PLAYER RATINGS: LIVERPOOL 2-0 RANGERS
Liverpool cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory over an uninspired Rangers side at Anfield tonight. A peach of a free kick from Alexander-Arnold set the tone for the Reds’ dominance. A Salah penalty early in the second period settled the tie. Here are player ratings from the encounter.
Alisson – 7.5
Nothing to do all game and then called upon late on. First, he charged out to get a touch on Matondo’s effort to allow for a spectacular Tsimikas clearance. Then, he blocked Barisic’s effort at the backpost after a corner broke loose. Clean sheet!
Alexander-Arnold – 8.5
Opened the scoring with a stunning free kick. A welcome reminder of his quality. The 4-2-3-1 meant he wasn’t required to bomb up the flank as much to create, as the four forwards managed that between themselves. It meant he was able to keep Ryan Kent under wraps. A welcome return to form.
Matip – 8
Didn’t give the physical Morelos a sniff. Snuffed out any balls to the Colombian. He strode forward with the ball well and was unlucky not to score when he headed agonisingly wide of the post from a corner.
Van Dijk – 7
Won his headers. Not troubled much. Covered Tsimikas well. Lost out to Sakala at the backpost for the Barisic chance.
Tsimikas – 8
Won his defensive duels and was generally solid. Couldn’t find the quality to boot in the final third however, with his deliveries not quite on the money. Preserved the clean sheet with an outstanding goalline clearance. Read the situation well and dealt with it immaculately.
Henderson – 8
Part of a double pivot that absolutely dominated the middle of the park. Snapped into challenges and was part of a fierce press that gave Rangers no time on the ball. Much assured in possession tonight.
Thiago – 8.5
Superb once again. Not only in possession where he was majestic as usual, but off the ball. He was tigerish in the tackle as he challenged for and won nigh on every fifty fifty in the middle of the pitch. Crucial he stays fit.
Salah – 8
The presence of a focal point seemed to afford him more space to operate in. Set up Darwin a few times and went close himself when McGregor tipped his curler wide. Tucked his penalty away with typical coolness. Should have done better with a late breakaway when he curled straight into the goalkeeper’s gloves with Diaz free in the box.
Jota – 6.5
The idea of him playing just behind the big man is meant for him to pick up any bits and pieces that break in the box. He did that when he was denied a goal by a breathtaking fingertip save by McGregor. Mostly though, he had to drop deep to pick the ball up in the half spaces and create. Not exactly his strongest attribute, with the ball bouncing off him a number of times.
Diaz – 8
Never stops running. Rumour is he’s still on the Anfield turf making darting runs across the pitch as we speak. Brilliant player. Won the penalty with a forceful run into the box. Needs to add a ruthless streak infront of goal to his game and he’ll be right up there with the best wingers/wife forwards in the world.
Darwin – 7
Did everything but score. First half especially. Won the free kick Trent scored from. McGregor pulled off save after save to deny him a much needed goal. It’s just not h0appening for him but he has to keep his head up.
Firmino – 5
Left his touch on the bench when he came on.
Fabinho – 6
Slotted into the double pivot.
Elliott – 6
Sent Salah away with a pass over the top for that late chance. Tried to find him in an earlier move but passed it straight to a blue shirt. He doesn’t need to look for Salah every single time.
Milner – 6
On to see out the game and produced a fantastic recovery tackle to halt a dangerous Rangers attack late on.
Gomez – N/A
On for Trent in stoppage time.
Went with a bold 4-2-3-1/4-2-4 setup, with Jota lining up behind Darwin Nunez. He dropped Fabinho as well, with Henderson and Thiago starting in the double pivot. It worked a treat as his side created chances at will.
But for an inspired McGregor in the Rangers goal, it would have been a cricket score. The manager reverted back to a 4-3-3 late on with the side comfortably 2-0 up. Rangers grew into it and created decent chances of their own. Food for thought perhaps.