Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
Premier League (36), Emirates
July 15, 2020
Goals: Lacazette 32′, Nelson 44′; Mane 20′
Alisson – 5 (out of 10)
Followed up Virgil van Dijk‘s mistake with one of his own, with a sloppy pass back to Andy Robertson allowing Arsenal to go 2-1 up through Reiss Nelson—the Brazilian’s chances of another Golden Glove fading.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6
Seemed to be using the game as an advanced passing drill; some came off, most notably a brilliant return for Sadio Mane in the box, others didn’t.
Picked up the pace in injury time and almost grabbed a late leveller.
Joe Gomez – 6
Arguably his best display since the restart, intercepting well and, by and large, passing with real accuracy.
Seems to perform better with the threat of another centre-back taking his place—or perhaps simply with there being more on the line than a record points total.
Virgil van Dijk – 5
A rare error under duress handed Lacazette a simple goal, with the post-title complacency seemingly setting in even for the most imperious of centre-backs.
Like Alisson, he recovered well but the rest of the game was more of a stroll, with the damage already done.
Andy Robertson – 6
Had the freedom of the left flank up against Cedric Soares and made use of it as he laid on Sadio Mane‘s opener.
In general, Robertson fared well at both ends of the pitch, and was one of Liverpool’s more useful outlets throughout as he charged forward.
Fabinho – 5
A hit-and-miss night for the Brazilian who was strong defensively but sloppy in possession.
He was far from the worst on a night that gave little to write home about.
Gini Wijnaldum – 4
In a game like this, with Arsenal setting up as they did, Gini was not much more than another body in midfield.
He lacked the progression began with against Burnley, and headed well over in a moment symbolic of the situation: at least he turns up when he’s most needed.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 4
Given a guard of honour at his former home, it will have been a big night for Ox—not least as Jurgen Klopp gave him a show of faith after a frustrating run of form.
He failed to make his mark again, and came off on the hour mark as has become the custom when he has started since the restart.
Mohamed Salah – 4
Liverpool needed his cutting edge, and so did he as he falters in the Golden Boot race, but it was an evening of snatched chances for Salah.
Decidedly off the boil, and seemingly not as arsed as he was at Brighton.
Sadio Mane – 7 (Man of the Match)
Buzzing around with real vigour and enjoying a tense battle with Rob Holding, Mane was Liverpool’s best attacker and was rewarded with an opening goal well-taken.
It was telling that he stayed on as Salah and Roberto Firmino both came off, with the No. 10 being the Reds’ biggest threat on the night.
Roberto Firmino – 5
Struggled to create as he dropped between the lines and looked to link up play, with his touch off and his passing loose.
Given he has enjoyed his best goalscoring record against Arsenal, it was a disappointing night for Firmino.
Naby Keita (on for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 61′) – 6
The game was calling out for Keita, it having been a surprise that he was not in the starting lineup, and he was an immediate upgrade on Ox.
Keep him in the side, at least until Jordan Henderson is back.
Takumi Minamino (on for Firmino, 61′) – 5
Given a chance in the No. 9 role between Salah and Mane, Minamino put himself about but wasn’t really up to it.
Xherdan Shaqiri (on for Wijnaldum, 83′) – N/A
His first game since January, but had no time to make an impact. But wow, what a hair transplant.
Divock Origi (on for Salah, 83′) – N/A
Became the club’s most-used substitute of all time with his 82nd appearance off the bench, but would Rhian Brewster be a better option next season?
Subs not used: Adrian, Lovren, Williams, Jones, Elliott, Origi
Jurgen Klopp – 6
The decision to start Ox over Keita was a strange one.
Klopp explained that it was due to the No. 15 having “a dynamic we need” against a back five, but the Guinean’s impact after coming on suggested he was better suited to the situation.
The manager, of course, cannot be faulted for the manner in which his side conceded, and it would be remiss to criticise heavily given the context.
One point, though: surely a courtesy fifth league appearance could have been given to Curtis Jones before the end?