PLAYER RATINGS: LIVERPOOL 0-0 CHELSEA
Liverpool were held to a goalless draw by Chelsea as the two sides cancelled each other out. There was a whole lot of perspiration but little inspiration in the end, with both sides settling for a point apiece. Here are player ratings from the encounter.
Alisson – 6
Didn’t have too much to do in terms of shots on target faced, with Chelsea managing just the two. Had to be alert and quick off his line to sweep up a few times. A welcome clean sheet.
Milner – 6.5
The veteran started slowly as he allowed a loose ball go out for a corner which Chelsea scored from. Luckily, VAR ruled it out for offside and he went on to have a solid game overall. Battled well against Cucurella and didn’t give an inch. Made some key recovering tackles inside his own box. Some of his crosses were too easy for Kepa going forward. Taken off not long after he was booked for fouling the pacy Mudryk.
Konaté – 8
Probably the pick of the bunch in the backline. Was always trying to get ahead of Havertz and nick it before he could turn. Was successful on several occasions. A miscommunication with Alisson on the stroke of halftime almost proved costly. Kept Aubameyang quiet when he came on late on.
Gomez – 7
Aided the clean sheet today with some crucial blocks. His decision making can be infuriating at times though, with his constant need to pass it back to Alisson. He needs to trust himself on the ball a bit more. Stood up well to the challenge today.
Robertson – 7
Gave it away twice in the opening minutes and was very conservative afterwards. Didn’t bomb on much. Kept allowing Ziyech to easily cut onto his left foot and either swing crosses in or get shots away. Made a wonderful run into the box and picked out Cucurella instead of a teammate.
Almost got on the end of Salah’s deflected cross. He made up for all that with a goal saving block on Chukwuemeka in the dying minutes. Was still offering an option on the counter in stoppage time. Endless energy.
Bajcetic – 7.5
A performance that belied his tender years. Didn’t look out of place at all as he provided the defence with a shield. Was assured in possession as well. Picked up a harsh booking but still managed to be aggressive in the tackle in a hotly contested midfield battle. Created a few openings, with a crisp pass over the top setting Salah away for a chance early on. Visibly tired and gave the ball away before being promptly replaced. It’s his shirt to lose now.
Keita – 6.5
Gave the ball away a few times first half but worked hard as part of the midfield three. Played an incredible outside the boot pass to find Salah in the box on the stroke of halftime. Second half he was better on the ball. Taken off after an hour.
Thiago – 8
Once again played well with the legs of Bajcetic and Keita around him. Won the most duels in the game and registered the side’s first effort on target. His bromance and partnership with Bajcetic looks promising. Lovely ball into space for Darwin second half.
Salah – 6
Has been below par of late and was again here. He was heavily involved but couldn’t quite do enough to break the deadlock. He should have done much better with a curling effort on the stroke of halftime. Didn’t get much change out of Cucurella and Badiashile. Didn’t manage a single shot on target. Did set up Gakpo for a decent chance early on.
Gakpo – 6
Played through the middle again here and should have done better when Salah found him just inside the box. He blazed over before lashing at another effort over the bar on the break. He finally registered his first shot on target later in the second half. It was a weak effort though, straight at Kepa after good work by Darwin. Needs to be more aggressive.
Elliott – 6.5
Curiously played out of position on the left wing. Didn’t fare too badly but didn’t really have much of an impact on the game. Kept the ball well and bought a few fouls. One wicked cross was almost turned into his own net by Thiago Silva. Dropped into midfield when Naby went off, before being taken off himself.
Darwin – 6.5
Offered the side an outlet on the break. He was found by Thiago and was able to get past his man before seeing Kepa smother his left footed effort. Came back into his own defensive third to pinch the ball off Havertz. Set up Gakpo with a chance after winning the ball back high up the pitch, before finding Trent at the backpost with a cutback. Won a few corners as well.
Fabinho – 5
Lost two challenges on the edge of the box that almost proved costly. Robertson had to bail him out on the second. Should have taken a first time shot when the Scot found him on the counter in injury time. He dallied, allowing Azpilicueta to block.
Henderson – 6
Provided a burst of energy. Could have swung in a first time cross to the backpost for Salah after being freed down the right but took a few more touches before sending in the cross. This allowed the Chelsea defence to get back and clear.
Jones – 5.5
Turned to late on for inspiration off the bench. Should have been awarded a free kick on the edge of the box when he was tripped. He took out his frustration on Cucurella and was rightly booked.
Alexander-Arnold – 6
Came on midway through the second half and was presented with a chance to open the scoring but he rushed it, taking it first time and seeing it fly over the goal.
The manager opted to maintain 8 of the XI that started at Wolves. It was a ballsy move that saw him drop Matip, Fabinho and Henderson, with Alexander-Arnold and Darwin only fit enough to start on the bench. It was an evenly contested first half, with Chelsea looking more likely to score.
The side came out with purpose second half and dominated without actually creating anything clear cut. The subs were made early enough but is Curtis Jones on the left wing a better option than say a Carvalho? That’s probably nitpicking. A solid point. On to the n