One quick aside before we start: Could the Europa League anthem being any less inspiring? I don't know how I managed not to notice it until now, but it is awful. It reminds me of a scene in a movie where a character is aimlessly running through a forest, but the director wants you to think there is a purpose to the running. Forrest Gump should have used it. In addition, it ends abruptly just like the Japanese National Anthem which leaves one with a feeling of incompleteness.
Reina - 7 - Pretty much gaffe free from him for once. Fantastic reaction save in the first half. Very difficult to get down low and away that quickly. Not a whole lot he could do about any of the goals.
Robinson - 7 - He showed early that he was up for anything physical and, being true Italians, they backed down and he owned his flank. Didn't support the attack much, but the again I'm not sure I'm ready for him to make foraging runs forward all the time.
Carragher - 6 - This might be a bit nice, but only one goal was truly on him. Ok, so he probably is a 5, but I'm leaving it at a six and I have no idea why.
Coates - 7 - So unlucky. The own goal was very marginally his fault. Other than that he was fantastic. He stood his ground, didn't aimlessly stab like a blind man in a knife fight as he is prone to doing and had a number of key interceptions and blocks. Very unlucky not to score early on as well. He was an 8 in my books until the OG.
Johnson - 4 - He was atrocious today. A 4 might be harsh...nah. It is about right. He conceded possesion nearly every chance he got and in doing so set up Udinese for a quick counter. He conceded possesion cheaply for Udinese's first and then was slow to turn and defend leading to the goal. He is lucky he had a speed demon like Downing covering for him......
Downing - 8 - He had one of his best games in a Liverpool shirt (except that final shot that he should have done better with). Great cross for the assist, he was direct and caused Udinese a ton of problems including a beauty of a cross to Suarez that was unfortunately headed straight at the keeper.. In addition, he covered quite well for Johnson nearly every time he lost the ball. For me, the horsecollar tackle from behind on him was a straight red without a doubt. That is a potential career ender with absolutely no attempt to play the ball and is as reckless and dangerous as any two footed tackle I've seen. Disgraceful refereeing right there. There is a a reason a tackle like that in the NFL is a 15 yard personal foul followed up with a hefty fine from Roger Goodell.
Allen - 7 - A bit sloppier than usual, but he was still the lynchpin and made everything tick. Played a couple of very good direct balls to the forwards. I still can't believe he is only 22.
Assaidi - 5 - Yikes, he was not good. Conceded possession way too easily way too often against a side that he should have been able to do something against. Hopefully he can bounce back and find that form we saw the last two games again.
Henderson - 7 - he was everywhere. I would love to know how much distance he covered. One minute he was making a run in the box, next thing I knew he was showing for Reina. A bit harsh to be substituted. He does look to be developing overall. I think this season of fewer starts will be a good thing for him. There were a number of occasions where I would have liked to see him turn rather than one touch the ball back where it came from.
Shelvey - 7 - Scored one, should have scored two. He was a real threat in the first half, but seemed to fade a bit in the second. A bit of that was likely due to Gerrard's introduction. He is still a bit overaggressive at times which makes me worry that he still hasn't learned his lesson. I did love the two footed tackle celebration; very Jonjo-like.
Borini - 6 - He really is a new Dirk Kuyt; little touch, tons of endeavor. He did have a couple of nice plays, but as a whole he should have done better. I realize it is also difficult to be a lone striker as he essentially was in this system, but he has to do better with his touches and not whiff on good cutbacks by Downing.
Gerrard - 6 - Tried to get involved, but once again a Gerrard give away led directly to a goal. I don't know how, but he is going to have to cut that out of his game now that Liverpool play a much higher pressing style.
Suarez - 8 - Talk about an impact sub. A fantastic free kick and he absolutely tormented the Udinese back four. Not a bad days work for a 20 minute appearance.
Sterling - 6 - Tried to get involved, but didn't get a whole lot of time to make much of an impact.