PLAYER RATINGS: INTER MILAN 0-2 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool travelled to San Siro for the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 clash and got the better of Italian champions Inter Milan. Second half goals from Firmino and Salah handed the Reds a huge advantage ahead of the second leg. Read on for player ratings from the encounter.
Alisson – 7
Under employed tonight. Didn’t have a single shot to save. Was quick off his line to grab hold onto crosses. His distribution was solid throughout. Another clean sheet.
Alexander-Arnold – 6
He didn’t defend Perisic well enough tonight, curiously allowing the Croat to swing ball after ball into the box. He did make a crucial interception when Dzeko sought to square a ball across the face of goal for Lautaro.
He almost broke the deadlock when his free kick curled just away from the top corner. He slipped Diaz in behind with an intelligent ball but the shot was charged down. He also played an unbelievable ball into the box with his weaker left foot in the lead up to the second goal.
Konaté – 9
Absolutely incredible. Made a key interception from an early Dumfries cross with Dzeko waiting to tap home. Won his challenges through out as he defended on the front foot. He blocked everything that came his way. Did well to get out of Salah’s way for the second goal. Impressive performance. His second at San Siro this season.
Van Dijk – 9.5
He was practically perfect tonight. Completed 100% of his passes first half and defended well. Showed his pace a couple of times second half to prevent Dzeko getting a shot away. Inter threatened to break two on one late on as Dzeko tried to flick a ball into space for Alexis but Virgil came in with a roar and a commanding header to clear. Set up Salah’s goal with an intelligent knock down.
Robertson – 7.5
Curled a wicked free kick to Mané back post early on but Sadio headed over. Repeated the trick second half with a perfect delivery from a corner for Firmino to flick home at the front post this time. He produced a fantastic slide tackle late on to prevent Darmian from getting in on goal. He had a few shaky moments first half but overall a very good performance.
Fabinho – 7
He played well again. Picked up the pieces in midfield and bombed forward on occasion. Made a whopping 10 ball recoveries in the first half alone. Was slightly surprised to see him taken off second half but that worked out well in the end.
Elliott – 5.5
Went to sleep first half and allowed Çalhanoğlu space in the box, the Turk crashed his shot off the crossbar. Harvey gave the ball away one too many times in midfield. Had some good moments, played Salah in twice, a poor first touch from Mo ruined the first chance and a great interception from Skriniar thwarted the second.
Second half he struggled badly. Couldn’t get around quickly enough on the cover for Trent, and couldn’t impose himself on the game in possession. A great learning curve for the 18 year old.
Thiago – 7
First half I thought he was great. He set the tone with a raking diagonal behind the defence for Salah to chase. He then tried his luck on the volley but saw his volley land on the roof of the net. He had won the most tackles in the game by halftime. Second half he struggled a bit as he lost too many duels with his side coming under the cosh. Looked better when we went a goal up. Made a crucial interception in the right back position late on.
Salah – 6.5
He was horrendous for large parts of the game with his touch failing him on a few occasions. His passing wasn’t any better either. The greats have a way of influencing a game even on their bad days though, and Mo popped up with the second goal, sweeping a first time finish past Handanovic via the aid of a deflection.
Jota – 5.5
He started well, picked up the ball in midfield and ran at the Inter defence a few times. He saw a shot in the box charged down by Skriniar. Faded quickly though as his touch completely deserted him with the ball bouncing off him too many times. Inter countered dangerously from a few of them and Diogo was subbed at halftime. Hopefully it was a tactical switch and not an injury enforced one.
Mané – 5.5
Had two glorious chances to score but headed the first over and went for a spectacular overhead kick to send the second into the side netting. Another who was frustrating as he kept giving the ball away. Subbed before the hour mark, rightly so.
Firmino – 6.5
I thought he was woeful when he came on. He got hounded out of possession about five or six times. He redeemed himself with the all important second goal though as he broke the deadlock with a flicked header at the near post from a corner. That goal came at the right moment too as Inter were on top at the time.
Henderson – 8
A much improved showing by the skipper. He raised the intensity levels as soon as he came on, snapping into challenges and getting his side playing again. Managed the game excellently when we went a goal up. Fantastic display.
Keita – 8
Another who was just what we needed when he came on. Settled the game down as he used the ball well whenever he got it. Covered Trent better on that right hand side as well. Played some lovely interchanges and should have gone for goal when he tried to slip Diaz in late on. Classy showing.
Diaz – 7.5
Came on for Mané and quickly got involved on the left wing. Took on Skriniar in the box a number of times and tried his luck from range after cutting in onto his right. Was unlucky not to score as his shot from inside the box was deflected behind Drifted all across the pitch at times. Another who was fantastic off the bench.
Milner – N/A
Came on to keep the intensity levels up in the closing stages.
The gaffer made four changes to his side, with Konaté, Elliott, Thiago and Jota coming in for Matip, Henderson, Keita and Firmino. It was a particularly huge call to hand Harvey Elliott his first start in five months in such a huge game. He made swift changes when he felt the game wasn’t going his way, with Firmino on at halftime for Jota.
A triple change before the hour mark was what really swung momentum in Liverpool’s favour. Mané, Elliott and Fabinho came off for Diaz, Keita and Henderson. With the depth at his disposal, he’s shown he’s not shy to make early changes. It worked a treat tonight.
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