An insipid Liverpool lost yet another Premier League home game on Sunday afternoon, with struggling Fulham picking up a 1-0 win at Anfield.
Liverpool 0-1 Fulham
Premier League (28), Anfield
March 7, 2021
Goal: Lemina 45′
Alisson (out of 10) – 6
The Brazilian was an untested performer by the large, and could do nothing about Mario Lemina’s well-taken strike in front of the Kop.
Was a spectator in the second half.
Neco Williams – 3
The young Welshman came in for Trent Alexander-Arnold, but it was not a game that suggested he is close to the finished article.
He looked all over the place defensively at times, despite making one crucial block to deny Ademola Lookman, and he didn’t offer enough quality in the attacking third.
A sobering afternoon.
Rhys Williams – 6
The centre-back struggled positionally and lacked the physicality to be dominant, but it’s harsh to expect too much.
Nat Phillips – 6
Phillips was the senior player at the heart of Liverpool’s defence, and in fairness, he was better than many on the day.
He stuck to his duties in trademark committed-but-limited fashion, and played one nice ball over the top to Mohamed Salah.
Not the answer long-term, but it’s hard not to admire his effort levels and consistency during a crisis period for the Reds.
Andy Robertson – 5
Robertson continues to be a shadow of his former self at the moment, producing another lifeless display.
His attacking thrust was bordering on non-existent for much of the game, but he was also sloppy in possession and less stable defensively.
He looks like someone running on empty.
Gini Wijnaldum – 5
Like Robertson, Wijnaldum started yet another game, with other midfielders given the afternoon off.
The Dutchman was solid in general, working hard and keeping things simple in the No. 6 role, but he still lacked his normal influence.
What do you expect when you play him in every match during such a relentless season, though?
Naby Keita – 6 (Man of the Match)
Keita made his first start since Liverpool’s 7-0 win away to Crystal Palace and he was Liverpool’s best player at Anfield.
The 26-year-old at least attempted to provide some guile, playing a series of one-twos and having one shot on goal, even if it wasn’t a vintage outing.
Arguably did enough to earn a start against former team RB Leipzig on Wednesday night.
James Milner – 5
Milner was another who came into the side, and like Keita, he deserved an element of praise for his performance.
There was an energy and fight to the veteran that was horribly lacking in others, although there wasn’t much creativity on show.
Got away with losing the ball cheaply in the second half and substituted soon after.
Xherdan Shaqiri – 4
This was a great chance for Shaqiri to show that he should stay at Liverpool beyond this season, but he was shocking at Anfield.
Not only was the Swiss hopeless in terms of providing a creative spark, but he also offered next to no support for Williams, playing a part in the right-back having a torrid time.
Simply not good enough, even if there were a couple of curled efforts.
Diogo Jota – 5
Jota was handed his first start since picking up a knee problem in December, acting as a huge boost to the Reds.
The Portuguese was understandably off the pace by his high standards, however, struggling to get involved in the way he did prior to injury.
That being said, he tried to bring a level of unpredictability to proceedings, making one good burst through the middle and testing Alphonse Areola with a volley.
Mohamed Salah – 6
With Roberto Firmino out through injury, Salah played in a central attacking role, looking to add to his 24 goals so far this season.
As usual, Liverpool’s No. 11 looked the hosts’ biggest attacking threat, but he was thwarted time and time again by a stubborn Fulham rearguard.
Poor for Lemina’s goal, getting robbed by the midfielder inside the penalty area.
Sadio Mane (on for Wijnaldum, 61′) – 5
Hit the post with a great header, but was otherwise quiet.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (on for N.Williams, 76′) – 5
Final ball disappointing when he came on.
Fabinho (on for Milner, 76′) – 5
Struggled to make an impact back in midfield.
Jurgen Klopp – 5
What on earth has happened to this team?
Klopp made seven changes to the side that lost 1-0 at home to Chelsea, but there was absolutely no change in the quality of performance.
The same old failure to create chances and general lifelessness on show were out in force – this looks like a team that cannot wait for the summer to arrive.
There is a huge amount going against Klopp right now, but six home defeats in a row is inexcusable for any Liverpool manager.
He needs a breather as much as his players.