Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham
Premier League, Anfield
31 March, 2019
Goals: Firmino 16′, Lucas 70′, Alderweireld OG 90+2′
Alisson (out of 10) – 6
Alisson has enjoyed an outstanding debut season in England, but this was an uncharacteristically nervous performance from him.
An early spill was a sign of things to come, with a slice into touch and one almost catastrophic mix-up outside his penalty area also thrown in.
He improved as it went on, making a save to thwart Harry Kane, but he also misplaced passes out from the back.
Alexander-Arnold was deemed fit after recovering from injury and he was an influential presence down the right flank.
His energy and quality on the ball gave Liverpool an extra dimension, with Spurs finding it difficult to handle him.
Fired wide from distance and made an important interception in the first half.
Joel Matip – 7
The centre-back has enjoyed a good run of form of late and he was again impressive up against the world-class Kane.
One unfortunate first-half slip almost led to an opening goal for the visitors, but other than that he was reliable in all facets of his play.
Virgil van Dijk – 8 (Man of the Match)
Van Dijk has been unrivalled this season, and while this wasn’t his best display of the campaign, he was still bordering on faultless.
One sloppy misplaced pass was a rare mistake, but he led by example all afternoon and made a key block to deny Kane.
The Dutch colossus missed two good chances with headers in the second half, but then was excellent when left two-vs-one as Moussa Sissoko eventually blazed over – arguably a moment that saved the game for the Reds.
Andy Robertson – 8
Like Alexander-Arnold, Robertson was one of Liverpool’s most important players on the day, wreaking havoc with his attacking forays in the first half.
Defensively he was also strong, making a massive block to deny Christian Eriksen, although struggled to get forward as much in the second half after Spurs’ half-time change in shape.
Jordan Henderson – 5
Preferred to Fabinho in the deep-lying No. 6 role, the captain struggled after a promising start.
The midfield looked far too open without Fabinho in it, which he deserved criticism for, and two wayward passes put Liverpool into trouble.
His general use of the ball was generally good, but he didn’t do his chance of playing regularly between now and May a huge amount of good.
Gini Wijnaldum – 6
Wijnaldum has been an influential presence in Liverpool’s midfield all season, but he was quiet on Sunday.
Plenty of what the Dutchman did was effective, most notably his understated off-the-ball work, but a little more influence would have been nice.
There are signs that his limbs are just starting to creak as the season progresses.
James Milner – 6
Much like Henderson, Milner is someone Jurgen Klopp often backs in the big games.
Although the veteran didn’t shine too much, he was the pick of the midfielders for Liverpool, making the most impact.
His passing was hit-and-miss, but he was typically industrious. Industry though is not always enough.
Mohamed Salah – 6
Searching for his 50th Premier League goal for the Reds, Salah again had to play second fiddle to others, despite looking dangerous.
His last-gasp header was kept out by Hugo Lloris, but Toby Alderweireld scored an own goal from the rebound.
Salah celebrated like it was his goal and that could give him such a confidence boost.
Sadio Mane – 7
Liverpool’s man-of-the-moment often proved a nightmare for Spurs’ defenders at Anfield, with his clever movement and blistering pace standing out in the opening 45 minutes.
He twice curled wide, the second of which he thought had found the corner, and he worked his socks off to help Robertson out.
Quieter in the second-half.
Roberto Firmino – 7
Firmino led the line at Anfield and he again played his part in a vital Liverpool win.
He headed home emphatically to give the Reds the lead and displayed his usual poise and selflessness on a crucial afternoon in the title race.
His importance to this team should never be played down.
Fabinho (on for Henderson, 77′) – 7.5
The Brazilian made a noticeable difference, biting into tackles and using the ball with authority.
Divock Origi (on for Milner, 77′) – 6.5
Origi also did well, bringing purpose to Liverpool’s play.
Dejan Lovren (on for Salah, 90′) – n/a
Subs not used: Mignolet, Lallana, Keita, Shaqiri.
Jurgen Klopp – 6
Klopp deservedly earns endless praise for the job he is doing, but he got away with one on Sunday.
The German’s decision not to start Fabinho was a head-scratcher and it so nearly proved fatal, with the midfield not up to speed.
Klopp did get a good first-half performance out of his side, in fairness, but the decision to change shape to 4231 before bringing on Fabinho left Liverpool looking confused and allowed Spurs in for the equaliser.
That said, the winning mentality he has built up shone through late on, as Liverpool went top of the league again.