First things first. I apologize for not getting the Villa ratings. I kept trying to get to them and crap just kept coming up, then before I knew it this game was upon us. Secondly, it looks like I wrote that diving article a week too early. Now onto the ratings.
That has to be one of the more bizarre games I have ever witnessed. The only check mark in the box that was missed was seeing Enrique back in goal. However, we nearly got that as well.
I was good to see a squad, void of "star" players go in and get the job done. It was unorthodox, but 3 points either way you look at it. There was a moment where it seemed as if Liverpool were going to run away with it, and then the calamity of errors started. I don't know what to say, but it was a gritty win with decent play by young players (with one obvious exception). By then end of the game I was just in a constant chuckle which turned into outright laughter when Carroll scored the winner. What a game.
One thing though, I hope those of you in the sell Reina camp are at least giving some thought that he might be more important than we thought. The last two games have illustrated the importance of a steady hand back there.
On to the ratings:
Doni - 4 - Well he didn't do a whole lot, other than get sent off. Not his fault, he was completely hung out to dry by Flanagan although he could have done a little better.
Johnson - 6 - Boy did he look tired. He is clearly not match fit, but it was great to see him out there. However, he was also on the left so I'll take that into consideration. It looked like he was the one who lost Yakubu for Blackburn's first.
Coates - 6 - Solid performance from him. That's all I got. I don't remember anything spectacularly good or bad that he did.
Skrtel - 7 - That's why he's the skipper!! Great performance with a makeshift back line. Kept them fairly well organized considering Liverpool were short handed most of the game, but the keeper swaps. In addition, his pass to Bellamy for the opener was unreal, dare I say, Xabi-esque. He also had a thunderous header that was called back off a corner. It was saved, but one of the hardest headers I have seen in a while.
Flanagan - 3 - This is probably generous. He should have been off before he made a horrendous back pass to lead to Doni's sending off. I'm pretty sure he just wishes yesterday never happened. I am not down on the kid. He has had a rough two games, but last year he did quite well filling in for our injured back line. He is still useful, although not yesterday.
Henderson - 8 - I think we may have found a position out wide where he can excel. When he was switched to RB, he was up and down the pitch, providing the width Liverpool needed and still defended well. This was easily his best game in a red shirt. His passing was good, he vision was excellent. Just an overall great showing. Keep it up!!
Spearing - 7 - Quietly put in a fantastic shift. If you take note of his passes, he is very good at collecting the ball and starting the counter. His passing wasn't as sloppy as it had been and he did well to help keep Blackburn out of the Liverpool box for the most part.
Shelvey - 7 - They were the best of times, they were the worst of times. Jonjo has no in between. He is eaither cleverly taking the ball off a player and starting a counter, or making a rash challenge or giving the ball away. I really wish Kenny would revoke his shooting license. Just because he scored from 40 yards out early in the year with Blackpool doesn't mean he can do it here. Overall though, much better performance than his other recent outings.
Bellamy - 7 - Picked up his token yellow. Glad to see him get that out of the way, although it took longer than I thought. He was brilliant to get open for the pass from Skrtel and played a fantastic ball across the box that only Kuyt or Carrol; could have failed to score with. Maxi, though, put it away nicely. Set pieces stank.
Maxi - 8 - He was anonymous for the other 5398 seconds of the game (yes I realize he was subbed, let's not get technical), but for those two seconds, he was great. I don't know how he does it, but perhaps he should be playing in more of these games against the bottom sides. His meandering still drives me crazy, but this team needs goals.
Carroll - 8 - the one you have all been waiting for. He was fantastic in defense, better holding up the ball, and he got the game winning goal. I guess I can't ask for more. I still am not quite sure how he will fit into a full side, but progress is progress. He did have a couple lazy moments (like when Hendo ran the full length of the pitch, beat his man and flashed it across goal while Carroll stood there like a bump on a log), but it was better overall from him.
Jones - 6 - Saved a penalty, conceded a penalty. I have no idea what he was thinking. He clearly lost his bearings, I have no idea why he didn't catch the ball when it was deflected off Yakubu. Initially I thought he was surely going to see red, but after watching the replays, it did seem to be the right call. Hopefully he is sanding the rust off, because he will be starting on Sunday.
Agger - 8 - Anyone who faux-hawks a mohawk deserves an 8. Oh and he was everywhere once he came on. He has no played a crucial role in two goals in the last two games. Great performance from the bench. I can't wait to have him an Skrtel back together.
Enrique - 6 - Not on long. I was glad to see him get a rest. He has looked one was needed for a few weeks now. He was a little off the pace, but helped shore up the defense in the 10 man side.