Liverpool battled to an impressive 2-1 win at Tottenham on Saturday – a scoreline that flattered the home side and should have been more convincing for the Reds.
Tottenham 1-2 Liverpool
Premier League, Wembley Stadium
September 15, 2018
Goals: Wijnaldum (39′), Firmino (54′); Lamela (90′)
Alisson (out of 10) – 7
The Brazilian showed good hands to keep hold of a Christian Eriksen free-kick and he was noticeably more pragmatic on the ball.
Wasn’t troubled much and could do little about Erik Lamela’s late consolation.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7.5
The young right-back continues to go from strength to strength and he was a great outlet all afternoon against a narrow Spurs midfield.
A free-kick was saved by Michel Vorm, and while his final ball wasn’t always as accurate as it can be, he was a real influence. Defensively solid on the whole, too.
His progression over the last 12 months has been astonishing.
Joe Gomez – 7.5
Gomez has been in exceptional form this season and that showed few signs of changing on Saturday afternoon.
Virgil van Dijk was the more obviously dominant of Liverpool’s two centre-backs, but everything the youngster did was immaculate, barring a couple of early lapses in the second-half.
One recovery run and tackle on the speedy Lucas Moura outlined the blistering pace he possesses.
Virgil van Dijk – 8.5
Liverpool’s towering Dutchman was colossal throughout the 90 minutes, winning everything in the air and exuding effortless class in possession.
He helped negate the threat of Harry Kane and Lucas and provided a leadership that has been lacking at the back since the days of Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher.
Who said £75million was too much to pay for him?
Andy Robertson – 7.5
Robertson has been a superb signing and this was yet another strong showing.
In fairness, when does he ever not play well?
Crisp on the ball, switched on defensively and a constant outlet down the left, the Scot has become such a key man for Liverpool.
Gini Wijnaldum – 8
Retained in the No.6 role where he has shone brightly so far this season, Wijnaldum impressed again, and broke a personal piece of history.
The Dutchman opened the scoring with a well-placed header that landed inches over the line, scoring his first ever away goal in the Premier League. It only took 58 matches!
He did his job in composed, effective fashion, without ever catching the eye as much as some of those around him. Very unsung player.
James Milner – 8.5 (Man of the Match)
Liverpool’s very own Duracell Bunny started his fifth match in a row and kept up his consistently excellent start to the campaign.
He was full of industry both on and off the ball, and showed tactical intelligence to drift into a right-back role whenever Alexander-Arnold pushed up.
Must be a dream to play with – Man of the Match.
Naby Keita – 7
Restored to the starting lineup in place of Jordan Henderson, Keita wasn’t at his devastating best but helped Liverpool dominate the midfield.
There is still a rustiness to some of his game as he adjusts to life in England, but he worked his socks off and made an excellent block to thwart a dangerous Eriksen cross.
Could have scored but was denied by Vorm, a chance he should have done better with on his left foot.
Mohamed Salah – 6
Liverpool’s star man hadn’t been at his explosive best yet this season and his minor slump carried on against Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
Whereas last season he barely even had to think about completing passes and finishing chances, he seems to be overly thinking things at the minute.
That being said, Salah was still a real threat with his speed on the counter-attack and he forced Vorm into several stops.
Sadio Mane – 7
Mane went into the game as the Reds’ most in-form forward and he looked as dangerous as anyone, even though his end product was horribly sloppy at times.
He kept getting into great positions only to delay his pass or shoot recklessly, and Jurgen Klopp will have been left frustrated by him.
Never stopped trying, though, and Spurs’ defenders will have hated facing him.
Roberto Firmino – 8
Like Salah, we haven’t seen Firmino in top gear to date, but he led the line superbly for his side, whether it be through selfless running, subtle touches or clever movement.
This was Firmino’s most influential performance of 2018/19 so far, and Liverpool dipped after he was replaced with an eye injury.
Starting XI Average Rating: 7.5
Jordan Henderson (on for Firmino, 74′) – 6.5 – Fairly unnoticed but did a solid job.
Daniel Sturridge (on for Keita, 82′) – 6.5 – Won a few free-kicks but didn’t offer Firmino’s level of work ethic.
Joel Matip (on for Alexander-Arnold, 89′) – n/a – No time to make an impact. Bit of an odd go-to sub from the boss.
Subs not used: Mignolet, Moreno, Fabinho, Shaqiri
Jurgen Klopp – 8
Liverpool’s manager has masterminded their best-ever start to a Premier League season, winning their opening five matches for the first time since 1990/91.
The German deserves huge credit for getting such a dominant performance from his players, away to one of the best teams in the country, even though the Reds still aren’t at full tilt.
Cut an angry figure at times because of the attackers’ profligacy in the final third, but will be delighted overall.