Liverpool Player Ratings v Stoke: Who stood out?

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Liverpool won the first leg of their Capital One Cup tie against Stoke City 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium.

Liverpool did a good job in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final tie against Stoke City as a solitary goal from Jordon Ibe put the Reds in pole position for the second leg at Anfield in three weeks' time.

It wasn't all good news for Jurgen Klopp's side though as he lost both Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren in the first half at the Britannia Stadium with what looked like hamstring problems, as the injury toll at the club is now firmly in double figures.

The big news in terms of team news for the visitors was that Christian Benteke was dropped to the bench, allowing Roberto Firmino to lead the attack while Kolo Toure replaced Mamadou Sakho at the heart of the defence, and Joe Allen came in for a rare start. James Milner made his comeback from a calf injury towards the end of the first half, replacing Lovren.

Klopp will be happy with his side's display as they rarely looked threatened, and could probably feel they should be in a more comfortable position going into the second leg in three weeks' time.

It was hard to fault many of the individuals on display as it seemed Liverpool had a clear game plan, and carried out to good effect.

On one look, here is how they rated:

Simon Mignolet - Crucial save at the end of the first half. Solid. - 6

Nathaniel Clyne - Best compliment that could be paid to him was away end laughing at Arnautovic being given man of the match by Stoke. He was in his pocket for much of the night. - 8

Kolo Toure - Won everything that came his way. - 7

Dejan Lovren - Didn't let anything past him during his time on the field. Arguably his best half for the Refs before the curse of the hamstring struck again. - 7

Alberto Moreno - Read a lot of dangerous situations, defensively very good. - 7

Lucas Leiva - Struggling to think of a better hour at centre back from a midfielder. Won some big challenges. - 8

Joe Allen - Terrific display, always busy, plenty of drive, battled well and nothing flash. Did what was required. - 8

Emre Can - Very, very mature display. Read danger well, kept things nice and simple. - 7

Philippe Coutinho - Looked lively in opening 15 before his premature withdrawal. - 6

Adam Lallana - Pressed, looked busy, had a good strike saved. Solid but you can't help but want more, regardless of how bright he looks. - 6

Roberto Firmino - Noticeable how much his level dropped when Coutinho limped off. Should've doubled Reds' lead in first half but touch let him down. Noticeable how he tired late on, surprising he was left on. - 6

Substitutes:

Jordon Ibe - Crucial opening goal, pegged Glen Johnson back towards end of opening period, always a threat on the break. - 8

James Milner - Led the side throughout his time on the field, a calm head when the side looked under pressure. - 6

Christian Benteke - His omission was justified, didn't do much when he came on, but then again didn't need to. - N/A

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