PLAYER RATINGS: LIVERPOOL 1-0 ASTON VILLA
Liverpool hosted Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa on what was the former skipper’s first occasion at Anfield as part of the opposition. A tight and competitive game was decided by a Mo Salah penalty in the second half. Read on for player ratings from the game.
Alisson – 5
Very shaky today. He slipped when Young broke through and was lucky Matip was in position to block the cross. Then he dallied on his line with Trent shielding the ball back to him with Watkins behind him. Watkins got a nick of the ball and caused a bit of mayhem. Then late on, Matip this time was shielding Ings and Alisson smashed his clearance straight into him and almost gave away a penalty when swiping at Ings. Lucky clean sheet.
Alexander-Arnold – 8
Created several openings with his passing and crossing. His set pieces especially were dangerous but had no takers. Defended Watkins well late on when Villa decided to give it a go. No assist today but a good performance nonetheless.
Matip – 8.5
Rock solid again today. Stood up well to the threat of Watkins. Went on a couple of his mazy runs through midfield and unsettled the organised Villa structure whenever he did. Been really excellent this season.
Van Dijk – 7.5
Got himself into a tangle with Watkins and got booked very early on. Saw a powerful header tipped over by Martinez. Won his fair share of headers and clearances when Villa threatened late on. Not at his imperious best but still at a level good enough to see out the clean sheet.
Robertson – 9
Another energetic performance from the Scot. He was in a battle against fellow countryman McGinn. Found lots of space down the left wing and on another day could have gotten a couple of goals and/assists. Unlucky not to win a pen too. One thing he can improve on is his reluctance to shoot when in the box. He always insists on crossing when in such positions. Stood up to the late runs of Cash to see out the win.
Fabinho – 8
Solid if unspectacular. Villa didn’t trouble us much till we scored. Fabinho was on hand to win the ball back when he could and did his job with minimum fuss. Gave away one frustrating free kick in added time to offer them a chance to launch it in the box.
Henderson – 8
He didn’t show the quality on the ball we’ve come to expect of him this season. Too many attempted through balls and crosses were either overhit or underhit. What you can’t fault him for though, is his workrate. He absolutely charged up and down that right flank all game. Got a huge cheer from the crowd when he pressed Villa hard in their own half late on to intercept a pass out for a throw. Leader.
Thiago – 7
Another who enjoyed a solid outing. Played his trademark no look passes through the lines to set us on the attack. Saw a few shots charged down but his attempted rollover was well read by Ramsey who was charged with keeping an eye on him. Another win to add to the stat for him and Fabinho in midfield.
Salah – 8
Match winner yet again. Won the penalty by running at Mings, and ignored Martinez’s mind games to sweep it past him and into the corner. Perfect penalty. Should have done better late on when Mané found him in a three on two counter. His decision making wasn’t always the best as he elected to shoot with Trent free on his outside. That’s 14 games in a row he’s either scored or assisted though. Unbelievable consistency.
Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6
Was neat and tidy early on, playing in Robertson down the left a few times. Got a shooting opportunity after Henderson won the ball back off Nakamba and his shot went just over. Faded completely and was taken off early second half. His body language when he makes a mistake is always telling, head down and muttering to himself. Needs to have a bit more confidence. Did as well as can be expected in an unusual position.
Mané – 8
Had the beating of Cash down that left wing and constantly drove into the box to cause problems for the Villa defence. Created a number of openings and went close to scoring himself but saw Mings block his effort both times. Did his defensive work too going the other way.
Jota – 6
Came on and immediately made himself a nuisance. Closed down Mings and Hause and slid in on a backpass to Martinez but could only stab wide. Was then gifted the chance to seal the game in added time after Salah set him up, but he inexplicably put his shot over the bar with Martinez diving the wrong way. That was another terrible miss to go with the one last week. Needs to sort it out.
Milner – N/A
Announced his introduction with a trademark reducer to almost break Buendia in half. Typical James Milner. Mucked in and helped see it over the line.
Minamino – N/A
Came on with just a few minutes left on the clock and maintained the energy levels. Passed to Salah for one attack. Pressed Luiz well and made sure to slow him down any time he attempted to initiate a late attack.
With Origi injured and Jota not at 100%, he opted for Ox in the false nine role ahead of Minamino. An understandable decision considering the form Ox has been in. It wasn’t working though and he changed it quickly second half, sending Jota on. With Villa coming onto us after we scored, he read the situation swiftly to introduce Milner. Gave Minamino minutes at the end too in a game that was still in the balance. Seven wins in a row!
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