Though it doesn’t come as much as a surprise, Jordan Rossiter’s performance for Liverpool this evening was far more impressive than the banner on show in his honour.
The youth graduate- who was making his first European start for Liverpool- looked a steady figure in central midfield and carried out his business in an assured and mature manner. What he lacked in attacking value, he compensated for with hard work and simplicity in front of the team’s defensive trio. On the back of the side’s demoralising and uninspiring defeat to Manchester United, Rossiter’s execution of the basics was important even if it wasn’t exhilarating. He kept possession with an understandable insistence on playing the easy pass, while he also looked strong in tackle and admirably stern when confronting any opponent that approached him with the ball.
Ultimately, he couldn’t have done much more to help his team having been substituted just moments before Bordeaux equalised. When required, he doubled up well with Jordan Ibe to combat the adventurous Maxime Poundjé and Nicolas Maurice-Belay down the left hand side. He also worked well with fellow youngster Pedro Chirivella when the Spaniard joined him in midfield after coming on for the injured Kolo Toure. In addition to his defensive priorities, the 18 year old did look to link defence and attack and his solid effort is evidenced further by the fact that he completed 38 out of the 42 passes he attempted.
It remains to be seen whether or not he intends to offer more to his side in an attacking sense in the future, however early signs suggest he is more defensively minded, which could make him an essential player for Brendan Rodgers given the team’s notable lack of holding midfielders. Comparing him to Liverpool’s former Scouse hero would be unfair, however the youngster’s dogged nature, tucked in shirt and shaven head just shouts Steven Gerrard. What is a Liverpool side without a Scouser in the team? The simple fact he has come up through the Liverpool youth system already means he has the respect and support of the Anfield faithful, who always enjoy seeing their youngsters prevail.
With every Liverpool player under pressure to perform well at the moment, he stands as good a chance as anyone of earning a spot in Brendan Rodgers’ midfield. I say it about every Liverpool player but if he continues to work tirelessly on the pitch and if he remains visibly hungry to do his best for the team then he has a great chance of winning the fans over, winning his teammates over and winning Brendan Rodgers over. He is an old fashioned type of player which is what a struggling and flat Liverpool could need right now.