Liverpool hosted European champions Chelsea in their third game of the season and were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw. A very competitive first half saw Chelsea go ahead through Kai Havertz before controversy ensued when James blocked Mané’s effort on the line with his hand. After a VAR check, referee Anthony Taylor sent James off and awarded Liverpool a penalty. Salah scored from the spot to go in at the break 1-1.

The scoreline remained the same as Liverpool huffed and puffed second half without actually blowing the Chelsea house down. It was a backs to the wall defensive effort from Chelsea and they deservedly go home with a crucial point. Liverpool will be disappointed not to have won, having had a man advantage the whole of the second half. Read on for player ratings from a gripping encounter.

Alisson – 7

Made a solid stop from Kovacic when Chelsea countered second half. He was quick off his line to sweep up any long balls in behind. Questions over whether he could have done better with Havertz’s header but the ball looped over him into the top corner. Better defending ahead of him was required.

Alexander-Arnold – 8

Phenomenal pass to Henderson early on should have been converted. Kept plugging away creating chance after chance. Some of his passing was a joy to behold. Had a few pops at goal that tested Mendy. Not his fault the forwards couldn’t finish their dinner.

Matip – 8.5

Played really well. Aside that one incident where Lukaku easily shrugged him off and Chelsea countered, he dealt with the threat of Lukaku very well. Second half he won his battles and stepped forward to help build attacks. He did amazingly well to keep the ball in play in what eventually led to the penalty and sending off.

Van Dijk – 9

Cruise control throughout. I was worried he may not be at full sharpness but he looked glorious tonight. Dominated Lukaku every single time till the Belgian ran to Matip instead. There was one fantastic block on Lukaku’s shot to take all the pace off it for Alisson to gather first half. He also stepped forward and even tried his luck from range, bringing out a good save from Mendy.

Robertson – 6

Not at it at all. So many unforced errors where he just passed the ball straight out of play. It is completely understandable as it was his first game of the season but Klopp will take some flak for not going with Tsimikas who has been in good form. Robbo’s delivery from set pieces was poor, he was non-existent as an attacking threat and he allowed Havertz get infront of him for their goal. His last contribution was failing to control a Thiago pass over the top. He did bring out a good save from Mendy with a fierce hit.

Fabinho – 9

He was great. He stopped most of their play through the middle and won the ball back loads. Another who took aim from range, also bringing out a good save from Mendy. He was his usual reliable self but tired late on. Again, understandable as it’s his first start of the season. I wondered if Klopp would have sacrificed him for an attacker late on.

Henderson – 6

Missed an absolute sitter from Trent’s ball early on. Screwed it horribly wide with his left when better technique was required. Got into good positions to shoot but more often than not didn’t. Which is frustrating because the one time he did shoot, he sent a beautifully curled shot just whistling past the top corner. Why won’t you shoot more often? I thought he’d have been sacrificed at half time for Thiago like Klopp did at Stamford Bridge last season when Chelsea went down to ten men. Needs to offer more when he plays in that advanced role.

Elliott – 7

We were all a bit unsure about the youngster’s inclusion but we shouldn’t have been, he played well. There were some lovely moments but he needs to add end product to it all. He’s not afraid to get on the ball and start an attack but for all the promising moments he had, he has no tangible end product to show for it. He has a wonderful left foot and I wish he’d shoot more. Second half his passing deteriorated. He wasn’t threatening much so it was surprising he completed the 90. Not a bad performance, but needs to add more substance to the approach play.

Salah – 6

Poor I felt. He stayed out wide (probably by instruction so as to stretch the pitch) and whenever he got it, he was predictable. Always looking to cut in on his left foot, making it easy for Chelsea to defend. We saw why late on, when he got a good chance to win it but sent a pitiful effort straight at Mendy with his right. Gave away some cheap free kicks when he didn’t need to. Not his night, and not for want of trying. Boss penalty though, as always. Lovely curled cross with the outside of his boot which Jota headed over.

Firmino – 5

He didn’t do much wrong. He was his usual self, dropping deep, receiving the ball under pressure and then trying to turn and link up play. He was taken off before halftime in what looked a tactical switch but was confirmed post game by the manager that Bobby had in fact picked up an injury.

Mané – 5

Poor. Thought he was back to his frustrating ways of last season. Always tried taking on the entire world and lost the ball almost every time. Second half he had me tearing my hair out as he kept going down cul-de-sacs and taking too heavy a touch when he got into the box. Nothing worked for him and it says a whole lot that there was nothing on the bench as an alternative. Him and Salah had an off day and we didn’t look like scoring. First half he did well to shackle James though, tackled him a couple of times and prevented him having the space he enjoyed at Arsenal. Forced the penalty too.


Jota – 6

Was involved in the melee that led to the penalty, almost as soon as he’d come on. Had a header go narrowly over before seeing another one tipped over by Mendy late on. In games like this with chances sparse, it’s a wonder he wasn’t given a start.

Thiago – N/A

Came on with 17 minutes left. I can’t understand it. It was the exact same scenario at Chelsea last season. We were level and they had just had a man sent off before halftime. Thiago came on for Hendo at halftime and dictated play (breaking passing records in the process) as we went on to win. Tonight though, he had to wait 73 minutes before getting his chance. Not much he could do in that time.


Robbo was struggling so Klopp brought Kostas on in the final few minutes. Changing a left back for another left back isn’t exactly a move that increases your chances of breaking down a parked bus. A straight sub with time running out when another forward may well have been a better option. Kostas sent one cross over Mendy’s goal before another poor corner with virtually the last kick of the game.

Jurgen Klopp

Showed unbelievable faith in young Elliott and gave him a start against title contenders. Also chose to bring Bobby and Robbo back in for Jota and Tsimikas respectively. With the outcome of the game, he might feel he got two of those decisions wrong. That’s part of the job though. My only gripe is he didn’t show enough ambition with his subs.

A striker for a striker, a midfielder for a midfielder, then a left back for another left back. Thought he’d sacrifice one midfielder and throw on an extra forward. He had that option in Minamino on the bench and didn’t use it. Am I wrong to suggest he’d have made that sub if he had a better forward than Minamino on the bench?

Overall he’ll be disappointed with the dropped points as a win would have seen the side go top and send out an early warning. He needs an extra attacker (someone better than Taki and Origi who didn’t even make the bench) in my opinion. If he can get one in, is another matter.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s