Blackburn Rovers 0, Liverpool 1
Ewood Park, Blackburn (28,415)
Liverpool scorer: Coutinho 70′
Simon Mignolet – 7.5
Needed to communicate better with Sakho during an early mix-up which eventually only led to a corner, but this was the only blip. Made vital saves at key points in the game, not least from his opposite number Simon Eastwood, who made his way into the box to try and grab an equaliser late in the game.
Glen Johnson – 6
Looked more comfortable at right back than he has done at right centre back. Got forward down the right, but couldn’t manage to find a team-mate with his crosses, which wasn’t entirely his fault.
Dejan Lovren – 6
Less error strewn than in past appearances, despite still having a tendency to try and win headers which aren’t his to win. Looked more uncomfortable after the arrival of Rudy Gestede, but was solid enough overall.
Mamadou Sakho – N/A
Taken off with a hamstring injury around the half hour mark.
Alberto Moreno – 6
Made some good tackles down the left. Looked more comfortable in a back four.
Lucas Leiva – 6.5
His aerial ability in front of the back four is vital in games like this, and even if he doesn’t always win his duels, he takes some of the heat off the back four. Played as a lone holder in front of the defence.
Philippe Coutinho – 7.5
Another great strike from the Brazilian saw Liverpool progress to the next round. He was played out of position on the right of midfield, but still managed to come up with the moment which won the game. He found himself in the box after a one-two with Henderson, and he fired past Eastwood into far corner from a fairly tight angle.
Jordan Henderson – 6.5
Set Coutinho up for the goal and managed to put some good balls in from corners. Much more effective in midfield than he is on the right.
Joe Allen – 6.5
A game of two thirds. A good performance, but needs to do more once he finds himself in the attacking third. If he can add a goal or assist (not a hockey assist, an actual assist) to his game, then both he and the team would have more confidence. This said, he was unlucky not to get a penalty in the second half after a burst into the box.
Raheem Sterling – 7
Worked hard against Adam Henley – a fairly quick opposing full back. Still had the beating of him and caused problems down Blackburn’s right side.
Daniel Sturridge – 5.5
STILL not match sharp. Shot just over the bar early on in the game, and should have scored when through on goal later in the half.
Kolo Touré – 6.5
(Sakho 28′) Bailed out his team on a couple of occasions with tackles and clearances, and improved on his poor display against Arsenal.
Rickie Lambert – N/A
(Sturridge 85′) Was asked to hold the ball up in the latter stages, and did OK, but could have done better with a back-post header just after coming on.
Liverpool switched to a back four due to a combination of missing personnel, and poor performance in recent games using a back three.
The formation resembled 4-3-3 in attack, with Lucas holding and Henderson and Allen in front of him. In defence the wide players would drop back to form a four in midfield in front of Lucas, with Coutinho on the right and Sterling on the left.
Joe Allen would occasionally drop back to help Lucas, and Henderson made regular runs forward to support the attack.
Coutinho did a job for the team on the right, but wasn’t involved as much as he usually is, and should be.