Worst 5 Players of the 1st Half, and, of course, the Worst 5 Players of the 2nd Half.
Best 5 of the 1st Half
- Raheem Sterling – Raheem was brilliant in the first half. He drew the penalty that put Liverpool ahead and was generally a nuisance. Looking to keep progressing from last year.
- Philippe Coutinho – Pulled the strings in midfield and offered something defensively in midfield. Looks to have added something to his game from last year. Now, if only he could add goals.
- Steven Gerrard – He may have been at fault for the second goal, but in the 1st half he was at his commanding best. He lead his midfield as they completely silenced United’s for 45 minutes.
- Mamadou Sakho – He was great in this past World Cup with France and seems to have carried over that form. Dominant in defense and great passing accuracy. For this half, at least.
- David De Gea – If it wasn’t for his stop against Phil Coutinho in the 23rd minute, United could have been out of the game. Seemed to stop almost everything that was thrown at him.
Worst 5 of the 1st Half
- Johnathan Evans – The fact that Van Gaal pulled him out for Blackett in the second half says it all. Was as shaky in passing as the rest of the defense but was less solid than his two partners.
- Phil Jones – Like Johnny Evans above, was weak in possession, given the ball away a few times and conceded the penalty that put Liverpool ahead.
- Chris Smalling – Probably the better of the three defenders this half, but still gave away the ball too many times.
- Darren Fletcher – Invisible for the half. Almost totally shut out of the game and outnumbered in midfield.
- Rickie Lambert – Still meshing with the rest of the team. Too slow to do what Sturridge does and wasn’t on the same page as his teammates.
Best 5 of the 2nd Half
- Wayne Rooney – Rooney is at his best when given license to roam and press. That’s what he did the 2nd half. At times, was the only one pressing and was still effective. Took his goal well.
- Javier Hernandez – Chicharito’s assist on Rooney’s goal was great. Best way to put it. Looked dangerous until his substitution and always offered an option to his teammates.
- Ashley Young – Worked tirelessly on the right side of defense and attack. His crosses to the opposite flank helped lead to numerous chances and two of the goals.
- Juan Mata – Had a great shot on net and looked generally lively until his substitution.
- Tyler Blackett – Didn’t put a wrong foot in for most of the game. Showed poise in defense and moved the ball out well.
Worst 5 of the 2nd Half
- Glen Johnson – The fact that all three goals originated from attacks on his flank says it all. Has been having a bad summer, if not year. I’m not shocked that Liverpool have been looking for a replacement on the right.
- Martin Skrtel – Like the game, this was a game of two halves for Martin Skrtel as well. In the 2nd half, he showed why Liverpool felt the need to drop £20m on Dejan Lovren. Mentally switched off at some dangerous moments.
- Mamadou Sakho – Possibly at fault for the second goal by not closing down Mata fast enough. Looked to have lost his confidence and form that he brilliantly showed in the 1st half.
- Simon Mignolet – Maybe could have done better for two of the goals. Still not totally convincing when it comes to controlling his box, too.
- Lucas Leiva – This is possibly a little unfair on Lucas, because he was subbed on after United had scored twice, but Lucas didn’t offer much while he was on the pitch. Those horrible injuries he has been battling the last two year have really hit him hard. Sad to see.
So what are your thoughts? Agree or disagree? Who do you think will place higher this season, Liverpool or Manchester United ? Leave your thoughts below.