PLAYER RATINGS: LIVERPOOL 2-0 VILLARREAL
Liverpool earned a comfortable first leg advantage by beating Spanish side Villarreal at Anfield tonight. A goalless first half was followed up by a quick fire double in the second half. Here are player ratings from the match.
Alisson – 7
He won’t have an easier night to be honest. Villarreal were very negative in their approach and didn’t offer any threat. Their only shot on target came late in the game and even then, the flag went up for offside.
Alexander-Arnold – 9
He played some unbelievable passes tonight. Created chances against a solid defence and was unlucky to see his assist chalked off when an offside Robbo tapped his cross home at the far post. Defensively he was very switched on as well as he won all his personal duels with Danjuma down the right.
Konate – 8.5
Another accomplished performance by the 22 year old. He is so composed and was impeccable every time he had to see off a runner in behind. So dependable.
Van Dijk – 8.5
He reads the game so well. The number of times he’s always in the right place at the right time to clear a cross from the opposite side is incredible. They didn’t offer much threat, the little they showed was snuffed out with ease by the two big men at the back. Blasted a shot from range that was too hot to handle for Rulli.
Robertson – 8
Full of endeavour down the left. He’s clearly taken lots of confidence from his goal at the weekend. He went for goal a few times and tried taking on his man a number of times as well. Not to a great deal of success mind. Put in several crosses but they were well defended.
Fabinho – 9
Tigerish in the tackle tonight. Villarreal couldn’t build any attacks as Fabinho was more often than not getting a foot in to win the ball back. Played really well. Was harshly adjudged to have fouled Aurier in stoppage time which handed them a free kick in a good position but it came to nothing. Swept home Van Dijk’s knockdown but the big man was offside.
Henderson – 8
By halftime he had won the most tackles in the game. Brought his usual brand of energy and fierce pressing. Had a go at the referee a few times. He squeezed Parejo throughout and didn’t allow him breathe on the ball. That basically nullified their out ball. His deflected cross looped in to break the deadlock early in the second half.
Thiago – 9.5
A master at work. He moved them this way and that with every stroke of his right boot. He cannoned a superb effort from range against the post. The way he effortlessly pinged cross field passes to Salah was breathtaking at times. Opened them up with a sway of the hip and a deceptive pass into the middle in the build up to the opening goal.
Salah – 9
I thought he was brilliant again tonight. He had Estupinan backpedaling throughout. Combined wonderfully well with Sadio and set him up for a header early on. He was unlucky to see his curling effort clear the crossbar. He weaved his way past a number of yellow shirts before slipping an inch perfect ball through for Mané to make it 2-0. Class.
Mané – 9
He is a revelation in this false nine role. He dropped deep to combine with Salah. He mistimed his jump for Mo’s cross early on and saw another shot deflected just wide. Poked Salah’s pass past Rulli to give the side a comfortable lead. Didn’t look happy to be taken off. That hunger is what makes him elite.
Diaz – 8.5
He is a real wildcard for the side with defenders not knowing what he will do when he gets the ball. He found a lot of joy early on when he cut inside Foyth. Stung Rulli’s gloves with a long range strike first half and should have scored when released down the left second half.
His shot went straight out for a throw. He was fantastic again but if there’s an area of improvement, it is ruthlessness infront of goal. Given a breather late on.
Keita – 6
Slotted into midfield and won his battles.
Jota – 7
Gave them something else to worry about as he constantly drove at their defence.
Gomez – 6
Got a few minutes at right back.
Origi – 6
Serenaded by the Kop.
The gaffer made three changes to the side that beat Everton on Sunday as he continued his rotation policy. Matip, Keita and Jota dropped out as Konaté, Henderson and Diaz came in from the start.
His side controlled proceedings and completely dominated the game. Even when it was goalless at halftime, they came out for the second half and kept playing their game. They never rushed it. The goals came in the end, and it was just a matter of seeing the game out by resting on the ball. A really professional performance.
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