Liverpool came from behind to beat Sheffield United 2-1 at Anfield on Saturday night, with Dioga Jota proving to be the match-winner.
Liverpool 2-1 Sheffield United
Premier League (6), Anfield
October 24, 2020
Goals: Berge pen 13′; Firmino 41′, Jota 64′
Alisson (out of 10) – 7
Alisson surprisingly returned to Liverpool’s starting lineup after overcoming a shoulder injury, which was an enormous boost pre-match and no doubt gave the rest of the side confidence.
The Brazilian had a solid outing, immediately bringing more organisation to the back-line than Adrian, and proving to be immaculate in his decision-making, barring one heavy touch that got him into trouble.
It’s great to have him back. No more injuries, please.
Alexander-Arnold’s form has been patchy so far this season but this was a better showing.
The 22-year-old almost scored with an audacious effort from right on the halfway line early on and some of his long-range passing was typically precise – including one for Salah in the second half.
Defensively he looked susceptible, however, although his attack-minded nature means he will be out of position on occasions.
Fabinho – 6
After a Man of the Match performance against Ajax in midweek, Fabinho was more of a mixed bag at Anfield.
The Brazilian was desperately unlucky to concede the penalty that Sander Berge opened the scoring from, not only due to him winning the ball but also because the ‘foul’ arguably wasn’t inside the area.
He committed himself badly up against Oliver Burke after the break, and almost lost the ball in a dangerous area, in a shakier second-half performance.
Joe Gomez – 7
Gomez partnered Fabinho at the back for the second time in three days and he was largely reliable, despite still not looking at his very best.
There were times when he was beaten too easily aerially by Oli McBurnie, but he stuck to his task and improved hugely as the minutes ticked by.
Made a big block to deny Burke, following Fabinho‘s aforementioned lapse.
Andy Robertson – 7
Robertson made his 100th Premier League appearance for Liverpool and looked to carry on his excellent beginning to the campaign.
One beautiful early pass to Sadio Mane suggested he would shine once more and he impressed overall, constantly joining attacks and providing energy.
Comfortably the more in-form of Liverpool’s full-backs at the moment.
Gini Wijnaldum – 7
Starting in a double pivot in a 4-2-3-1 formation, the Dutchman was industrious in the middle of the park, doing little wrong. Being error-free is one of his great strengths.
There were times when it would have been nice to see more urgency on the ball, but he was physically commanding and reliable in possession.
His liveliest moment was arguably almost coming to blows with Sam Baldock on the touchline, only for Jurgen Klopp to intervene like a nightclub bouncer.
Jordan Henderson – 7
Henderson was in a deeper midfield role than the one he took up against Everton last weekend, back in the side after only 45 minutes as sub midweek vs. Ajax.
The captain made a slow start to the game, misplacing a few passes, but his influence grew and his Steven Gerrard-esque cross eventually led to Roberto Firmino making it 1-1.
Liverpool are simply better when Henderson is in the team.
Roberto Firmino – 7
Firmino dropped into a No.10 role against the Blades, supporting the midfield well and linking up with others better than he has in recent months.
He also showed the poaching skills that many don’t think he possesses, tapping home to draw Liverpool level just before half-time and get himself on the scoresheet for the first time this season – a massive confidence booster for him.
This wasn’t peak Firmino, but it was certainly an improvement.
Diogo Jota – 7
Jota made his first start at Anfield, playing on the right-hand side and hoping to hurt the visitors with his direct style.
The Portuguese really struggled to get into the match for the opening half an hour, finding himself well-marked by defenders.
He started to get more joy towards the end of the first half, though, and he brilliantly headed home his second Reds goal to earn his side all three points.
Jota is the top-level backup Liverpool have craved for so long.
Sadio Mane – 7
Mane was on the left-wing in general, although there was a fluency to the attack that meant he also popped up in central areas.
Liverpool’s No.10 almost scored with barely a minute played, but under-hit his shot, and he was one of the Reds’ more effective players all evening.
Mane’s header was saved by Aaron Ramsdale, but Firmino fired home the rebound – he probably should have scored himself – and he crossed for Jota to score the winner.
Mohamed Salah 8 (Man of the Match)
Salah’s role was slightly tweaked in Klopp’s altered system, with the Egyptian leading the line.
As has been the case all season, he looked hungry throughout, showing his underrated strength and getting into dangerous areas constantly, often slightly from the right.
Salah had a brilliantly-taken goal ruled out by VAR and he also hit the post, in what was an excellent all-round display.
James Milner (on for Jota, 83′) – n/a
No time to make a proper impression, but his vast experience helped in the closing stages.
Takumi Minamino (on for Firmino, 73′) – n/a
Looked lively, but the ball didn’t stick a few times.
Subs not used: Adrian, Phillips, N. Williams, Jones, Shaqiri
Jurgen Klopp – 8
Klopp opted for the 4-2-3-1 system that he used in the past, but it took a while for Liverpool’s cohesiveness to appear.
The manager’s decision ended up paying off, though, allowing four top-class attacking players on the pitch together at the same time, with the man he brought in scoring the winning goal.
Klopp won’t necessarily look back on this game with a huge amount of fondness, but it is a much-needed return to winning ways in the league.