PLAYER RATINGS: LIVERPOOL 2-0 ATLETICO MADRID
Liverpool hosted Atletico Madrid this evening and cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win. Early goals from Mané and Jota saw the Reds go in at the break 2-0 up. Felipé was sent off first half for a poor challenge on Mané. The second half was straightforward as Liverpool just stroked the ball around to conserve energy. Read on for player ratings from the game.
Alisson – 7
Didn’t have a save of note to make. Beaten by Suárez’s deflected shot but that got ruled out for offside. Made a good punch from a dangerous cross. Stepped into midfield at one point and pinged a pass to Salah. First clean sheet in the UCL this season. Would have expected a busier night.
Alexander-Arnold – 9.5
Decided the game with two exquisite deliveries to set up the two goals. The first, a first time whipped cross to pick out Jota from about six yards out. The second, a cross shot that Mané redirected past Oblak. Fantastic performance, got the balance right in terms of attacking and defending. In one on ones, he was solid in the tackle. Accomplished performance.
Matip – 8
Comfortable evening for Joel. He was apoplectic in injury time when his perfect challenge to halt Cunha was deemed a foul and he was booked. He could have scored but shinned his half volley wide with the goal gaping. Deflected Suárez’s effort past Alisson. He does have a tendency to turn when facing shots. We saw that against City too when he deflected De Bruyne’s effort in. Needs to be braver and face the shot full on. Played an exquisite pass through to Jota for his disallowed goal.
Van Dijk – 8.5
Cruised through, won his battles, and stroked the ball around with an air of authority. Suarez didn’t get anything out of him. He was also unlucky not to score when his 35 yarder flew just over the crossbar. His sloppy pass put Matip in trouble in added time but that was the only time he put a foot wrong.
Tsimikas – 8
His left foot is a wand when he gets into crossing positions. It’s unfair he didn’t notch an assist as he put two beauties right onto Jota’s head. Dogged defensively and battled really well when under the cosh. He’s given the manager a right old selection headache for Sunday. We’ve still not conceded a goal when he’s on the pitch. Incredible.
Fabinho – 8.5
Very early on, he made an interception right in front of the defence and all felt right with the world. His positioning is often overlooked, but he has a sixth sense for being in the right place to deal with danger before it even generates into danger. On the ball, he’s a tidy technician too, one not afraid to receive the ball on the half turn and pass through lines. Got almost an hour here. It’s crucial we keep him fit.
Henderson – 8.5
Got through so much work in the middle of the pitch running both ways. Always busted a gut to get on the outside of Salah to give him an option. His understanding with Mo and Trent is an asset, it was on show for the buildup to the opener. He saw a volley saved late on. Absolutely owned that midfield tonight. He may not be on the technical level of Salah and Trent but he holds his own down that right hand side when they play those little interchanges.
Oxlade-Chamberlain – 8
Started slowly as he misplaced a couple of passes. Grew into it though and enjoyed himself an accomplished outing. Breezed past a few players with that burst of acceleration he has and was unlucky to see two efforts whistle just past the post. Worked hard supporting Tsimikas in defence too and it was a worry when he seemed to have picked up a knock. Shook it off and continued though till he was given a breather late on. That’s three games in a week for him.
Salah – 8
Unlucky to see a curler pushed wide by Oblak. At times he seemed to just dance past their defenders as if they were cones. The final touch wasn’t quite there though, as he squandered a few openings to get either a goal or an assist. Had to apologise to Jota when he failed to play him in. Still unplayable though. That’s two without a goal now, West Ham better beware.
Jota – 9
Opened the scoring with a header from Trent’s pick out. The ball bounced before he headed it and he did well to steer it into the back of the net. Saw another header parried by Oblak and was unfortunate not to get a clean connection on another, bundling it wide with a combination of head and shoulder. Was unlucky to see a tidy finish through Oblak’s legs chalked off for offside. Was a pest throughout as he hunted them down when they had it, and run at them constantly when he had it.
Mané – 8.5
Picked up a needless booking when he reacted angrily to a terrible tackle on him. Showed extraordinary strength to turn two players inside out in midfield in the buildup to his goal. His movement is so good, the way he sprinted into the box to get on Trent’s cross shot, predatory instincts. Got his achilles stamped on as Felipé saw red. Had to be subbed as Atleti started cry-arsing everytime he challenged for the ball in a vain attempt to get him sent off.
Firmino – 7
Slotted in well and was his usual creative self, till he pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury.
Thiago – 7
Just the player you want to bring on at 2-0 up against ten men. Got on the ball and just moved it side to side to slow everything down. He almost ruined a good cameo when he was caught on the ball and Atleti countered, luckily the shot from Vrsaljko went wide.
Origi – N/A
Made some good runs inside the right channel. Sent a shot into the stands with virtually the last kick of the game. Worth a try. Almost tried another scorpion kick.
Minamino – N/A
Slotted into midfield and was neat and tidy. One lovely dribble down the left wing was lovely to see. He scored again but was unlucky to see it ruled out as Jota had fouled Trippier in the build up.
Phillips – N/A
Given seconds late on. He played a key part in securing Champions League qualification last season, so only right he gets an appearance.
Got his lineup spot on as his team dominated the early exchanges and went 2-0 up again. Unlike the second leg, his troops kept their concentration and defended well. The red card helped, as we sensibly took the sting out of the game second half. Made his subs early too, the Bobby for Mané one at halftime in particular. 4 wins out of 4 and we’ve already qualified as group winners. The Bobby injury the only negative on a night full of positives.
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