Liverpool played out an entertaining but frustrating 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Saturday, with too many Reds players not at their best.
Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool
Premier League, Emirates
November 3, 2018
Goals: Lacazette 82′; Milner 61′
Alisson (out of 10) – 6
The Brazilian’s influence has been subtle so far this season, but this was always going to be a big test of his credentials.
He made an early save to deny Alexandre Lacazette and sprayed a wonderful long-range pass to Mohamed Salah, but he also got nowhere near a cross that Henrikh Mkhitaryan almost scored from.
It was not a good night for the Liverpool youngster, who perhaps only started due to Dejan Lovren being injured.
A sloppy early moment almost allowed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to pounce and Unai Emery clearly targeted the youngster and he looked susceptible defensively.
Really struggled defensively. Is his future in midfield rather than at full-back? Probably.
Joe Gomez – 7.5
Gomez was used in his strongest centre-back role and he was again largely faultless, looking one of his side’s most mature players.
He made an important block to thwart Aubameyang’s goal-bound effort and looked classy on the ball.
A footballer wise beyond his years who already looks a key player.
Virgil van Dijk – 8 (Man of the Match)
Van Dijk was always going to be an important presence at the Emirates and he did superbly against a dangerous Arsenal attack.
He was immaculate in all facets of his play, whether it be his aerial presence, positional sense or leadership.
At the other end, he was twice denied by Bernd Leno with the goal gaping and hit the post with a header seconds before half time, as he still searches for his first-ever Premier League for Liverpool.
Andy Robertson – 7.5
The Scot hasn’t been at his very best of late, by his high standards, but he was much improved against the Gunners.
His well-struck shot was kept out by Leno and he always attempted to offer something going forward, with his crossing dangerous.
So composed and intelligent.
Fabinho – 5
This was Fabinho‘s biggest test yet for the Reds but he endured a really difficult night.
The Brazilian was slow and wasteful in possession, with Klopp left fuming by his decision-making a couple of times.
He wasn’t much better off the ball, being overrun and lacking pace.
Gini Wijnaldum – 6
One of Liverpool’s star performers so far this season, the Dutchman was quiet throughout, failing to boss the midfield battle.
He didn’t do anything wrong, keeping hold of the ball and doing his defensive duties in solid fashion, but you were left wanting more.
It was a throwback to some of his past away displays.
James Milner – 6.5
Having started on the bench against Cardiff last week, Milner returned to captain Liverpool.
The veteran looked off the pace in first half, cutting a slightly jaded figure and not using the ball with much purpose, but he improved a lot after the break after a tactical switch.
Scored Liverpool’s goal with a well-taken strike and never stopped with his industry and teamwork.
Mohamed Salah – 6.5
Salah has re-found his groove after a return to goalscoring form and he looked Liverpool’s most dangerous player much of the time, but also didn’t do enough.
His speed and movement gave Sead Kolasinac a tricky evening, but his end product was really disappointing and it felt key.
One last-gasp chance to play in Sadio Mane, which he failed to do, summed it up.
Sadio Mane – 6
Liverpool’s No.10 started on the left side, as is the norm, but he was one of the most culpable when it came to being ineffective in the opening 45 minutes.
He had a tap-in unfairly ruled out for offside, but other than that, his touch was sloppy and he failed to frighten the Arsenal defence.
Better in the second half, testing Hector Bellerin and playing a big part in the goal.
Roberto Firmino – 5.5
Like Robertson, Firmino has not been at his absolute best in 2018/19, and he was again lacking the spark we endlessly witnessed last season.
He hit the post with chip and worked as diligently as ever, but where were the neat touches, the clever bits of movement and the world-class bits of hold-up play?
Has to do more, not as effective as the No.10 than the No.9.
Starting XI Average Rating – 5.63
Xherdan Shaqiri (on for Firmino, 77′) – 6
Didn’t manage to influence matters but Klopp showed he trusts him by using him in such a big away game at a key stage.
Joel Matip (on for Salah, 90′) – n/a
Strange sub. Only on the pitch for seconds, made a tackle.
Subs not used: Mignolet, Moreno, Lallana, Sturridge, Origi
Jurgen Klopp – 6
You could have no qualms about the team Klopp selected, with the return to a 4-3-3 formation making sense, and equally the change to 4-2-3-1 improved things.
Arsenal are clearly a good side, hence Klopp’s subs or lack thereof. Possibly might have been nice to see Daniel Sturridge brought on.