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Manchester United V Liverpool: Liverpool Player Ratings

Jon FeatonbyCorrespondent ISeptember 19, 2010

Manchester United V Liverpool: Liverpool Player Ratings

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    Berbatov proved too good for the Liverpool defence to handleAlex Livesey/Getty Images

    Liverpool's poor start to the season continued as Roy Hodgson's team lost 3-2 against a Dimitar Berbatov-inspired Manchester United.

    The Anfield side were lucky to only go in at half-time one goal down, but Berbatov's screamer to double the lead early in the second-half seemed to put the game to rest.

    But Liverpool managed to come back as Captain Steven Gerrard bagged two goals, the first from the penalty spot after Fernando Torres, for so much of the game a spectator, had been fouled by Johnny Evans.

    Gerrard than smashed home the equaliser from a free-kick, again won by Torres, although question marks have to be asked over the Man United defensive wall.

    But Berbatov proved too much for Liverpool to handle, and the Bulgarian completed his hat-trick in the 84th minute as he rose above Jamie Carragher to head home, sealing all three points for the home team.

    Here are my ratings for Liverpool's players in this afternoon's game.

25. José Reina

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    Reina couldn't be blamed for any of the three goals he concededRoss Kinnaird/Getty Images

    Didn't really have a save to make and can't be faulted for any of the three goals. At times was wasteful with his distribution but commanded his box as well as ever.

    Match Rating: 6

2. Glen Johnson

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Dealt with the threat of Ryan Giggs until the Welshman was withdrawn after 82 minutes. Offered some threat going forward but, as he has for most of his Liverpool career, failed to deliver the final ball. 

    Liverpool need more from Johnson, especially going forward, if there are to recover from their slow start.

    Match Rating: 6

3. Paul Konchesky

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    Konchesky had his hands full with Nani all dayAlex Livesey/Getty Images

    Nearly played in his second 2-2 draw against United this season having played in Fulham's game earlier this term.

    Struggled at times against Nani and was caught out of position on a few occasions. Questionable position for the United opener after leaving his position on the post. 

    Offered very little in an attacking sense and gave the ball away too many times. Konchesky usually offers a threat down the left hand side and is a more than capable crosser of the ball. But when he did have the opportunity to cause problems for the home defence, he failed to deliver.

    Match Rating: 5

23. Jamie Carragher

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    Carragher will be frustrated after being beaten by Berbatov for the United winnerAlex Livesey/Getty Images

    Showed his usual impeccable level of commitment to the Liverpool cause but struggled to contain Berbatov.

    Was beaten in the air by the Bulgarian for the winner and was perhaps fortunate to not concede a penalty for handball after an attempted header back to Reina by Maxi Rodríguez.

    As someone whose hatred of Manchester United is well known, the way in which he was beaten by Berbatov will hurt.

    Match Rating: 6 

37. Martin Skrtel

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Was solid enough in the heart of the Liverpool defence and enjoyed the physical confrontations with Berbatov and Wayne Rooney.

    Perhaps lucky not to get penalised for holding at set-pieces, but there's nothing new there.

    Match Rating: 6

4. Raul Meireles

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Showed sparks of his ability at times during his first league start but struggled to get involved in the match, especially in the first-half.

    Perhaps surprisingly picked to play in the role just off Torres, it will be interesting to see if he gets much game time there with the return of Joe Cole.

    Substituted after 79 minutes, being replaced by Milan Jovanovic.

    Match Rating: 5

8. Steven Gerrard

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    Gerrard scored his first of the afternoon from the penalty spotAlex Livesey/Getty Images

    Not for the first time in his career Gerrard was the best Liverpool player on the pitch.

    Scored both of his team's goals and was one of the few players who actually attempted to add impetus to Liverpool's attacking play. The way in which he celebrated the equaliser will have brought a smile to many a fan's face.

    Played in a deeper position than he has for most of the season, and had too much to do defensively in the first-half. This limited his ability to influence the game and Hodgson needs to work out a way to get his captain in a position where he can put his range of abilities to best use.

    Match Rating: 8

10. Joe Cole

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    Cole and Gerrard couldn't inspire Liverpool to victoryAlex Livesey/Getty Images

    Playing in his first league game since getting sent-off on the opening day against Arsenal, Liverpool fans will hope that Cole will have better days for his new club.

    In fairness, he provided excellent defensive support to Konchesky and put in the yards. 

    He got better as the game went on and when he drifted infield was able to start creating openings for his team-mates. Personally, I would rather see him playing in the role behind Torres rather than stuck out on the left side of midfield.

    There is potential here and if he can form a relationship with Gerrard and Torres, there should be goals in this team.

    Match Rating: 7

17. Maxi Rodríguez

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    As seems to have been the trend since Maxi joined Liverpool, this game passed by the diminutive Argentinean. 

    Can't fault his work rate and tried to get forward when possible. Unfortunately, he just doesn't possess the ability to trouble defences at this level.

    Was taken off just after the hour mark to be replaced by Ngog.

    Match Rating: 5 

28. Christian Poulsen

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    Poulsen was handed the start in place of LucasAlex Livesey/Getty Images

    Handed the start as the main defensive midfielder ahead of Lucas, Poulsen failed to impose himself in the middle of the park.

    Too often failed to stop Fletcher and Scholes dominating the midfield battle and was poor on the ball. Seriously, is he capable of playing a forward pass?

    His match was summed up in the first half when an attempted cross was massively over-hit, much to the delight of the home fans.

    Match Rating: 5

9. Fernando Torres

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    Torres couldn't add to his impressive goal scoring record against Man UnitedAlex Livesey/Getty Images

    Hard to know what to say about Torres' performance. He was at fault for the Manchester United opener, getting the wrong side of Berbatov and allowing the Bulgarian to head home.

    Huffed and puffed for much of the first-half without making any impact and looked unfit and out of touch.

    Came to life in the second-half and started to pose problems for Johnny Evans and Nemanja Vidic. Earned the penalty after being brought down by Evans, and was then fouled by O'Shea to win the free-kick that lead to Liverpool's equaliser.

    The best, however, is still to come from Torres and Liverpool need him to get his goal scoring touch back sooner rather than later.

    Match Rating: 6

Subs

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    24. David Ngog

    Replaced Maxi after 62 minutes as Liverpool chased the game at 2-0 down.

    Only real impact was to pick up a yellow card.

    Match Rating: 6

    14. Milan Jovanavic

    Came on for Meireles but had little opportunity to get involved in a fast-paced game.

    5. Daniel Agger

    Played the last 10 minutes at left-back after replacing Konchesky. Had a bit of a shout at Nani following a quite ridiculous dive by the Portuguese winger, but failed to stop O'Shea's cross for the United winner.


Need To Rebound

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    A dejected Steven GerrardAlex Livesey/Getty Images

    So Liverpool's sorry start to the season continues as they have taken just five points from their first five league games.

    Fans can take some solace in the fact that they have now played away at both Manchester teams and at home to Arsenal, but they need to start picking up points. Soon.

    They host Northampton in the Carling Cup on Wednesday night, before welcoming Sunderland to Anfield for a Premier League clash next weekend. I know it's early on still, but three points is a must from this fixture if that fourth place isn't to disappear from sight.

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